How To Finish A Piece Of Painted Furniture With A Clear Epoxy Coating For Durability And Beauty
Painting can be a great way to restore outdated furniture, such as a coffee table or dresser. Painting adds fresh life to bland, dull pieces, and it also enables homeowners to fit an existing piece into their current decor without the expense of buying new. However, painted furniture can lack a polished finish that is both protective and attractive, and that is why an epoxy resin finish can be a nice way to complete the renewal. Below is what you will need from a paint supply store or similar shop, as well as step-by-step instructions, for adding a clear epoxy resin finish to painted furniture:
List of supplies and materials
Two-part clear epoxy resin - If your furniture will be exposed to sunlight, be sure to purchase a ultraviolet (UV) resistant epoxy; standard epoxies will yellow after prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Disposable foam paint brushes - An assortment of sizes ranging from 1-inch to 3-inches will provide you with flexibility when applying the epoxy.
Basswood plank or sheet - The exact size of the basswood can vary, but be sure to choose a piece that is at least as long as the widest part of the top of your furniture. For example, if you are coating a 26-inch wide coffee table, then be sure the basswood is 26 inches in length. In addition, try to locate a thin piece; between ⅛-inch and ¼-inch is an ideal size. Thicker pieces may be difficult to maneuver and can be too heavy.
Glass mixing bowl
Small wooden spoon or dowel rod
Green painters masking tape
Hair dryer or heat gun
How to apply the epoxy resin
1. Find an appropriate location to work - It is important to perform the work in a clean, dry environment to prevent the curing epoxy from retaining dust or other contaminants. Keep the area well-ventilated with clean, fresh air and be sure you have adequate lighting to see your work and spot imperfections such as air bubbles.
Also, since epoxy is messy and can be difficult to remove when cured, the work space should be well protected from drips and inadvertent splatters or spills. Newspaper layers will help protect the floor and you can also tape off areas with painters tape. If you do spill epoxy, use acetone and a clean rag to remove it.
2. Prepare the furniture - Once you have located a suitable work location, you need to be sure the surface of the furniture is completely clean of dust or other debris. Wipe a tack cloth across the furniture to "grab" pieces of debris. Be careful not to wipe too hard to avoid chipping the paint. After cleaning, apply painters tape to cover areas that you do not wish to coat, such as hardware or hinges.
3. Mix the epoxy - Place a clean glass mixing bowl on top of a steady work surface, and measure out the required amounts of agents from each container. Pour the agents into the mixing bowl and stir them together using a small wooden spoon or dowel rod. Keep stirring for several minutes to ensure the agents are fully mixed and begin to react chemically. Do not be alarmed if the mixture appears cloudy or even white; the finished result will be transparent as soon as the epoxy cures.
4. Apply the epoxy to the furniture - Pour the epoxy from the mixing bowl directly on top of the furniture and spread it evenly over the surface with a foam paint brush. Pull the epoxy down over the sides of the furniture with the brush and continue spreading it all over the furniture. Don't worry about drips at the bottom edges; these can be removed with a utility knife once they have dried.
5. Thin the epoxy on the top surface - After applying the epoxy, place the widest edge of a thin piece of basswood at one end of the furniture and drag it slowly across the top of the furniture. Do not apply downward pressure on the wood; allow the weight of the wood to perform the work. Once you have pulled the wood all the way across, allow extra epoxy to drip from its edges and repeat the process by pulling from the opposite end of the surface. Continue this process several times until there is a thin layer of epoxy over the surface; if you accidentally remove too much epoxy, apply a little more to the site with a brush and repeat the dragging process.
6. Remove air bubbles - Before the epoxy cures, you need to remove air bubbles using a hair dryer or heat gun. Hold the air dryer about 12 inches from the surface of the furniture, and move it quickly to prevent distorting the epoxy; keep applying heated air until you no longer see any bubbles.
7. Allow the epoxy to cure fully - Depending on your epoxy brand, you will need to allow anywhere from a few hours to up to a day or more for the epoxy to cure. In the meantime, keep the furniture away from sources of dust and debris, such as air vents or fans. Remove the painters tape, cut away hardened drops of epoxy and admire your work.