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Is there a simple way of coating or encapsulating a photograph so that I can set it inside a block of two part transparent epoxy casting resin? The photograph is from one of those print your own photo stations that you find in Walmart.

For example to make a custom plate.

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  • What kind of photograph do you intend to use? An ink print from a digital image might react differently to the epoxy (or any sealant) than an old style developed photograph.
    – Elmy
    Sep 2 at 9:04
  • From one of those print your own photo stations that you find in Walmart. Sep 2 at 9:17
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Embedding inkjet prints (which I'm pretty sure is what Walmart photo station prints are) is a little challenging. The resin can not only liberate the dried ink but also the paper itself can change color as it saturates in the resin.

Better to not let the inked paper touch the resin directly. Get a spray can of flat clear coat. I have used Krylon but any brand should do. Put the picture down on an old cardboard box or some other surface that you don't mind being coated in overspray, and give it a very light misting from farther away than the recommended 6-12 inches. You aren't trying to get it wet with this spray paint as this can distort the ink too. Instead, use multiple super light layers to build up a protective coat on the front, letting each layer dry before applying the next. Once you feel that the front is sufficiently sealed and protected, repeat the process on the back. You can be a little heavier when doing the back because the front coating is now holding the ink in place, but don't go nuts and drench the back in one shot. Once you have coated both front and back and after that coating has been given more than recommended time to dry, you should be able to embed the coated image in resin.

At this point what you are doing is embedding the hardened clear coat in the resin. The inkjet photo is just along for the ride.

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    I'm not familiar with the Walmart photo stations, but those kinds of prints are typically dye sublimation rather than ink jet. I don't know how that reacts with the solvents in the spray coating. The OP might need a sacrificial print to test various coatings. If liquid coatings of any kind (including water-based), turn out to be a problem, laminating the photo might be a solution. It's also possible that resin would work directly on dye sub, so no protection would be needed. (cont'd)
    – fixer1234
    Sep 2 at 18:13
  • If the resin or coating makes the photo paper translucent, it gives the photo a sort of 3D effect, like it's suspended in space, so that isn't the end of the world. But this answer is at least a good place to start. +1
    – fixer1234
    Sep 2 at 18:13

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