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Table with vinyl decals under epoxy

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Forum topic by firefighterontheside posted 09-08-2019 03:50 PM 334 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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firefighterontheside

20516 posts in 2337 days


09-08-2019 03:50 PM

Has anyone done this? I see tables that are made like this. Well, I assume it is vinyl stickers under epoxy. I want to make some tables for our fire stations and I want to do it right. I’m thinking of a coat of either poly or epoxy and then the stickers on top of that, then the final coats of epoxy over that. Does that sound right or do you have other ideas?
Thanks.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.


12 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11758 posts in 3909 days


#1 posted 09-08-2019 04:37 PM

Bill,I watch a couple guys on YouTube that do a lot of epoxy tables and, they lay down an epoxy coat first, usually colored but, that doesn’t matter. They let that cost cure then, they stick on the decal. Then, a final coat of clear.
You do want an epoxy that remains crystal clear. Most will yellow.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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firefighterontheside

20516 posts in 2337 days


#2 posted 09-08-2019 04:46 PM

Ok, I’ve never used epoxy so I will look for that. Can you point me to the videos Gene?

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6627 posts in 3675 days


#3 posted 09-08-2019 04:56 PM

Bill,

Do they call that decapage..?

-- " The secret to staying young looking.....hang around old people.." R.D.

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firefighterontheside

20516 posts in 2337 days


#4 posted 09-08-2019 05:10 PM

I looked that up Rick. Doesn’t seem right.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3629 posts in 1055 days


#5 posted 09-08-2019 05:47 PM

Sounds to me like you have just entered the domain of those who make corn hole boards for people who want to use decals, and other graphics to personalize their boards.

Make no mistake they want perfect surfaces, where the drag on the bag isn’t too slow, nor too fast, dead flat, and beautiful. My BIL makes personalized boards for law enforcement people. He spends about 15 minutes making a pair of boards, and several days doing the finish. He can go gloss, or satin, but they are really beautiful finishes, and he uses an acrylic resin for gloss, and plain old Arm r Seal for satin.

Bill, Do they call that decapage..?

- Rick Dennington

In a sense yes, same principle, just most for the Corn hole boards are using less expensive coatings. My Oldest Sister used to do Decoupage back in the 70’s, and her coatings were crazy expensive back them. Essentially a sealed coating over art, or graphics, placed on a wooden/hard backing = Decoupage. Back then they sold Decoupage coating. Not sure if they still do, but wouldn’t be surprised to find it wasn’t just Poly.

-- Think safe, be safe

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firefighterontheside

20516 posts in 2337 days


#6 posted 09-08-2019 06:06 PM

Yes, it would be similar to those making cornhole boards with graphics. Thanks for that suggestion.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1971 posts in 643 days


#7 posted 09-08-2019 06:59 PM

since all polyurethanes and searlers are not the same, that goes for epoxy also.
this project should have much experimentation to prevent ruining a nice table.

.

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11758 posts in 3909 days


#8 posted 09-08-2019 08:24 PM

Bill, that video about the cornhole boards is very similar to any that I’ve seen of that process. His recommendation of Art Resin is a good one, too.
I’ve seen decopage under resin. I’m not a fan.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

821 posts in 1583 days


#9 posted 09-08-2019 09:53 PM

I’ve never tried to do this but, my gut tells me that encapsulating sheet vinyl “stickers” between layers of epoxy (or most anything else) is just asking for delamination. I don’t think that the epoxy will adhere well to the vinyl. Decopage, which I think is a similar process, is usually done with paper (clippings or photos). I think I would do some experimenting before doing a finished project.

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firefighterontheside

20516 posts in 2337 days


#10 posted 09-08-2019 10:09 PM

Thanks. I’ve been checking into the paper option too.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1762 posts in 1975 days


#11 posted 09-09-2019 08:37 AM

Challenge with any potting or encapsulation of foreign materials in epoxy boils down 3 areas:

1) Environment:
Epoxy is not impervious to moisture. It has a low permeation rate, but it is not zero. If environment has significant amounts of moisture present for long periods, there will be moisture inside – just like inside wood, but will have lower saturation, or less total water.
Hard part about moisture is temperature cycling. Water freezes and boils with devastating consequences. If epoxy casting is used in typical HVAC indoor environment and is not in shower or next to a sink; don’t care much about temp. But use outside, means you have to worry about differences in thermal coefficient of expansion (CTE) of any material involved. Outdoor castings need to be much thicker than indoor to reduce the amount of water permeation that can reach the various foreign material bond lines.

2) Surface chemistry/Bond-ability:
Smooth non-porous plastic surfaces can be hard to bond. Rough porous surfaces bond well due massively more surface area. Rough surface can be marginally bond-able, and still work great (in presence of water and heat/cold). But a smooth surface needs to have better bond, or water will migrate to bond line, break bonds, and show up as blister in epoxy mass.
Another chemistry issue is materials compatibility. Some natural rubber adhesives on stickers are dissolved by glycidyl ether diluents used to make casting resins low viscosity. These sticker adhesives will out gas during cure and leave bubbles. Some stickers use silicone adhesives, to which nothing adheres. These will create pockets for trapped water to collect and wreak havoc. Only way to know if all things are compatible is a whole bunch of testing.
If your testing shows epoxy easy peels from sticker surfaces, might need to apply a primer. Something simple like spray dewaxed shellac, or spray lacquer, that can be sanded with 400 grit for good epoxy bond would be my first tested fixes.

3) Mechanical stress:
A thicker casting is more durable than a thinner mass. This is not just because of bending stresses between bond lines, it is due the average CTE for thicker mass reduces the impact of differences for the foreign objects in the mass. Placing a sticker middle of 1/2 thick epoxy, makes impact of 25mil thick vinyl sticker almost nil. Put same sticker inside 1/16” of epoxy and there is more stress on bond lines during mechanical or environmental changes.
Epoxy castings need to well supported. Epoxy has property called plastic deformation; where it will change shape if high enough force is applied over long enough time. If potted mass bends in same area where there is a sticker with low adhesion, the result is usually delamination and/or another blister event.

IME – The best method to pot foreign objects into epoxy is to use sandwich method OP suggested. Seal surface with epoxy, Sand to roughen for next bond layer, apply stickers/pictures, then cast thick epoxy over the top. When potting corks, or bottle caps into epoxy tables; the objects are bonded with sealer coat of epoxy, then sealed with another thin layer to seal pores to reduce bubbling issues of top layers.

One last point: Not all epoxies are designed for potting objects inside a surface film. Talk to your epoxy suppliers and they might have something designed for your exact application, which would reduce testing.

Hope this helps.
. #IAMAKLUTZ, not an expert.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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firefighterontheside

20516 posts in 2337 days


#12 posted 09-09-2019 12:19 PM

Thanks Captain. That’s a lot of info. I’m going to talk to graphics guy today who makes decals for our fire trucks and see what he knows about the bond ability of his products. My wife can make small decals with her Cricut machine and from my reading the product she would need to use is called Oracal 651. Supposed to be compatible.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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