With this tutorial, I want to introduce you to Resin Epoxy Art. Before you can get started, you will learn what resin is and what you should pay attention to when working with epoxy resin. I will show you where you can get the materials you need and give you a step-by-step guide on how to create your first resin work. All the basics for a successful start in the casting resin technique are given in the following article.
What is Epoxy Resin?
Epoxy resins are a two-component system consisting of resin and hardener. By mixing the two components, a chemical reaction takes place so that the liquid resin gradually hardens to a solid plastic within hours.
The result is a high-gloss, clear surface. For the sake of simplicity, I will usually use the term “resin” instead of “epoxy resin”. Resin is not only used in industry and boat building, but also in art. Thus, besides kitchen counters, floors, tables, paintings, jewelry or sculptures can also be cast.
What is Resin Art?
With resin art, you can create works of art that enchant with their clarity, luminosity, brilliance and depth. Color pigments or other additives are added to the epoxyresin and you can create resin paintings or do resin castings – there are endless possibilities!
Different effects can be created by choosing the painting ground, the type of casting, the colors and the additives. Even experienced resin artists have never finished learning.
The trend to use resin in art comes from the USA, Canada and Australia. In Europe, the techniques are still little known. If you like experimenting, you will love working with resin. Resin can also be used to finish drawings, photos and paintings (made of oil, acrylic, alcohol ink, watercolor, ink, mixed media, etc.) with a shine that can be created and also to protect them from UV light and mechanical influences. You can also use epoxy on wood, build your own epoxy river table or create your own geode art with it.
Supplies you need for Epoxy Resin Art
Best Resin Epoxy for Crafts
To create gorgeous resin paintings, you need a high-quality art resin. While art resin is a brand, this term is also widely used to describe a specific type of this material, which has high quality and is suitable to use for resin artworks. It should be crystal clear and include an UV-filter, so it doesn’t yellow too much over time and under sunlight exposure.
ProMarine Supplies ProArt Epoxy Resin
ProMarine’s ProArt Resin is made specifically to be used for art-related projects. You can protect all kinds of artwork, both fragile and robust, by coating it with the hard, crystal-clear finish of this resin. Use ProArt resin to make, secure, and protect art projects from drawings and paintings to woodwork and sculptures. This resin is best used on materials such as wood, metal, plastic, and canvas, and can be mixed with pigmented powders, dyes, and liquid tints to add a pop of color.
- Affordable product of a high quality
- The finish is completely solid, similar to a hard shell
- Self-leveling resin with a very glossy finish
- Releases air well, thus preventing bubbles
- Lasting color
- Strengthened against impact
- Resistant to UV rays and water
- Minimal odor
- Easy mixing ratio of 1:1
- Longer processing time to allow for more careful, precise work
Stone Coat Art Coat Ultra UV Protected Epoxy
Stone Coat Countertops has worked together with an epoxy resin artist so as to create an Art Coat product. This resin has been made specifically with artists in mind, creating a product that is easy to use with positive results. Apply your Art Coat as a clear protective layer, or mix it together with a color of your choice! Stone Coat Art Coat resin is compatible with many materials, such as resin colorants, metallic powders and pastes, acrylics, oils, tints, dyes, and many others.
STONE COAT Art Coat Epoxy, Ultra UV Protection, food safe
- Specifically designed for art projects, developed with professional artists
- Heat resistant, scratch resistant, food safe, maximum UV resistant, water resistant
- compatible with alcohol inks, acrylics, silicone oils, metallics, oil-based paint
- Extended working time, easy to clean
- Easy to mix with a 1:1 ratio
- This resin is crystal-clear and will not yellow
- Cheaper than other resin brands
- Very little odor
- Shorter processing time of 45 minutes, meaning that you will have less time to work with your resin
- Thicker consistency, which can make it difficult to pour
- Prone to bubbles, although these can be removed by exposing them to hot air
Dr. Crafty Clear Epoxy Resin Kit
This epoxy resin kit is ideal for beginners, as it comes with all of the tools and materials needed to get started! Dr. Crafty’s Clear Epoxy Resin kit is perfect to be used on various artworks and jewelry. This product is very easy and simple to use, so that anyone can begin working with epoxy resin to make their own pieces of art!
- Can easily be used with all other marine grade epoxies
- The marine epoxy is self-leveling, which is perfect for coating and laminating
- The kit comes with epoxy and hardener pumps, providing exact amounts
- Comprehensive kit that can be used on numerous repair or building ventures
- Can’t really use the resin in cold weather conditions
- Not suitable if you are looking for clear marine epoxy
What do you Need for Resin Art?
