Sometimes, epoxy leaves your craft works with uneven surfaces or scratches. That’s why sanding epoxy resin is such an important step.
It accelerates the need for final polishing of the resin craft items or coatings.
While sanding removes the high spots, the polish 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 your resin prices. They are; wet and dry sanding. But, which is the best approach to use in your project?
In most cases, wet sanding is more 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 the 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 emitted dust. 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 wrap the abrasive paper most conveniently. If your pieces have many curves, a sponge pad will work better.
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 on the resin with ease. However, don’t add a lot of water to your pieces since it will damage your work.
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.
Step 6: Clean the Pieces
Use 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 of the other alternative method.
Suitable For Larger Projects
Dry sanding consumes 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
Hence, 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 PPEs. This includes things like gloves, respiratory masks as well as safety goggles.
Step 2: Ensure the Room 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.
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 Right Sandpaper to the Orbital Sander
Most orbital sanders feature a clamp that holds the abrasive paper. To release the clamp, you just need to pull a lever by the side or at the back of the tool. Once you do that, attach the sandpaper at the bottom. 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 the 400-grit sandpaper. Afterward, you can work your way up until you get the desired results.
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’ve it! The complete guide on how to sand epoxy resin. Choose the aforementioned sanding techniques and give your items that glossy finish. If you still have any questions or comments about sanding epoxy, kindly leave it down below!
1. 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, respiratory mask, and gloves.
2. Can resin be sanded?
Yes! It’s possible to sand cured epoxy resin, either by dry or wet sanding.
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 dry thoroughly. Once that happens, lightly sand the surfaces with a fine-grit wet sandpaper. Lastly, wipe down the items to remove any dust and debris.
6. Can you sand the 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 and wet-sanding.
7. Do I need to sand between coats of epoxy?
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!