Spend any time scrolling social, and you see big, beautiful resin paintings. Now you’ve got the urge to make them, but getting started with epoxy art can be confusing.
* What resin supplies do I need?
* Which techniques should I to use?
* What if I make a mistake?
And how can I paint with resin without wasting my _______?
Insert any of these…
Tell that voice in your head to pipe down.
And put a sock in it.
And put away all those doubts.
Here’s what you need to know to make beautiful epoxy art.
Why make epoxy art?
That question should be, why not make epoxy art? Every painting you make is a chance to be creative with resin. Plus, no two paintings are ever the same. You will never run out of things to try or techniques to learn.
By the way, the skills you learn in making resin art will help you make other resin crafts like conversation heart jewelry or alcohol ink crafts.
What kind of resin should you use?
For resin painting, you MUST use a two-part doming epoxy resin for art. This resin coats surfaces to give a smooth, shiny finish.
What you don’t want to use are casting resins or UV resin. They will coat unevenly and leave dimples on your epoxy art surface.
Resin Supplies you need for epoxy art
Best Epoxy for resin art
RESIN OBSESSION ARTWORK RESIN
Get artwork resin with a fantastic performance at a price that’s friendly to your wallet
• Easy to measure
• Gorgeous, glossy finish, whether it’s clear or colored
• Short working time so you can mix and pour your colors right away without them turning muddy
• Contains UV protectants to guard against yellowing
• Free of harmful VOCs
• Conforms to ASTM D-4236
⚠️ IMPORTANT: The ASTM certification is a big deal because many resins don’t have this labeling. That means they’re unsafe. If you don’t buy resin from Resin Obsession, please don’t buy one that doesn’t have this labeling. Ever.
What else do you need to make epoxy art?
Because painting with resin gets messy, you need to protect your table from spills and drips. You can use a shower curtain, painting tarp, or sheet plastic. It’s helpful to use something resin won’t stick to so you can peel off the resin once it’s cured.
Resin painting substrate
Don’t feel pressured to spend much money on your surfaces, especially when you’re an epoxy art beginner. You can use:
⭐️ BONUS: Here are more: resin painting surface ideas.
You need to be sure your surface is level so that your resin doesn’t run to one side. Then, completely off the surface. (Been there.)
Different shades of resin colors.
Unless you’re pouring clear epoxy resin onto a blank canvas, you’ll want colors to make your resin art. But you might be wondering which are the best resin colors for epoxy art.
Colors formulated for resin will get you the best results.
They won’t fade, change colors, or affect curing.
Here are colors to get you started resin painting:
⭐️ BONUS: Here are some of my best tips on how to color epoxy resin.
Cups with measuring lines are essential to accurately measuring resin and hardener.
Protecting your hands is important. Resin kits contain chemicals that can irritate your skin.
💡 Pro tip: For the extra messy crowd, you may want to wear a plastic apron. It can take the resin drips instead of ruining your favorite shorts.
While the Resin Obsession epoxy art resin doesn’t require a respirator, you won’t go wrong by wearing one. It’s an extra level of safety that ensures you can enjoy resin painting for a long time.
⭐️ BONUS: Learn more about respirators, including the one I use, in this resin safety article.
Dispersion agents like alcohol, acetone, or silicone oil
Liquids like this are what help you to get cells in resin. (More on that in a minute.)
⚠️ IMPORTANT: While it’s common to use these chemicals when making epoxy art, they weren’t designed for that purpose. Use caution, especially around an open flame.
You can use a heat gun to go over the surface to remove bubbles. Plus, you can push the resin around to create some unique effects.
⭐️ BONUS: How to use a heat gun with resin.
So now that you have your epoxy art supplies, what are the steps to make resin art?
Step 1: Prepare your resin painting area.
You need plenty of room for your resin painting surface, plus extra space to allow the resin to drip off the side. Be sure your resin painting can stay undisturbed for a few days while the resin dries.
And if that means you have to go out to dinner for a few nights, then so be it. It’s all in the name of art.
Don’t forget that sometimes resin can end up on the floor while you are doing this. You may want to have a tarp to cover that area too. (Sometimes the resin misses your favorite shorts and gets on the floor instead.)
You need to work with resin in a well-ventilated room. If your outside temperature is warm enough, you can make epoxy art there.
⭐️ BONUS: Here’s the ideal temperature for resin.
Step 2: Choose a surface for your resin art.
Choose a surface from the list above to be the base for your resin painting.
💡 Pro tip: I use white, 12-inch square ceramic floor tiles when making practice pieces. I can buy them for a dollar at a home improvement store.
Step 3: Gather your supplies.
Have everything close by so you don’t waste time looking for your resin supplies.
Step 4: Calculate how much resin you need to cover your artwork surface.
Wait a minute. I have to do math?