Properties and Applications of different Resin Products
For my resin paintings, I mainly use the two resin varieties MasterCast 1-2-1 from Eli-Chem Resins and ArtResin from the company of the same name. They are both available in Europe, high quality and certified as non-toxic. They contain no solvents, do not give off vapors and are odorless and non-flammable.
They protect your artwork from UV rays. In addition to MasterCast, Eli-Chem also offers other resin types with different viscosities. For certain applications, UltraCast and TotalCast Resin are better suited than MasterCast. TotalCast Resin is slightly more liquid and ideally suited for clear coatings or embedding and pouring liquids and has a short drying time (approx. three to four hours).
MasterCast on the other hand is better suited for coloring resin with color pigments and for fluid panting and has a longer drying time of about six to eight hours. MasterCast therefore also offers a slightly longer working time (service life of approx. 25 to 40 minutes). The time until the image is completely hardened is about three days with MasterCast.
The UltraCast resin is characterized by its very long processing time of up to 1.5 hours or drying time of 24 hours and is therefore particularly recommended for large-area work. However, it takes seven to ten days to achieve maximum curing properties and temperature resistance.
Which Painting Grounds are suitable for Resin Epoxy Art?
Suitable for resin art are painting surfaces made of wood, glass, metal, plexiglass, concrete and much more. Porous, absorbent surfaces are unsuitable. Canvases are not suitable because they would sag due to the weight of the resin and the resin would then converge in the centre of the depression. Furniture, floors and kitchen covers can be covered with the appropriate resin/epoxy resin.
Which Colors and Dyes are suitable for Resin Art?
There are now many suppliers of highly pigmented paints whose products are particularly suitable for use in resin. You can use color pigments in powder form, ResiTint colors (very color intensive, a few drops are enough), ink, alcohol ink, liquid acrylic paints and spray paints. There are no limits to your imagination. You should not add water to your paints, because water makes the resin milky and it no longer hardens completely. We have our own tutorial on how to color resin.
Depending on the type of pigments used, you will get different results. There are also color pigments in powder form that are not suitable for resin. It is best to experiment with your colors on small painting surfaces before you dare to take on large Resin Art paintings. Some manufacturers keep lists of pigments that are suitable for coloring resin, such as Kremer. It is important that you stir the color into the resin thoroughly (but gently).
HEMWAY Pigment Powder in 14 colours
- Hemway has one of the largest ranges of pigment powder dyes
- You can simply mix this slowly into resin until the desired ratio is reached
- Colorfast and lightfast, so your works will still shine brilliantly even after a long time
How to Calculate the Amount of Resin you need
How much resin you need for your Epoxy Resin Art depends on the size of your painting surface and also on whether you want to cover the edges with resin or if you cover them with paint tape. To calculate the amount of resin you need, we have a resin epoxy calculator that will help you calculate the amount of resin you need to mix:
A special Resin Art Technique – Cells in your Resin Epoxy Art
Cells can be produced by casting techniques like Dirty Pour, Air Swipe and many others. You can learn them in our separate blog about Fluid painting techniques.
Cells can also be created by adding some isopropanol alcohol or a few drops of Resi-Blast. Alternatively, you can drop the Resi-Blast into your freshly poured resin. If you wait too long, the Resi-Blast will have no effect.
Achieve sparkling and glowing Effects in your Epoxy Painting
By adding glitter or decoration stones and crystals to your Resin Epoxy Art you can set beautiful accents. For example, you can cast the currently very trendy geodes. (By the way, there will be a blog post about geodes soon).
How do you prevent Resin from getting too hot?
Mix only as much resin as you really need. Use for resin, which you do not need immediately wide vessels. Especially metallic colors develop a lot of heat together with resin. The warmer the room temperature, the faster the resin starts to “boil”. If you notice that your resin is hard and very hot in the cup, you should pour it onto a foil. Because you can’t process it anyway and it can cool down again. On hot days I recommend that you do resin work in the morning or move it to the cool cellar.
What to do against Air Bubbles?
The formation of air bubbles in the resin cannot be avoided. If you stir yourcasting resin slowly and heat it up briefly in between, the bubbles should not be a problem. Heat will cause the bubbles to rise to the surface and burst. Heat the resin on a painting surface regularly with a heat gun or better still with a butane torch.
