Encasing flowers in acrylic can be done while they are still alive. Acrylic encased flowers can also be dried or pressed to create a different look, but live flowers preserve the natural beauty of warm weather and can provide a breath of spring when you need it most. While beautiful, this activity requires many safety precautions, which should be followed stringently. Acrylic, also called two part resin epoxy, is extremely hazardous to health in almost all of its forms.
Make sure your room is well ventilated before starting this project. Open windows and use fans for cross ventilation. Small children and animals should be out of your work space. Lay down a thick layer of newspaper on your work surface to make for easy clean up later.
Outfit yourself with some personal safety equipment. Safety goggles and a facial mask will protect your mouth, nose and eyes from the harmful fumes that emanate from two part epoxy resin. Rubber gloves are necessary as well to prevent the resin from coming into contact with your skin. An apron and hair covering are not required, but will protect your hair and clothing from any accidents or spills.
Begin crafting. The two part epoxy resin should come in two separate bottles, one labelled as resin, one labelled as curing agent. Pour both of these into the plastic bowl and stir with a wooden craft stick until the liquid is clear and free of bubbles or other impurities. Mix approximately half the amount you intend to use, determined by the size of your mould and the desired size of the finished object. The liquid will be thick.
Pour the mixed solution of epoxy resin into your mould. Allow the resin to cure, or dry, for approximately 12 to 24 hours, or half of the manufacturer's recommended time period.
Arrange the flowers in the half cured resin in a pattern that is pleasing to your style and taste.
Mix and pour the second half of the two part epoxy resin solution over the flowers. Allow the epoxy resin to dry for 24 to 48 hours, or the manufacturer's recommended time.
Remove the resin coated flowers from the mould. The acrylic resin should be hard to the touch and not tacky. Allow the moulded flowers to sit for a few more hours to prevent fingerprints or smears to the acrylic coating.
- Choose a mould made from PVC, plastic, silicone or metal. Epoxy resin crafting releases heat, and the mould needs to be heat resistant and easily able to release the finished object.
- If at any point the acrylic resin begins to bubble, blow gently on the surface of the mixture. Carbon dioxide that is released in your breath will allow the bubbles to dissipate without causing damage to the moulding process.
- Do not ingest epoxy resin. Do not allow epoxy resin to sit on your skin for any period of time. Do not allow epoxy resin to get into your eyes, nose or mouth. If you are sanding finished acrylic resin, use similar precautions to the moulding process. If you experience difficulty breathing, dizziness or nausea, remove yourself from your work space and consult a physician. If the resin comes into contact with your body or mucous membranes, flush with water and consult a doctor.