the second 45

decoupage the house (3) : EnviroTex Lite

Posted in decoupage by geodesia on September 7, 2008
Tags: ,

I love Envirotex as a decoupage medium. It’s a two-part resin, self-leveling, which makes for a beautiful finish but also means it’s going to flow. A tray is ideal for a first Envirotex project, allowing you to get some experience with the pouring and setting up before you have to worry about drips and edges.

I get de-clutter points for this project too! All this stuff has been just sitting around

I get de-clutter points for this project too! All this stuff has been just sitting around

Paint the tray and apply your paper. I used acrylic paint and metallic glaze, and then a color copy of an old beer carton I had saved for sheer cuteness, applied with thinned Elmer’s glue. It needed a border, so I cut moose tracks from some variegated brown paper in the stash. (Never said I was brilliantly imaginative, did I?) I covered the decoupage surface with a layer of glue. When it was several hours dry, I added a layer of Minwax Polycrylic on top of the glue, and a couple of layers of Polycrylic for the painted surfaces.

with glue still wet

with glue still wet

Whatever your sealer, let it dry thoroughly, overnight at least.

From here on out, your enemy is dust and its friends: bugs, pets, drafts, hair. Your own hair flipping around is a dust wand—tie it back or cover it if it’s longish. You’ll need a level surface for a flat project like a tray to cure, so find one where your cat won’t walk, and wipe it down as much as you can. Find something to protect your project from dust as it cures. Envirotex recommends a box, but I’ve been a lot more successful with something impervious that I can wash off first. A large mixing bowl is ideal. For this tray I didn’t have a bowl big enough, so I used a cookie sheet, which is not ideal. Better to enclose it all the way.

Read through the Envirotex directions. Estimate how much of your ingredients you’ll need. I had the 8 oz package which is good for about 2 sq feet, and my tray is 12 x 9 inches, so I used something less than half of the resin and hardener. It’s much better to have too much than too little.

Measuring is important; you need equal amounts of the Envirotex resin and hardener. Don’t guess or estimate on this. I pour from the resin and hardener bottles into narrower bottles that have volume measurements on them. Get as close as you can to truly equal amounts. I believe there’s a little room for error but if you’re particularly inaccurate, the resin will never harden and it’ll just be a big sticky mess.

Mixing is important. Do two minutes of vigorous stirring, and if you are mixing 4 ounces or more, pour from one container into another as recommended in the Envirotex directions. I use disposable plastic drink cups and a wood stick for stirring. There will be bubbles if you’ve mixed well—lots and lots of bubbles.

As soon as you’re done mixing, wipe the tray surface with a tack cloth, and then pour the Envirotex over. It’s plenty runny, and assuming you’ve mixed enough, it will flow without any help to fill the space available. I came up a little sparse on this tray so ended up smoothing the resin towards the sides with the stick, though I don’t know that I needed to. You can tilt the tray to help coat it, but you won’t have to if you’ve got a generous amount. It’s flowing for at least 45 minutes and will level on its own.

Give it about ten minutes to sit, and then work on the bubbles. This is kind of magic—they pop when exposed to carbon dioxide. You can just blow on them, but I prefer to use a straw to keep my face out of the fumes. Beware, though—the straw acts like a spit valve, so shake it out between breaths or you’ll end up with a big slobbery drip on your beautiful creation. (Ask me how I know!) Just blow gently through the straw over the bubbles and watch them pop. After you get them all, let it sit another five minutes and you’ll find some more. Tilt the tray to catch light reflecting on the surface to show you the last few. Keep working at it. You want to be all done with this step within about half an hour of pouring.

If you find a very stubborn bubble, or, heaven forbid, a bit of dust or hair marring your surface, you can fish it up and out with a straight pin. Don’t be afraid of disrupting the surface at this point; it’s still flowing and will repair itself, unless you’re really short on coverage or you’re trying to do this too late. Get it looking really good, and then let it sit five minutes more. You might find just a few more bubbles have formed. Get rid of them, and be done. Put the tray on your level surface, cover it with your dust cover, and walk away. Picking at it 90 minutes from now will mar the surface. There might be a few specks of dust settling on there while you’re not watching—but there will almost certainly be some if you keep uncovering the thing and messing with it.

Decide that it is good. Don’t disturb it again for eight hours. Then uncover it and love how it looks.

done, high gloss, no brush marks!

done, high gloss, no brush marks!

Edited to add: It’s dust-proof at this point, but the Envirotex instructions say to allow 72 hours for hard cure in room temperatures. Believe it. In the first 24 hours you can scratch the finish with your fingernail…but then the scratches disappear! Meaning it is still flowing enough to cure a tiny linear flaw…but not the kind of divot you make trying to remove dust or hair (or a BUG), from personal experience. Let it cure flat.  After 72 hours, it’s pretty well ready for anything.

more on Envirotex here