Keep the heat source about 4 inches away from your Epoxy Art and move the torch in fast movements over the painting. Otherwise the resin will start to boil and it will clump. If the resin is colored white, this can be seen by the fact that it turns yellow. If this happens to you, you have to remove the clumped resin from the surface and pour it again.
WAGNER SPRAYTECH Heat Gun
Two Temp Settings 750ᵒF & 1000ᵒF
Use the heat gun to remove air bubbles from your epoxy
- You can also use the air flow to customize your artwork as long as the resin is flowing
Resin Processing Time
The drying time depends on the room temperature and the type of resin used. When using MasterCast 1-2-1 at a room temperature of 22° Celcius you have about 25 to 40 minutes working time until the drying starts. With TotalCast from the same supplier this is 15 to 30 minutes, with UltraCast about 1.5 hours. ArtResin behaves similar to MasterCast 1-2-1.
As with every painting, you should think about the composition of the epoxy painting beforehand. This is especially true for Resin Epoxy Art – once you have mixed the resin with the hardener, you only have a limited time to finish your resin painting.
How to make Resin Art – Tutorial for Creating your first Resin Painting
Once you are clear about the image design and color selection, you are ready to go for your first Resin Painting:
- Ensure a clean, dust-free workplace in a well-ventilated room. Lay foils to protect your workplace and the floor. The material you need should be within easy reach.
- Stick your painting ground on the reverse side with strong paint tape, so that resin drops on the underside of the wooden board can easily be removed the next day together with the tape. Some artists also stick the sides of the painting ground. Taping pages or not – this is of course a matter of taste, everyone should do it the way they like.
- Place your painting base raised on your tabletop, e.g. on cups. If your painting base is directly on the tabletop, the reverse side will stick to the tabletop due to the resin flowing down.
- Use the level to make sure that your painting surface is horizontal on the worktop. Otherwise, the resin will melt and your beautiful motif will be invisible after a short time.
- Use disposable nitrile gloves (no vinil or latex) and wear long-sleeved clothing.
- Mix the required amount of resin and hardener in the correct ratio for 3 minutes. Both MasterCast 1-2-1 and ArtResin are mixed at a ratio of 1:1 based on volume (not weight). Use a plastic spatula for stirring. If the two components are mixed insufficiently, the mass remains sticky and does not harden completely.
- Now the fun begins: Color the resin in disposable cups with different colors. Be sparing with color, a few drops or a hint of pigments are usually enough. You can pour the resin cups individually on your painting ground or use one of the well-known pouring techniques. For example: Puddle Pour, Dirty Pour, Flip Cup, Swirl, Air Swipe etc.
- You can also add some silicone oil or even better Resi-Blast to the color mixtures. Resi-Blast was specially developed for the Resin Epoxy Art of cell formation.
- You can influence the course of the resin on your painting surface with a spatula, knife, foam roller, brush, silicone brush etc. as well as by tilting the painting surface.
- Avoid air bubbles in the painting. If there are any, you can remove them by (very briefly!) using a butane torch or a hot air blow-dryer.
- If the casting resin starts to dry after a certain time (different from resin to resin, see above), the painting should not be changed. The resin then becomes very viscous and begins to pull threads like chewing gum. It then loses its most important property of self-leveling. Heating can delay the process, but only to a limited extent.
- In order to avoid annoying foreign particles (dust, hair, mosquitoes) on the Resin Artwork, you should remove these if necessary with tweezers.
- When the image is finished and free of air bubbles and foreign particles, you should cover it to protect it from dust. For this, you can use a cardboard plate, which you place on four bottles, for example. A resin image is hard after about 24 hours, but still sensitive. Only after three days is it fully cured. The resin image should not be exposed to large temperature fluctuations during the drying time.
- If necessary, you can apply further resin layers as soon as the Resin pour Art has dried (after approx. 5 hours).
How to clean your Casting Tools?
With the finished Epoxy Painting your work is not done yet. Now it’s time to clean your painting equipment. If you still have resin left, you can use it either for small decoration objects such as Resin Coasters / Petri Dishes or for experiments. Place the empty resin cups on a plastic foil with the opening facing down. Excess resin runs out of the cups and can easily be separated from the cup the next day.
Wipe your spatula with vinegar or a cloth soaked in isopropanol. You should also wipe off the remaining sticky utensils such as hot-air dryers, butane torches, tweezers etc. with an alcohol cloth. Attention, disconnect electrical appliances from the power supply before use! Brushes and foam rollers, if you have used them, must, unfortunately, be disposed of. Do not leave wooden sticks in the resin, otherwise you will hardly be able to remove them from the surface the next day.
