Monday, October 10, 2016

Marble-ous Resin - How to Create a Faux Marble Finish

My niece recently celebrated her 30th birthday and as the family crafter I scored all of the wooden numbers that decorated the tables that night. What a treasure for a compulsive crafter! As a thank you I promised to make one specially decorated "30" for the birthday girl to keep as a memento of the occasion. She left it in my hands to decorate it in any style I wanted but she did stipulate one thing.... that it be in her favourite colour - PINK! I knew immediately what I wanted to do - give the numbers a faux marble finish using resin. Marble is all the rage at the moment and achieving this look with resin is much easier than you might think!
Wooden numerals (30) marbled with pink, silver and white resin for a 30th birthday.

This faux marble technique was developed by the clever folks at ETI more than 20 years ago and I promise you that it is super easy and gives marble-ous results!

Here's what you'll need:
Cover your work space with the painter's drop sheet.

Prepping the Surface

Apply a coat of paint to the front and side edges of the numbers to seal the wood. Choose a colour that will work with the colours you've chosen for the marbling. This base colour will give the marbling colours a little more oomph!

Tip: After creating a few projects with this technique, I found that there was a much easier way to clean up the drips that collect on the back of the project than babysitting the resin and brushing them away as they form. Instead, tear short strips of painter's tape and apply to the edges of the back of the number before you mix the resin.....
Short strips of masking tape being applied to the outer edge of the number zero

And then, trim the tape as close as you can to the edge. Now continue on with the tutorial. 
Trimming the overhanging tape around the edge of the painted wooden number.

Once the resin has completely cured, you can carefully remove the tape and then apply a coat of paint to the back for a really neat finish. 
Removing the tape and the resin drips from the back of the wooden number.

Number 30 marbled with purple, silver and white resin
Now.... back to the nitty gritty of the tutorial.

Elevate the numbers on the Painter's Pyramids.
Painted wooden numbers elevated on painter's pyramids

Mixing and Colouring the Resin

From here on in, you'll need to wear gloves. Measure out the two parts of resin in equal quantities. You'll need approximately 90ml (3oz) of mixed resin for numbers of this size. It might seem like a lot of resin for a small project but to achieve the marble finish, you need twice as much resin as you'd normally use.
Pouring out the resxin into a graduated measuring cup.

The mixing instructions in the kit are really good and for best results, you should follow them to the letter. But basically, mix the two parts together for two full minutes, scraping any unmixed resin off the sides of the cup a couple of times.
Stirring the resin to mix it thoroughly.

Transfer the resin to a second cup.
Pouring the partially mixed resin into a second mixing cup to complete the mixing process.

And then mix for a further minute. This double mixing method gives reliable results so it's worth the extra effort.
Stirring the resin until it is thoroughly mixed.

Pour 7.5mls (1/4 oz) of mixed resin into a small cup and 15mls (1/2 oz) into each of the other two small cups. Add a small squirt (just a few drops) of colour into each one. Only use as much paint as it takes to make the resin opaque. If you over-do the paint, the resin will not cure properly.
Adding drops of acrylic paint into each cup of resin.

Mix the paint into each cup of resin thoroughly.
Stirring the silver acrylic paint into mixed resin.

You can see that the colour in these four pots is only just opaque. You don't want to add any more paint than is necessary. But if you're colours aren't quite opaque enough, just add a little more, one drop at a time.
Four cups of coloured resin: white, silver, light pink and dark pink.

Creating the Faux Marble Effect

Pour the base colour across the numbers. You want the resin to flow over the sides.
White resin drizzled diagonally across the pink painted number 3

Drizzle the main feature colour across the numbers at an angle.
Drizzling the light pink resin diagonally across the number 3

Use a wooden stir stick to drizzle thin strands of the two highlight colours across the numbers diagonally.
Drizzling the dark pink resin across the number three with a wooden stir stick.

Very lightly draw the brush across the surface of the resin randomly. This will open up and soften the marble patterns in the next step.
Drawing a disposable acid brush lightly through the resin on the number 3.

Now comes the best part - creating the marbling. It's messy.... but fun!

Pick up the numbers and tip them sideways so the colours begin to run into each other and drip off the edge. Tilt the number in a different direction to give the marbled pattern more movement. You can continue tilting the number in any number of directions until you are happy with the look. I only tilted the numbers in two directions. If you don't like the look you've achieved, you can start again by adding more of each of the colours.
Picking up and tilting the number 3 with gloved hands to allow the resin to flow over the edge, creating the marbled effect.

Use the paint brush to wipe away the drips underneath. Use the excess to paint resin onto the sides and underneath.
Brushing away the resin that has dripped underneath the number 3 with a disposable acid brush.

Spritz the surface lightly with rubbing alcohol to pop any bubbles that have surfaced. If using a gas torch, pass the flame briefly across the surface of the resin until the bubbles pop.
Spritzing tne surface of the marbled resin with rubbing alcohol to pop the bubbles.

You will need to keep wiping the drips away for a couple of hours if you didn't tape the back of the numbers. If your numbers will also be seen from the back, whilst still wearing gloves, pick the numbers up carefully by the edges and spread the resin across the back to smooth it out. Place them back onto the Painter's Pyramids. Dispose the brush.

Then set the numbers aside in a dust free area to cure for a several hours. The manufacturer's directions tell you how long it will take according to the temperature in your work space.

I'm sure you'll agree, this is absolutely marble-ous!
Glossy, marbled resin in shades of pink, silver and white on wooden numbers, 3 and zero.

Like this technique? Pin it!
Wooden number marble with purple acrylic paint mixed into epoxy resin.

Pink marbling how to sheet

'Til next time.....

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