Magical Forest Painting and Epoxy Resin Coating | Dragon Secret Compartment Box Part 5

Magical Forest Painting and Epoxy Resin Coating | Dragon Secret Compartment Box Part 5

this will be the backdrop for the
dragon secret compartment box. I’m starting out by blocking in the lights
and darks using an airbrush. the paint used here is thinned down acrylic paint.
with the pressure lower and the airbrush much closer to the surface I’m adding in
the tree trunks. an advantage of using an airbrush for this project is that the
wood surface is fairly uneven and I’m able to get a smooth application of
paint that looks like a misty forest without the addition of brushstrokes. I
had a basic reference in mind for this but instead of sketching it I just
loosely applied paint with the airbrush and then further developed details
depending on how everything looked and let the misty look kind of take over.
once I had some basic shapes in I switched over to a brush and started
adding in some color. the idea is to have the sun somewhat overhead but so much
mist in the forest that it’s blocking a lot of the light so only some of the
color will seep through. I’m focusing the warmer tones on the light areas and
cooler tones in the shadows. with everything basically developed here
I’ve sealed in this base coat using a spray lacquer so that I can further
develop the design on top without damaging the underpainting. I switched back to the airbrush to start
blocking in some of the branches giving that a bit more detail and creating my
brightest brights and my darkest darks. much of this painting will be covered by
the dragon head itself so the center is fairly empty as opposed to having any
sort of focal point since the dragon will be the focal point, but I find it
easier to develop the painting as a whole as opposed to leaving the center
completely blank. also I am not painting out to the edges
since that will be covered by the border that will be glued over top of this. I once again switched back to the brush
to start creating more detail and ensuring that my tree details aren’t
lost in the mist completely I also reference back to how this will
look with the dragon. periodically I placed the dragon on to the art to see
which parts would show and ensure that no strange shapes were created once the
dragon was added. once I was happy with the painting I
mixed up some epoxy resin so I can go ahead and seal this paint in place. I
used Table Top epoxy and I went ahead and degassed it in the vacuum chamber since
I had that on hand. it’s not supposed to be strictly necessary but I figured
getting out as many bubbles as possible can only improve the result. after it was
in the vacuum chamber for a while I checked the temperature to ensure it
wasn’t overheating. you can’t let it get up to I believe 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
if it goes hotter than that it won’t ruin it but it will set up quite a bit
faster. I had intended to only do a thin brush on coat for this first layer but I
realized that I had mixed up so much extra resin by mistake that I just went
ahead and ended up adding it all on there and used this as my finish coat.
because that wasn’t the plan from the start I didn’t have this set up on a
level surface or anything. however my board has a little bit of warp left in
it anyways so I wouldn’t have been able to set that up perfectly. this worked
out okay so I allowed it to cure completely and then I drilled in the
holes where the dragon hardware will attach. in hindsight it would have been
better to do this later in the project once I had the border installed so that
it could be centered on the final placement of the boarder versus right
now there are some edges that will still need to be sanded off to even everything up. my epoxy didn’t come out perfectly. there
were some bubbles and some bits of dust despite my best efforts to keep it
protected while it was curing, so I sanded this down and then polished it
with a polishing compound and an attachment on the drill. I switched over to the plastic polish
for the final polishing using the finest sponge. I’m not sure if there’s too much
of a difference between these two but I do prefer the plastic polish because it
doesn’t dry up so fast as the other polishing compound. these drill attachments will unscrew
occasionally and just fall off. because this was a relatively large piece for how small the drill attachment was, I was concerned that I would end up just
burning out the drill by the time I got this perfectly smooth, and I found that
there were some scratches that were too deep for this to get out that I had
missed in the earlier sanding stage. another thing here that I would do
differently, I didn’t clean the table surface thoroughly or have a large enough piece of cardboard masking that off, so there’s a possibility I could
have gotten grit in the sanding tool at this stage. so it would have been better
to ensure I was working in a much cleaner environment to avoid
contaminating with larger sized grit that could cause additional scratches in
the final polishing stage I switched over to some hand polishing
with a terry cloth covered sponge. this works pretty well for getting a final
even polish over the top. in the end though I just wasn’t quite happy with
how this was turning out still, so I ended up adding a coat of sealer over
top. before adding this sealer I wiped the piece down with a tack cloth to
ensure that there was no residual dust or fibers in the air that could have
settled on it, and I also heated up the gloss enamel in a tub of hot water
before applying it, doing my best to get the smoothest application possible with
a rattle. can I did quite a few layers on this. I wanted to build up a thick enough
finish. I kept rotating it to apply it in different directions to ensure that it
was as even as possible and then once that was dry I removed the masking tape
from the rest of the frame. in the end though it still just was not looking
smooth enough. there was some orange peel forming on the surface so I decided to
polish this one more time. I wet sanded by hand with 1000 grit up to about 3000
grit, I may have gone higher than that, but I was just trying to get this as
smooth as possible and I wasn’t using a sanding block because the surface itself
isn’t perfectly flat and I didn’t at this stage want to mistakenly sand
through the sealer that I’d applied so I just used the pressure of my hand to
ensure it was as even as possible based on the existing finish. this took a good
bit of time just to carefully sand away as little as possible while still
removing the orange peel so I repeatedly wiped the surface with a dry towel to
check how I was doing and see if the sheen was completely gone. at the stage it was nice and smooth to
the touch but still wasn’t back to that gloss surface so it needed to be polished
again. I used just the plastic polish this time
since I do like that product better. I was trying to do as much of the work by
hand as I could so I wouldn’t burn out the drill with that tiny little polishing tool. I pulled out the drill for just the
final polish after I already had it to a pretty good shine and went over the
whole surface with that trying to get it to a perfect gloss finish. I think that
it could still get to a glossier state with a proper polishing tool that I’m not
worried about burning out by using it for extended periods over a large
surface, but this was to a point that it was acceptable for the fact that a lot
of this is going to be covered by the dragon anyways so I just needed it to be
smooth enough that there were no distractions. so this is now finished
it’s ready to have the rest of the frame installed and hanging hardware and then
the final dragon attached

8 thoughts on “Magical Forest Painting and Epoxy Resin Coating | Dragon Secret Compartment Box Part 5

  1. The level of attention to detail you have on all your projects is simply amazing. It is quite mesmerizing watching your creations come to life.

  2. Personally I like it better a little less than ultra glossy. But if you are looking for high gloss, they now sell 2 part automotive spray in a can (comes with a hardener that you mix inside the can itself). It's called Spraymax 2K Glamour Clear and it will give you nearly perfect results right away, and will harden to the same kind of paint on cars. A bit pricey though. $20ish a can on Amazon.

  3. I'm surprised you got as much gloss as you did out of the rattle-can enamel clear. One-part enamels generally don't sand/polish very well, especially before complete curing (which can take weeks/months). I would have gone with a lacquer clear, TBH.

  4. I feel like if you were ever put in prison you have the determination to dig your way out with just a toothpick. Impressive as always.

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