How do you clean Sticky Hands?
You should clean sticky hands with vinegar and then clean them with soap and water. There are hand wash pastes with rubbing agents in the DIY store, which are very helpful. With alcohol you should clean your hands only if necessary since this dries out the skin. However, it is best anyway if your hands do not become sticky in the first place when wearing gloves. If possible, resin should not get on the skin as it can cause irritations.
What to do if your Resin Painting shows damaged Areas?
If your resin image has holes or dents after drying, you may not have used enough resin or too much resin may have run off the image. Dents may also form when using silicone oil or Resi-Blast. In this case, you have no choice but to carefully sand the painting surface with a fine grain and apply a new layer of resin. If you have used Resi-Blast or silicone oil in your Resin Art, clean the surface thoroughly with alcohol.
Casting further Resin Layers
About five hours after applying resin (if the resin is already a little hard but still sticks), you can apply another layer of resin. Several layers of resin on top of each other give the Resin Pour Art an exciting depth.
Alternatively, you can wait with another layer of resin until your Epoxy Art is fully cured (at least 24 hours, rather longer). Then, however, you should carefully roughen the Epoxy Resin Art with sandpaper so that the new resin can adhere well. Please use only fine grains.
After sanding, clean the painting thoroughly with water and possibly an alcohol cloth. Grinding should not be done in the same room as resin, otherwise there is a lot of dust in the air that can settle on the freshly cast painting surface.
Difficulties with Resin Epoxy Art
In addition to the many beautiful sides, Resin Epoxy Art also has some disadvantages compared to other techniques: If you dare to use epoxy resin, you must not have a penchant for cleanliness – because working with resin is a sticky business. This technique is also rather expensive. High-quality resin has its price.
A resin Epoxy Painting is particularly exciting when several layers are cast on top of each other, so that the resin costs per painting are quite significant. In addition, for the sake of health, safety measures should be observed. The technique is not easy – but this increases the appeal of designing. If you have the technique under control, you will be rewarded with satisfaction and beautiful works.
Safety Measures when working with Resin
Resin is a viscous, sticky substance that hardens completely at room temperature in a given time. Therefore, you should take care to protect your furniture and clothing from resin stains. On the other hand, precautions must also be taken to protect your health. Even if you use a resin that has been certified as non-toxic and harmless, resin can cause skin irritation if it comes into contact with the skin.
It is therefore important to wear disposable nitrile gloves and long-sleeved clothing. In addition, you should refrain from eating and drinking in the immediate vicinity of resin. Smoking should also be avoided, as epoxy resin is partly flammable. In addition, a respiratory protective mask is recommended when heating paint / synthetic resin, as this is not completely harmless.
Safety Works Multi-Purpose Respirator
- As toxic fumes can be produced when processing resin, we recommend that you wear a respirator mask when processing resin in rooms.
- Even though professional resin promises to be non-toxic, we believe that health comes first and you can eliminate any negative effect.
Resin Art Ideas
While the term resin art is widely used to describe paintings made out of this material, there is so much you can do with it. Here are some resin art ideas you can do – check out our in-depth tutorials for these art projects:
As you can see, the creation of a resin Epoxy painting is quite time-consuming and requires a lot of preparation. But if you hold a successful resin Artwork in your hands, you will see: It was more than worth it!
For beginners, I can definitely recommend attending a resin course. There you will learn to understand the technique from the ground up – with all its peculiarities and precautions. You will be accompanied step by step through the individual phases: From preparation and design to cleaning and post-processing.
Have fun experimenting with resin!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Resin Art Expensive?
Yes, Resin Art can be quite an expensive hobby. That’s mainly because the Epoxy Resin can be costly if you create bigger Resin artworks. That’s why also buying Resin Art pieces can cost a good amount of money.
Why Resin Art is Bad?
Epoxy resin has many great properties, but at the same time, it’s also a downside: Technically you create art out of plastic, so it’s not the most environmentally friendly type of art. Also, as long as the resin is in its liquid form, it’s toxic and should be handled with care.
What is the Difference between Art Resin and Casting Resin?
The difference between Art Resin and Casting Resin is the purpose: Art Resin, which is more described as Coating Resin is for creating surfaces, is thicker and hardens faster. Casting Resin is for deeper pours, for example resin tables or molds.