No. You don’t need to do any math. (What kind of weirdo do you think I am? 😂)
We’ve done the hard work for you. Measure your painting surface’s length and width. Then, go to the Resin Obsession resin volume calculator. You input your dimensions, and it tells you how much resin you need to mix.
Easy math for the win.
Step 5: Prepare the back of your resin painting artwork surface.
When the resin drips off the side of your painting, it will collect underneath along the edge. You can sand these drips off later. Or, you can add painter’s tape to the back, then remove it 18 to 24 hours after pouring. The drips will peel off with the tape.
Unless you like resin sanding. Which I don’t. Ever.
Step 6: Place cups or shims underneath your resin painting surface.
You need to lift your resin painting surface to allow the resin to drip off the side. If you don’t raise the surface, the drips will cure as puddles around the edges of your epoxy art. And you’ll have to do MORE sanding.
Step 7: Use a level to make sure it is evenly balanced.
Your resin will quickly shift to the low side if your surface isn’t level. Plus, your colors will move and blend quicker than you were expecting. And you might see the painting surface through the resin.
Step 8: Mix the resin and hardener.
Follow the instructions. The Resin Obsession artwork resin, mixes one part A to one part B by volume.
⭐️ BONUS: If you’ve never mixed resin before, you’ll want to read this: how to mix resin and together in five easy steps.
If you want to color the resin, now is the time to do it. Split your resin among several cups. Add your colors, then mix well.
💡 Pro tip: Because your colors will blend, ensure they create a third color you’ll like. I keep a color wheel nearby to anticipate how colors mix.
Step 9: Apply the resin to your epoxy art surface.
The easiest way to start is by pouring the colors in ribbons onto your surface. Then, watch them blend. Next, use your stirring utensil to push the colors around. You can also pick up your resin painting surface and shift it from side to side to get the colors to spread over the surface.
💡 Pro tip: When you get a look you like, LEAVE IT ALONE. I have ruined epoxy art paintings because I didn’t stop when I should have.
Step 10: Apply some heat.
Go over the surface with a heat gun. It gets out bubbles and pushes the resin colors to create some exciting designs.
Step 11: Cover your epoxy art.
The cover keeps dust, hair, and other things out of your resin while it cures.
Your resin will be ninety percent dry by 24 hours but allow seven days for a complete cure.
Step 12: Frame and hang your art.
Display it out of direct sunlight and away from heating and cooling vents. Your epoxy art is ready for you to enjoy for a lifetime.
What do you do with your epoxy art tools?
You can reuse them another time. You can wipe hard surfaces clean with a paper towel. Set aside silicone tools and let the resin dry. Once hardened, you can peel away the cured resin.
⭐️ BONUS: Here’s how to clean tools from epoxy resin.
How do you get special effects like cells in your epoxy art?
You make cells when a layer of colored resin is disrupted so that it causes holes or cells. There are several ways to do this.
Thin one of the colors.
By thinning a resin color with a solvent such as acetone or alcohol, it makes it easier to ‘float’ over another color.
Use a repellant.
Resin doesn’t like anything oily, so you can use this to your advantage. A little bit can ‘repel’ the resin, allowing cells to form. Be careful, though. Too much of this can cause holes and voids in epoxy resin.
⭐️ BONUS: Here are more details on how to get cells in epoxy resin.
What about getting a metallic effect in your resin paintings?
Not only are there metallic pigments for resin, but metallic leaf is an easy way to get a glamorous finish. You can add a clear resin layer, then sprinkle gold leaf over the surface. It’s an easy way to get someone to say, wow.
I mean, WOW!
What about bubbles?
Warm your resin and hardener kit in a hot water bath for five to ten minutes before use. This doesn’t change your epoxy art but thins out the components, making them easier to mix together. This makes it much less likely that you will introduce bubbles while mixing.
Once resin is on the surface, use a heat gun to remove bubbles. Hold it two to four inches away from your resin painting surface while moving the hot air over the surface. You should see bubbles of all sizes pop.
Can I use a propane torch?
Yes, you can use that. BUT…
Fire is dangerous by itself and even more dangerous if you use acetone or alcohol in your epoxy art. Be safe. Be smart. And have a fire extinguisher close by.
What if I want to apply another layer of resin?
Applying multiple resin layers is an excellent way to create depth in your epoxy art. You have two options::
Wait until your resin gel-cures.
This means the resin isn’t liquid, and it isn’t solid; it’s thick like gelatin. This time varies between resin kits but is generally between four and eight hours.
⭐️ BONUS: Learn more about resin gel time.
Wait until the resin fully cures before applying the next layer.
This usually takes eighteen to twenty-four hours. After that, you can pour a new coat of resin without doing anything to the previously poured layer, provided the surface is clean.
So what if something goes wrong while making your epoxy art?
