Sometimes, epoxy leaves your resin molds with uneven surfaces or scratches. That’s why sanding epoxy resin is such an important step.
Sanding resin accelerates the need for the final polishing of the resin craft items or coatings.
While sanding resin removes the high spots, polishing resin with a polishing compound will help you remove the fine scratch lines. And together they let you achieve a glass-like finish with ease.
But the process is not that simple, though, especially for beginners!
There’re some important aspects to consider and today, I’m about to reveal the tricks. Stick together, and this article will guide you through each step on how to sand epoxy resin like a pro. So, let’s get started!
What Do You Need For Sanding Epoxy?
To get professional results, it’s always good to gather the necessary supplies before you do any task. The same case applies when you want to sand your resin crafts. But what are some of these tools? Here they are;
- 400 – 1000 grit assorted wet/ dry sandpapers
- Dust mask
- A pair of gloves
- A hard, flat working surface
Different Methods of Sanding Epoxy Resin
There are 2 common methods that you can use to sand the surface of your epoxy resin pieces. They are; wet sanding and dry sanding. But, which is the best approach to use in your project?
In most cases, wet sanding is preferred as it’s considered to provide more effective results. This, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t dry sand your crafts. Indeed, this technique is more suitable in certain circumstances. It’s very effective when you’re working with moisture-sensitive materials.
Putting that aside, each of these methods offers certain benefits.
We’ll see what those are and how to perform each of these acts individually. So hang on, it’s time to unfold them in a little bit of detail!
Benefits of Wet Sanding
1. Produces Less Dust
Dry sanding tends to produce a lot of dust. This dust covers your pieces, making it difficult to determine your progress. Worst of all, dust from epoxy resin can have harmful effects on your health. So, always wear a breathing mask for safety purposes.
Thankfully, wet sanding reduces the amount of dust produced during the process. Moreover, water collects the dust produced. This helps you to accurately ascertain your progress rate.
2. Increases The Longevity Of The Sandpaper
The other benefit of wet sanding is that it prevents the abrasive paper from getting clogged. On top of that, this approach produces less heat. These factors make the sandpaper last longer and protect the surface finish.
3. Ideal For Removing Uneven Smaller Scratches
This procedure allows you to remove small irregularities right away. Thanks to its ability to give the surface a glossy finish without requiring a lot of effort.
Wet Sanding Epoxy Resin Step-By-Step
The following steps are involved in this process –
Step 1: Preparation
Wear safety gear, that is, a breathing mask and a pair of gloves. This will protect you from epoxy resin and the dust produced during the process.
Still, on preparation, make sure the working surface is dirt-free. Otherwise, you’ll end up with poor results. Besides, this can result in bruises and injuries, especially when sanding by hand.
Step 2: Clean Your Resin Pieces
Before you start the process, apply water to your resin objects. To do this, put cold water in a spray bottle. Alternatively, you can get a bucket or bowl of water readily available.
Regardless of the approach you use, use a soft brush or clean rag to clean the pieces.
Step 3: Get the Sandpaper Ready
Most professionals recommend wet sanding of epoxy resin by hand. However, cured epoxy becomes hard, making the process difficult for most people. For this reason, you need to find an appropriate size and shaped sanding block. If your pieces have many curves, a sponge pad will work better. However, if your piece requires a dead flat surface you will need a hard sanding block.
the longer the sanding block is the flatter your piece will be.
Step 4: Spray Water on the Surface
Using a spray bottle, spray some water on your resin pieces. If the water is in a bucket, pour some water on the items with a bowl. Alternatively, you can soak the sandpaper in the water and use it to sand the items.
Water acts as a lubricant and helps the sandpaper move over the resin with ease. However, don’t add a lot of water to your pieces since it will damage your work.
the water also keeps the resin dust from clogging up the sandpaper.
Step 5: Sand Your Pieces
After adding water, rub your sandpaper against the surfaces in a circular motion. Do this a few times before you switch the grit.
Remember, you have an array of 400 to 1000-grit sandpaper. But which one do you use? Simple! Start with the 400-grit sandpaper and work your way up to the 1000-grit sandpaper. Make sure you cover the entire surface before you move to the next grit. Also, take note of the spot you’ve already sanded to avoid over-sanding.
A simple way to avoid over-sanding is to mark the epoxy resin surface with black dye, once the dye has been sanded away all of the scratches from the previous grit sang paper has been removed and it is time to move up to the next grit.
Step 6: Clean the Pieces
Use a paper towel or a clean rag to clean the epoxy surface. Luckily, this step will be quite simple since you’re wet sanding. Once you’ve achieved the desired smoothness level, the process is complete. However, if the surface doesn’t have the perfect smoothness, continue the process. Afterward, clean the items again and leave them to dry immediately.
And when the pieces dry, you’re good to go for polishing.
