Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Envirotex Lite Mosaics Tea Tray Tutorial

If you’ve been around awhile, you might remember this post on using Envirotex Lite.  If not, just follow along, I did some more mosaics and will showcase my tutorial here.  It is LONG so PIN NOW and read LATER!

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As with any tutorial, you need to start out with some supplies.  Here’s what you need:

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A wooden tea tray – these can be found at all major craft stores.  Hobby Lobby often has theirs for 30-50% off.

Paint – I use acrylic most of the time, but have used latex and spray paint as well.  I like the Delta Ceramcoat brand, it is high quality and they have a great color selection.

Items to fill your tray – I will show you several examples here using aquarium/vase filler gems, stones/shells, broken china (actual broken china, don’t put your Tim Holtz Distress Ink in there).  You could also use coins, beads, game pieces, whatever.  Paper can be used to but you’ll want to seal it first (think Mod Podge)

Glue for your items.  Depending on what you’re using, you will want to use Mod Podge (paper/photos), hot glue gun (faux flowers/leaves), or Weldbond (gems/stones/shells/heavier objects).

Grout – Optional.  The advantage to using grout is so you don’t have to use so much EL which is expensive.

Envirotex Lite – be sure to use a coupon, and get more than you think you need.

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First you need to paint your tray.  I typically paint the sides inside and out with my main color.  If I’m selling it I’ll paint the bottom too.  If I am not grouting I will paint the bottom white usually.

Once your paint dries you will now be putting your items in your tray.  I recommend using items as flat as possible, and as close together as possible because Envirotex Lite is not the cheapest craft supply out there, even with a 40% off coupon.  Lay out your pattern, then once you are pleased with the design start gluing down your items.  Wait for them to dry.  Here are some examples:

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Love the shape of these.

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This one is more obvious in person, it’s a rainbow coming out of a cloud

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These nesting ones are great, would make a good homemade gift.

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This set has stones from Michigan rivers on the left, shells from the Great Lakes state in the middle, and shells from the ocean on the right.  Another great set concept.

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This one has broken china.  Fun to arrange all the pieces!

If you want to grout first, here is the look you will get:

Mosaics with Envirotex Lite 007

I use this pretty tray as a backdrop – I can’t stand to sell it – and every time I do a show people want to buy it. 

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Okay, now on to the Envirotex Lite part.   What is Envirotex Lite you ask?

It is a two part resin and hardener that can be poured on top of surfaces to provide a smooth, glossy finish.  Note:  it is different from Envirotex Easy Cast, in that it is meant for a thinner coating.  Please refer to their website for more on which product to use for your project.

Step 1: Read the instructions.  No really, I'm serious.  This is not a product you can fool around with.  I don't mean that in a "if you don't mix it exactly right it's going to blow up in your face and the world as we know it will end" kind of way, but more in a "do it right so your project doesn't suck" kind of way.

It is absolutely necessary that you understand them before moving on.

Step 2: Prep your area.  Make sure your table is covered with newspaper.  Set up your project on top of some cups, or some other material on top of the newspaper. 

Step 3. Prep your Envirotex Lite.  Okay this is where you start to get nervous.  Don't worry, it will come out fine!  Here's the supplies you need:

Box of Envrotex Lite which includes the hardener on the left and the clear bottle of resin on the right.  You will also need 2 clear cups with measuring marks on the side and a stirrer.

Pour EQUAL parts of resin and hardener into a plastic measured cup.  Mix VIGOROUSLY for 2 FULL minutes.  Make sure to scrape the sides frequently.  Don't worry about bubbles.  Then you are ready to pour, DON'T WAIT!

Secret: two things I did that did NOT follow the instructions!  I only used one cup, and mixed like mad, and also a spoon instead of a flat stirrer.  From my experience, if you mix like mad, you will be able to avoid the direction of "pouring the resin and hardener into one cup, mixing for one minute, then pouring that mixture into another cup".  Kind of a waste of time, but they tell you to do that so you won't have globs of unmixed resin.  If you have globs that are not 100% mixed, it will come out on your project and leave soft spots that you DO NOT WANT.  Also you are supposed to use a flat stirrer for the same reason.  OH WELL!

Step 4:  Get your pour on.  Pour over the surface of your project, around the edges first in a circular motion coming to the center.  This product spreads very well on its own, but you may need to use a credit card like object to smooth it out.

Step 5:  Blow gently on the surface.  Air bubbles will have risen to the top, so you want to pop them or they will stay there.  Exhale on your project so the carbon dioxide will pop the bubbles.  Very cool to watch.

Step 6:  Watch for drips.  You may want to coat the bottom of your project with masking tape to protect from drips.  In about 20-40 minutes while the drips are still fluid, wipe them off.  If they harden you will need to sand them off.  In the picture below there actually shouldn't be any drips but I mixed and poured a little too much resin so it overflowed out the handles.  Not the end of the world.

Step 7:  Leave it alone.  Don't touch for at least 8 hours.  Keep a cardboard box over your project to prevent dust, bugs, or pet hair from settling into your resin.

Here are some completed projects after using Envirotex Lite:

Mosaics with Envirotex Lite 001

You will love how glossy it turns out.

 Mosaics with Envirotex Lite 002

Here’s a close up of the gems.  The bottom of the tray is painted white on this one, no grout.

Mosaics with Envirotex Lite 003

I made this tray for my 15 seconds of fame on the local TV station for an autumn/Halloween segment.  I think this one is really cool even though I didn’t intend for it to turn out like this.  Sorry for the glare, hard to photograph.

Mosaics with Envirotex Lite 004 Mosaics with Envirotex Lite 005

Can you see the error?  Not enough Envirotex Lite to cover the items!  The faux leaves stuck up really high, and I couldn’t pour more EL without it going out the sides where the handles are.  But in a weird way, it works!

Questions?  Let me know and I will try to answer them!  Thanks for sticking through this lengthy tutorial, more projects on the way as always so visit soon Smile