Although Patricia Jaggi has been enthusiastic about painting since her youth, she discovered her true passion a few years ago with Resin Epoxy Art. After studying economics, she worked as a business consultant and as a scientist, which left her little time for painting. After the birth of her children she allowed herself more freedom to be artistically active again. Today she works with various techniques in her studio in Basel – her great love, however, is resin art. She was fascinated by the luminosity of the paintings and their depth effect. It is her wish to arouse enthusiasm and positive feelings in the viewer through her paintings as well. Since Patricia wants to share her joy and her knowledge about resin art with others, she now also offers courses.
21 responses to “36 Stunning epoxy resin projects diy that look expensive”
I have been doing resin work for about a year now. The thing that is hindered me most is sometimes small bits of information are left out of articles and tutorials that are crucial and necessary for the beginner to know. One thing I noticed in your list of supplies is that you left out heat gun and torch. Those two items are musts! Resin is an expensive product and if people are going to blog, teach, or do tutorials they need to be very thorough to be fair to the art.
Thanks for pointing that out Jennifer. When I try something new I do my research and share it on my blog in the hopes that it saves time and effort for others. But it’s always great to learn more!
What kind of ornaments can be used in gel candles e.g. plastic, resin or wooden
I recently started working with resin making trays. I came across your blog while searching to purchase a book on resin making crafts. Is your book “36 DIY resin projects” available for purchase? I have tried
all the craft stores in my area and no one has any books on crafting with resin. Would love to hear from you regarding your book, the crafts are all so beautiful and would love to make them myself
Have a Great day !
These are great projects. I am a beginner and not having luck with my epoxy projects. Both ended up tacky. Went through every step as stated and still tacky. Can you put anything on this final layer to reduce the tackiness??
wow! I got a lot of ideas from this website! I love the little turtle in a box. It’s so cute!
You inspire me so much. I am a beginner in resin crafting and I pray one day I can do resin crafts like you can. I want to make them for my family and myself. I’d like to do anyone who would want one as well. For now I am just taking it slow as a beginner. Do you have any tips or advice?
My tip is to start from basics and learn the actually craft of resin before utilizing more materials with it to make unique items. Use some molds and resin mix as per instructions and see how it goes. Nothing better than learning from practical experience. Good Luck!
Thank you so much for the inspiration. I love the tray but that bowl. WOW
What is the best epoxy product to use for crafts, jewelry, home DIY that is cost effective, remains transparent, no cracking, keeps its shine the natural colour of items used shines through for ages, water and heat resistant? A mouth full I know, but this info will help me with the projects I’d like to tackle. Thank you in advance. Kind regards. Teresa
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Introduction: Resin Art (For Beginners)
This instructable will give you a step by step process of creating your own resin art. Along with the step by step a couple of tips on how to get certain effects is provided at the end.
Step 1: Step 1: Buying Materials
The basic materials required for this project are:
- Which can be usual painting canvases, but in my case, I use 1/2" baltic birch plywood since it is cheaper than individual canvases and baltic birch tends to be straighter than other plywoods.
- Now this is a little pricier, most other sources online recommend using ArtResin($$$), but any resin that is a 1:1 ratio between clear epoxy resin and hardener works just fine. I use Pro Marine Supplies since larger volumes can be purchased for less than the ArtResin.
- Acrylic paint 2 oz. bottles will provide enough paint for you to make multiple pieces. I have made over 13 sq.ft. of pieces and I still have more paint left over. The spray paint is for priming the wood just so the texture of the wood does not show through the piece.
Plastic Disposable Cups
- I don't use a cup more than once, so buying some cheap plastic party cups work best.
Large Popsicle Sticks
- These are for mixing the resin and also mixing the paint into the resin, for this, I use one per cup since I don't like to be constantly mixing colors.
- I use 55-gallon trash bags, but buying those would probably cost more than buying some plastic sheeting to make a nice work area that won't ruin your countertops.
- For protecting your hands from the resin. If you get some on your hand, no big deal, just wipe it off and wash your hands.
PVC Pipe (optional)
- This is to build a protective cover frame, combined with a plastic sheath to place around/above to keep dust from landing and ruining your masterpiece. I think a cardboard box would also work well, but it has to be larger than your piece.
There is only one tool needed for this project which is a heat gun, but a torch will work just as well. Its purpose is to pop the bubbles that are in your resin.
