powder dye vrs liquid for use with epoxy resin

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Forum topic by Abter posted 07-21-2018 10:00 PM 7328 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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79 posts in 1404 days

07-21-2018 10:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dying epoxy powder dye liquid dye

I have been trying to learn about using resin to fill cracks and voids in wood I’m turning. After watching some youtube videos from my favorite woodworking youtube stars, I bought a small jar of Stick Fast black powder dye from WCraft and have been giving it a try..

I’ve had mixed results with it, and am wondering how to do better.

I have been using Stick Fast 5 minute epoxy (from Craft Supplies), and tried various quantities of the black powder. So far the ratio of dye powder to resin hasn’t made any profound difference

Issue #1. A thin layer is distinctly green, and a long way from black. Thicker layers are more black, but as the void inherently thins out towards the edges, the epoxy gets more and more green..
Issue #2. I have had trouble with several finishes that bled the greenish color from the now-black epoxy. I have since read that a sanding sealer before applying the dyed epoxy will help.

My question: Is all this the nature of the dyed epoxy beast, and will (a) sanding sealer and (b) more practice it become less of a problem?

Does liquid dye have similar “features” ?

Any help from the revered LJ Senseis amongst us? Or from mere grasshoppers like me who survive and learn by begging crumbs from the master’s table of wisdom, knowledge and truth.

-- "Many men fish all their lives without ever realizing that it is not the fish they are after." {often mis-quoted as by H.D. Thoreau}

9 replies so far

View Snowbeast's profile


136 posts in 2115 days

#1 posted 07-21-2018 10:24 PM

Try a VERY small amount of artist’s oil paint. Dip a toothpick into the paint just enough to get a thin smear on the tip of the pick and then mix your epoxy with that. A little paint goes a long way in coloring the epoxy and gives a very deep, rich color. If the first try isn’t dark enough, just add a bit more paint.

View Redoak49's profile


4748 posts in 2766 days

#2 posted 07-21-2018 10:25 PM

I am using System 3 T88 epoxy along with their pigment. I have not had any problems using as directed.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3197 posts in 2271 days

#3 posted 07-21-2018 10:53 PM

Is very hard to find retail sales of powder dye that will dissolve in epoxy easily. Is best to use a paste type pigment designed for epoxy. SystemThree and West Systems both sell a paste pigment at retail outlets that works really well. Composites industry also has many vendors that sell pigments for epoxy’s, such as here. You can also use small amounts of artist acrylic paints as pigment, but never use more than 2-3% as using too much will change cured epoxy properties (usually making it softer, and harder to sand). You can also use few drops of food coloring found in kitchen to add color tone (can not add enough to make it solid color) to epoxy. Food coloring has glycol base and a few drops per ounce of resin will not change properties significantly.

FWIW – The key to adding powdered pigment to epoxy is: It must be added to base resin, mixed together for many hours using commercial mill roller mixer, and only then added to curative. Process is not cheap, nor fast. So that is why vendors offer concentrated pigment pastes for coloring epoxy. :)

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Rich's profile


5621 posts in 1366 days

#4 posted 07-21-2018 11:19 PM

Two things. First, as you’re finding out, black dye isn’t really black. It usually will come out blue or purple when mixed. You’re getting green. India ink is the best choice for a black dye.

Second, you want to be using a pigment, not a dye. It’s more opaque. Like Redoad, I use System 3 black pigment and it works great. You need so little that it’s very economical. They sell it at Woodcraft, and you can order it on Amazon.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View MrUnix's profile


8097 posts in 2976 days

#5 posted 07-21-2018 11:26 PM

Perhaps it’s the epoxy, but I’ve never had any problem adding stuff to epoxy for filling cracks/voids or embellishments using West System – either power, liquid or paste. For filling cracks and knots, a lot of people will just use coffee grounds, which produces a nice dark brown to almost black color. Crushed chalk can get results in various pastel shades. I’ve also used powdered coloring agents used for coloring cement to get varying levels of tan and terracotta. Here is a bowl that used a black graphite cement coloring agent, which turned out a really deep dark black:

Whatever you use, always mix the epoxy neat first (without additives) – then add your coloring agent once fully mixed.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Redoak49's profile


4748 posts in 2766 days

#6 posted 07-22-2018 01:34 AM

With System 3 ,you mix their pigment into the epoxy first and then add the hardener. Their pigments are actually mixed into a epoxy so makes it easier to add color.

View Abter's profile


79 posts in 1404 days

#7 posted 07-22-2018 11:51 PM

I found my problem…I made a mistake. Shocking!! First one EVER.

As I wrote, I bought Stick Fast Dye, made by TMI.
I also bought Stick Fast 5 minute epoxy, also by TMI.
That all sounded good to me.

BUT… I didn’t write the rest of the name (because I didn’t realize how much it mattered).
The full name of the dye I bought is Stick Fast Dye For Stabilizing Resin.

In addition to making epoxy, TMI also makes “Stick Fast Stabilizing Resin”. THAT AIN’T EPOXY. It is a 2 part (resin and catalyst) heat cured (200 F) product that can be used with a vacuum system.

The TMI dyes are made to work with their stabilizing resin. After finally learning this, as well as the great comments the good folks here at LJ offered, I’m fairly surprised that my mixing the TMI dye with TMI epoxy worked at all.

My lifetime learning voyage is a never ending path. Wonderful, but often with rocks in the road.

-- "Many men fish all their lives without ever realizing that it is not the fish they are after." {often mis-quoted as by H.D. Thoreau}

View Kelly's profile


3015 posts in 3721 days

#8 posted 08-14-2018 04:03 AM

I’ve been using the alcohol based products and the biggest problem I have with them is trying to get such a small amount on a pin point it doesn’t result in an overpowering color. That said, it mixes very easy.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

24803 posts in 3883 days

#9 posted 08-31-2018 12:32 AM

I use Harbor Freight epoxy with oil based spray paint. I mix the epoxy, then squirt the mixture with any color spray paint, mix it in well and fill the voids! It work great. It takes a little longer than 5mninutes to dry but the result is great and cheap!

cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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