Yep. That could happen. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned when painting with resin. Here are the two most common problems you’ll run into:
This comes from incompletely mixing your resin. Make sure you scrape the sides of your cup while mixing the two parts together.
⭐️ BONUS: Here’s how you fix sticky resin.
Fish eyes, voids, dimples, and other holes can sometimes happen when creating epoxy art. It happens enough that this topic deserves an article all to itself.
⭐️ BONUS: Learn how to fix holes and fish eyes in resin.
In both cases, the good news is that you can recoat with another resin layer to save your resin painting.
Ready to make epoxy art?
Perfect! Get a [FREE] downloadable epoxy pouring supply shopping list.
Still hesitant to get started with epoxy art?
Maybe you’re worried you’ll waste your time making something you wouldn’t show anyone?
I’ve been there too. And I hate hearing this from creatives because not making art is worse than making bad art. (Here’s proof that even bad art can make it into a museum.)
For less than the price of a resin kit, you can get the downloadable ebook, Resin Fundamentals. It’s the book I wrote with the resin beginner in mind. You’ll learn the important details of creating with resin in under two hours. Buy it now and have it to read in minutes.
Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2023 Resin Obsession, LLC
25 thoughts on “The Simple Guide to Making Epoxy Art The RIGHT Way”
Thank you so much for your detailed instructions and helpful information, I will follow your advice and let you know the result.
Good luck Sam!
Thanks so much for all this info. Its beyond helpful. My question would be , what are the ideal temps to work in? I live in Arizona and its way to hot outside and I tend to keep the house cool at like 73° , we have solar and that helps. But I think its too cool inside and too hot outside. As ny advice? Besides dreaming of projects for later. Like October . Lol
Best advice “stop when you like the effect”….still learning that 😂. This tutorial (like all of your tutorials) is so thorough and I can’t wait to try doing some painting with resin.
Thanks, Jeannine. (Isn’t it funny how we artists can be so stubborn sometimes!! LOL)
Thank you for that it was very informative and you explained it better than others I have seen cheers
You’re welcome, Paula. Good luck with your next resin pour!
Thank you Katherine for your clear instructions. I have been really nervous to start using resin for my art products.
Thank you Joanne. I can’t wait to see what you create!
I would like to do some string painting with resin. Plan to try within the next couple of days. Every video I’ve seen always has acrylic paint for the string art. Don’t see why resin won’t work. Do you have any suggestions?
Hi Diane, I’m not familiar with string art with acrylic paints. Can you tell me more?
The order form won’t let me check out.
Hi Jody, I can see where you got your order placed. Was there something else going on we can help you with?
I have a similar challenge to Pauli. I live in TX and it is hot and humid outside nd cool inside. Can we use food dehydrators to cure resin? How about a toaster oven? If so, how long and at what temp? Thanks
Hi Dawan, this article might give you some ideas: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-frequently-asked-questions/resin-mixing-temperature/
By the way, I’m located in Florida and made this painting outside in the 95-degree heat and humidity. It is doable! 😉
I have been looking for some sort of a printed nstructional book onresin art. I could find a couple, on Amazon, however, couldn’t find anything from Resin Obsessions. This email is very helpful, however, my printer is no longer working, and due to the virus and so many people working at home, there are no printers available suitable to my needs. Henceforth, I’m unable to print this out. If you know of any resin instructional literature/books I’d appreciate your input.
Hi Rosemary, I’m sorry to hear you are having problems printing this out. Do you have access to a public library? They should be able to help you print this article.
I want to make that beach piece you show at the top. What paints did you use for that?
Hi Patricia, you will need to use the Resin Obsession pigments in transparent blue and opaque white: https://shop.resinobsession.com/collections/liquid-colorants/resin-obsession
To do a dirty pour , how far along in the working time do you wait ? Or for a piece really , pitri dish , flip cup.
Have seen most of the resin was thick and pretty far a long in the working time . Thank you
Hi Curtis, it’s hard to say. Once you feel comfortable that you know when your resin isn’t workable anymore, pouring five minutes or so before that is where I would start.
I’m interested in making backgammon checkers using this technique. During the course of a game, the sides of the checkers hit each other, as well has being hit by rolling dice and being pushed hard against the cork-lined railings. At the end of the game, when checkers are being removed from the playing area, they’re sometime shoved hard into the built-in channels on the board.
Will all this contact damage the discs? Each one would be 1.75″ x .37″.
Curious to know how much abuse they can take.
Hi Larry, I think it depends on the resin you use. If you cast with a hard-curing resin, I would expect the pieces to take use well. We have hard-curing resins in our store here: https://shop.resinobsession.com/collections/resin/casting
What can you put down that the resin won’t stick to? Then can you lay a rock with resin on it and it won’t stick to it?
Hi Jude, this article details surfaces resin won’t stick to: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-resin-resin/surfaces-resin-wont-stick-to/