Step 2: Step 2: Cut Wood
For this step, cut the wood to the desired size, then sand down the edges so they are smooth and slightly rounded. If the wood has a slight warp to it, try finding a piece that has less of a warp since the resin will fill the lower areas and leave white edges on your work.
Step 3: Step 3: Priming the Wood
Spray painting the wood has one purpose. The wood without the primer will have a wood texture behind it, with the primer the colors come out better.
Step 4: Step 4: Planning Colors
All up to you, choose your favorite colors, look up color combinations, try recreating a landscape, follow colors found in nature. Purely in the eye of the beholder.
Step 5: Step 5: Prepare Canvas and Cups
Preparing the cups is just placing one cup per every color you are using. Prepping the canvas includes placing on top of something that elevates it, so it does not sit in the resin that pours off the sides. Also, when prepping the canvas, make sure it is level.
Step 6: Step 6: Mixing Resin
Mixing resin is pretty simple, just follow the directions on the bottle. The most common way of mixing epoxy resin is to mix at a 1:1 ratio. When mixing, mix it all in 1 cup and make sure it is mixed for around 7 minutes. Scrape the sides of the cup and the bottom to get a fully even mix, otherwise, the resin won't set as it should.
Step 7: Step 7: Pour Resin Into Cups
With the prepared cups, pour resin into them. Tip, if you want more of one color, add more resin. Once the resin is poured, add the acrylic paint to each cup. Add a little bit at a time, until the color is solid rather than slightly transparent. Don't just add a ton to start with, since if you add too much, the reaction will happen faster and your resin will start setting in the cups. If too much is added, work quickly.
Step 8: Step 8: Pouring Resin Onto the Wood
This is all about how you imagined your piece. Pour your resin exactly how you imagined, but don't get too attached to the finished product before it sets since there will be changes. Just make sure to use the heat gun a lot.
Step 9: Step 9: Heat Gun
I know it has been mentioned already, but HEAT GUN! You do not want to end with bubbles in your piece, especially a lot of them.
Step 10: Step 10: Cover Your Piece
With a pre-made cover, whether it is a PVC and plastic one, or a cardboard box, just make sure it doesn't touch your piece. Rest the cover above it, and let it sit for at least 8 hours. To make sure it is set, do not touch the piece, instead, touch the resin that had dripped off the board.
Step 11: Step 11: the Reveal
Taking off the cover is a very fun part of it because this is the moment you get to finally inspect the details of your masterpiece. Now it is ready to hang up.
Step 12: Extra Tips
- I like to get "cells" in my pieces and to do so I perform swipes of one resin on top of the other before I use the heat gun. This allows for air bubbles to come up and create little voids in the surface resin to reveal what color is underneath.
- Another method for cells is to buy ResiBlast, which is a solution that helps disperse the resin giving larger cells.
- Dirty pours are one of the more interesting looks since you are pouring multiple colors into one cup then quickly flipping that cup onto the board. Once on the board, lift up to release the resin and watch the colors ooze apart.
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Tinkercad Student Design Contest
The creative people out there may have seen acrylic paint pouring take off this year and become extremely popular world wide. Along side this we have noticed that resin art has been on the rise as well. And we can see why!
If you have been thinking about getting into resin art but weren’t quite sure where to start, then this post is for you! We will break everything down for you and offer some top tips and tricks to make your art the best it can be.
What is resin?
Resin (or epoxy resin) is a 2 part system that consists of a resin and a hardener. Mixing these two components together creates a chemical reaction causing the liquid resin to become hard to form a solid plastic type material. When used alone you will be left with a highly glossy clear finish.
Resin is a highly versatile product that can be used for a variety of things such as drive ways, flooring, in the wood work industry, in the marine industry and more! More commonly on the art scene resin is used to create jewellery, coasters, wall art, table tops, bowls, sculptures and more!
How do you use resin?
Resin is a medium that you will love to work with if you enjoy experimenting. It is so versatile you will be wanting to try and use it on everything!
As previously mentioned, the basics of using resin is that you mix the 2 components together to create your medium. How you then choose to use it is up to you. You can use it to embellish previously made art, add it into crevices on tables to create the look of a river, create coasters that look like geodes or wait for it to start to cure and mould it into a bowl.
The possibilities are endless which is why resin art has become so popular!
What do you need to create resin flow art?