Benefits of Dry Sanding
As the name suggests, this process involves smoothening uneven surfaces without using water. And this technique offers the following benefits when used in epoxy finishing –
Ideal For Moisture-Sensitive Materials
Considering its versatility, epoxy resin can adhere to most surfaces out there. Although this is a great thing, some of these materials are susceptible to water damage. A good example of a moisture-susceptible material is wood.
When wood comes into contact with water, it tends to swell. For this reason, you should protect wooden pieces from water. One way to accomplish this is to dry sand instead wet sanding.
Suitable For Larger Projects
Dry sanding can use much lower grits of sandpaper and remove large amounts of material consuming less time, especially when you’re dealing with large areas. So, if you’re working on a large project, it’s a better option.
Dry Sanding Epoxy Resin: Step-By-Step
For large projects, I would recommend that you use an orbital sander. With that in mind, here are the steps involved in this process;
Step 1: Safety First
Again, dry sanding epoxy produces a lot of dust. This increases your chances of inhaling toxic dust, which is not good for your health. So, before you get into the actual process, put on the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes things like gloves, respiratory masks as well as safety goggles.
Step 2: Ensure Your Work Area Has Adequate Ventilation
To deal with the excessive dust produced by this process, work in a well-ventilated room. If possible, take your resin surfaces outdoors and sand them there. But if that’s not possible, open the doors and windows.
These days most orbital sanders have the feature of being able to be directly connected to a shop vac or dust extraction system, reducing the amount of resin dust released into the air.
Step 3: Surface Preparation
Follow the same steps to prepare the surface as we had discussed for wet sanding. For instance, the surface should be cleaned thoroughly to get rid of any debris and dust.
Step 4: Fix the Correct Grit Sandpaper to the Orbital Sander
modern random orbital sanders use a velcro pad to attach the sandpaper. this just requires you to purchase the correct size of paper with the velcro backing and press the paper onto the sander. Now you’re ready to sand your rough epoxy resin surfaces.
What do we mean by the right sandpaper? In most cases, the ideal sandpaper to start sanding with is 120-grit sandpaper. Afterward, you can work your way up until you get the desired results.
Remember the lower number marked on the sandpaper the coarser the grit and the more material the paper will remove.
Step 5: Turn On the Sander
Now that you’ve fixed the right abrasive paper, power your sander and turn it on. The sander can either be a battery-powered or electric model. Choose the model that suits your sanding needs.
Step 6: Sand the Surface
After turning on the sand, place its bottom on the rough surface, then pull the trigger. You need to be very cautious though since sanders tend to vibrate a lot. For that reason, we suggest that you start pulling the trigger slowly. Also, avoid applying too much weight on your sander to avoid over-sanding the resin surface.
Once you realize the abrasive paper isn’t working effectively on the area anymore, replace it. Repeat this process using the other sandpapers until you get a smooth finish.
Step 7: Get Rid Of the Produced Dust
By the time you’re done removing all the sanding marks, this process will have produced a lot of dust. So, you need to clean your items to remove this dust. To accomplish that, you can either use a soft brush or a clean rag. And then, you can move on to the next step of polishing.
There you have it! The complete guide on how to sand epoxy resin. Choosing the right sanding techniques will give your items that glossy finish and you are not only limited to the first sanding method you use, you may want to use dry sanding to remove the bulk of your imperfections and then switch to wet sanding for the final grits o get an even smoother result.
1. Can resin be sanded?
Yes! It’s possible to sand cured epoxy resin, either by dry sanding or wet sanding.
2. What can I use to sand epoxy resin?
You can either sand your resin crafts by hand or with an orbital sander. You’ll need 400 -1000 grit abrasive papers, water, a clean rag, a respirator, and gloves.
3. Is sanding epoxy dangerous?
Yes, it might cause serious health issues, especially if it hasn’t been cured fully. That’s because the sanding process produced toxic dust particles. These particles get trapped in the respiratory system, causing respiratory allergies or irritation.
4. Can you sand bubbles out of epoxy?
Yes! Wait for the epoxy resin to dry. Then sand down the surface concentrating on spots with air bubbles. Afterward, wipe away the accumulated residues and dust with a damp towel.
5. How do you fix epoxy ripples?
Epoxy ripples can form when the epoxy resin hardens unevenly. Luckily, sanding will enable you to fix this problem. But first, let the epoxy fully cure. Once that happens, lightly sand the surfaces with fine-grit wet sandpaper. Lastly, wipe down the items to remove any dust and debris.
6. Can you sand an epoxy tabletop?
Epoxy becomes very hard after curing, making it a little difficult to sand. Not to forget that it clogs sandpaper relatively quickly. This, however, doesn’t indicate that it cannot be sanded. There are 2 approaches you can use; dry sanding and wet sanding.
7. Do I need to sand between coats of epoxy?
yes, but only if you let the first layer completely cure. Epoxy is non-porous when it cures. Therefore, the second coat has nothing to adhere to. However, by sanding resin between coats, layers can bond well with the previous ones. So, yes it’s important to sand epoxy between layers!