So, last week I found myself sitting at a bar in Wisconsin. It was not the kind of “finding myself ” that involved the sudden revelation of my life’s purpose; it was the kind that involved a jittery bartender named Mike, an overly friendly sales guy ordering Mike to pour shots for the entire room, and Mike adding a tiny, fake sword to my drink, which made me happy. What could this anecdote possibly have to do with this week’s tutorial? Well, this bar happened to have a very cool top, complete with a fake river full of rocks and some fancy fake fish, all contained in a gorgeous, glossy layer of resin. It looked like this, and it inspired me to show you how you can get a beautiful, glossy resin finish on a piece of canvas wall art without traveling up North.
Before you start, gather up these materials:
- Piece of canvas artwork that you would like to seal with a resin finish
- Large piece of cardboard or a tarp to protect your work surface
- Large, clean plastic cup
- Plastic knife or large wooden craft stick
- Box (e.g. from popsicles) or plastic container (e.g. from cottage cheese) to hold canvas off work surface about 4 to 6 inches
- Plastic measuring cup
- Latex gloves
- Resin (I prefer Enviro Tek light)
1. Get your canvas. For my own canvas, I wanted a fancy fish, a little fancier than the ones in the bar top yet a little less fancy than the ones I saw while canoeing in the river the next day. So I painted this guy and let the canvas dry.
2. Choose a well-ventilated area that is free of any debris in the air, and set out a large sheet of cardboard to keep the resin from dripping on the floor.
3. Place your box or plastic container under the canvas. If you are flooding a large canvas, use more than one box, and rest the canvas on its wooden frame, not the center of the canvas itself. Otherwise, you may create a slight upward bow in the canvas, which may make the resin run towards the edges and leave a thin or empty spot in the center part of the canvas.
4. Put on those latex gloves and mix up the resin in your clean cup, using a wooden stick or a plastic knife. Mix it for the full amount of time the package directions suggest. Use a timer and follow directions exactly.
5. After the resin is mixed according to the package directions, work quickly to pour a puddle on to the center of the canvas and let it flood over the edges. You can use the plastic knife or wooden craft stick to gently spread it evenly. Look for air bubbles and pop those by breaking them with the tip of the knife or blowing gently on them (if your hair is long tie it back before you lean over to blow…yeah, yeah, “That’s what she said”).
6. Use the knife to scrape the excess resin off the edges and from underneath the canvas. Repeat this every 2 minutes for about the next 20 to 30 minutes or the excess resin will make lumps under the edges , which will harden on the back of the canvas. This process requires no special skill, but you do have to be patient and keep scraping away until no more is collecting under the edges.
Depending on how humid it is , the resin will be dry to the touch in about 12 to 24 hours, BUT it needs three days to a week to “cure” so that it will not get fingerprints or other imprints permanently on the surface. Just keep it sitting level and leave it undisturbed.
Once it is all dry and shiny smooth, hang it up and raise a glass to Mike. He pours a mean drink.