Whilst there are many ways in which you can use resin, today we will be focusing on how to create resin flow art. To create your own you will need the following:
- Liquid Pigments
- Powdered pigments
- Kitchen Roll
- Isopropyl alcohol (70%+)
- Mixing cups and stirring sticks
- Heat gun
- Stands or blocks to prop your art up with
- Nitrile gloves
- Respirator mask
- Thick plastic sheeting
- Spreading tool
- Box to cover work
- Board/tray etc.
- Masking/decorators tape
First and foremost you will need your resin. There are a wide variety of brands out there but one of the most popular is made by Art Resin. They boast a lot of good qualities such as:
- No yellowing
- Long work time
- Easy mixing ratio (1:1)
There are a wide variety of brands of liquid pigments out there. They are not all made from the same ingredients though so be sure you know what’s in them before opting for the cheapest one. This is very important if you are going to use an open flame to remove bubbles as the pigments may react with the fire.
For ease, we will be recommending Resin Tint by Art Resin. These are oil based pigments and so they will leave your eyebrows where they are supposed to be if you were to use a torch on your piece!
We recommend adding only a few drops at a time and mix your resin thoroughly before deciding if you want to add any more. It is important to note how much you are putting into your resin as anything over 6% can throw the resin and hardener ratio off. This can result in the resin not drying properly.
Mica powder is highly pigmented and used in a wide variety of things such as nail polish and makeup. It is also great for use in resin art and can create lovely textures, colour shifts or even sparkles to your work.
As previously mentioned with liquid pigments, it is important to note how much you are using. Powder can quickly and easily upset the resin ratio, so remember that usually less is more!
Once you have finished creating your work of art you should use kitchen roll to remove any excess resin left inside your measuring cups. It is also handy to have on stand by in case of any emergency spills!
Isopropyl alcohol (70%+)
After you have sufficiently wiped your measuring cups clean, you should then use isopropyl alcohol (minimum 70%) to remove the last remnants of the resin.
Mixing cups and stirring sticks
Depending on the amount of colours you plan to use will depend on how many mixing cups you will require. Some people prefer to use recyclable disposable cups where others prefer to use multi-use thick plastic cups that can be wiped down and used again.
You will also need stirring sticks. Again, the amount you will need will depend on the amount of colours to intend to use for your piece. We recommend using a flat stirrer (like a lolly pop stick or tongue depressor) as the larger surface area will make stirring quicker and more effective.
A heat gun is a great way of moving poured resin around a canvas or board, for example, to create different effects such as lacing.
A torch is a very important piece of kit to have if you want to have a smooth and clear piece with minimal to no bubbles. There are other ways to remove bubbles from your poured resin such as using a tooth pick and popping them manually. However, this is very time consuming and the end result will not be as clear as using a torch no matter how hard you try!
Others have used an alcohol spray to pop them with varying results. We would not recommend doing this as adding any other contaminants to your resin might upset the resin ratio and cause drying issues.
Stands or blocks to prop your art up with
It is important to raise your art up off from the table is you are going to be pouring onto something completely flat such as a board. This is because the resin will eventually drip off the edges and if your board is flat to your table, you will struggle to get it back off in one piece!
We recommend using stands or blocks or anything else of the same height and strength underneath to keep your work safely propped up.
Having a flat surface when creating resin art pours is so important! Resin is self-levelling and so any slight tip to one side will eventually result in all your resin being tipped off/pushed against the side of your tray etc.
Using a level is vital to creating the perfect piece.
Nitrile gloves are one of the best options when it comes to protecting your hands from resin. Not only do they fit snug on your hands, but they are very strong and offer great resistance to oils and other chemicals.
Resin releases fumes that over time have potential to be harmful to your health. If you plan on using resin often or creating very large pieces that require large quantities, you might want to invest in a respirator mask.
Using dust masks such as are used for decorating generally won’t be helpful for protecting you from fumes. So if you’re going to get one, you might want to invest in something more substantial – better to be safe than sorry!
However, using a mask isn’t completely necessary if you plan on only creating one small piece.
Thick plastic sheeting
One of the main things to make a note of is that resin art is messy! You will want to make sure to cover your work surface with a thick plastic sheet to catch any drips or spillages. That way once the resin has dried on the surface, you can simply peel it off!
Different people use different spreading tools depending on the amount of resin they need to move around and what effect they are trying to create.
Where possible, we recommend using things such as re-usable plastic spatulas. Once you have moved the resin to where you want it to be, you can simply wipe the plastic down with a piece of kitchen roll and then spray or wipe down the plastic with isopropyl alcohol. Then, it’s ready to use again next time!
Box to cover work
Once you have finished with your work, you need to leave it to fully cure. Different brands will recommend different lengths of time, but usually most will be dry within 72 hours. During this time you will want to cover your work to prevent any dust particles, stray hairs or anything of that nature from landing in your latest piece of art.
Anything big enough to completely cover it will do – you can even fashion something yourself out of some plastic sheeting and wooden batons!
Or whatever you wish to create your art work on! Just try to consider what colours you will be using as this may impact what you will need to do with the thing you are pouring on to.
For instance, if the resin colours you are going to be using are more transparent than opaque then you will want to make sure your substrate is in good condition as you will likely be able to see it through the resin. If this is the case you may wish to prep the surface with a sufficient paint first, for example.
Not a necessity, but some people like to use masking/decorators tape to keep certain areas of their board or canvas free from resin, such as the sides for example.
This depends on your taste and the overall look you are wanting to achieve.
How to create your first resin painting
First you will want to plan out your design or overall look and feel of your piece. There are a wide variety of pour techniques such as a puddle pour, a dirty pour, a flip cup pour and more! Once you have decided and you have the colours you wish to us in mind, you are ready to start.
- The room should be clean, dust free and well ventilated.
- Be sure you are wearing something you don’t mind getting messy as accidents can happen!
- Next, you will need to prepare your work space by laying down your heavy plastic sheeting onto your table.
- Once your work space is prepped you will want to prepare your substrate. If you plan on pouring onto a canvas, for example, but want to keep the sides free from resin, you should place your masking/decorators tape on it now.
- Once the substrate is prepared, you can place it on top of your stands.
- Use your level to make sure that the substrate is nice and level. If necessary, prop something under the stand/s to correct it.
- Next, put on your gloves.
- Measure out the required amounts of resin as per their instructions and mix together.
- You will likely need to mix the resin thoroughly for around 3 minutes, but be sure to read the manufacturers instructions carefully and do it for as long as they say.
Now you have your resin prepped and your work space ready, it’s time to get creative!
- Decant the now mixed resin into your smaller mixing cups, one for each colour you plan to use.
- Colour your resins with a few drops of liquid pigment or use a lollypop stick to gather some powder pigment and thoroughly mix it into your resin.
- Add more pigment if necessary, but be cautious of the amount you end up using as it can upset the resin ratio, causing issues with drying.
- If you would like to see cells in your art, then now is a good time to add a few drops of silicone to create them. Thoroughly mix the resin once added.
Now everything is mixed you are ready to go!
You are now ready to pour and create your art. Remember that you can help move the resin along by tipping the canvas slightly, or by using an instrument such as a plastic spatula or wooden stick.
If you have any bubbles appear once you have poured, you can use your torch to remove them. To do this you should very quickly and very lightly run the lit torch over the bubbles. Never keep the torch still.
Different resins have different curing times so be sure to keep an eye on the time. Try to create your piece as quickly as possible as you will find that if you are still moving it once the curing has set in, it will become stringy and look similar to chewing gum.
Once you are happy you should take a close look to see if there are any hairs, dust particles etc in the resin. If there is these will need to be removed with something like a toothpick or a set of tweezers.
Now you should cover your art with a cardboard box (or something similar) and leave it to cure. Resin will be hard after 24 hours but can still be damaged easily if improperly handled. Usually it takes 3 full days for resin to completely cure.
How to clean up
Any residue left inside your measuring and mixing cups can be easily removed. The best way is to tip them upside down onto your thick plastic sheeting that covers your table and let the residue slowly run out of the cups. Leave them for 5 or so hours and you can then simply pull the cup up and remove the firm resin from the table.
Any tools that you used that came into contact with the resin should be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol. Simply spray it onto the surface and wipe with a sheet of kitchen roll.
If you got any resin on your skin we recommend using vinegar and then soapy water to remove it. You can also use isopropyl alcohol but we don’t really recommend it as it can quickly dry out your skin.
You can also purchase specially made soaps from DIY stores that will be able to remove it too.
We hope you found this post helpful. If you have any other tips, tricks or advice, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. We love hearing from you!
Want to keep up with all things Owatrol? Why not follow us on social media? You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest at @owatroluk or at the hashtag #owatroluk
About Owatrol Team
Our team are ready and willing to support you with your requirements whether it is protecting your newly laid deck or renovating a luxury yacht, whatever the application Owatrol has the solution you are looking for.
Art diy resin
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