Getting started with epoxy art can be overwhelming. What resin supplies do you need? What techniques do you need to use? What if I make a mistake?
Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be complicated! Let me break down for you 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.
Plus, the skills you learn making resin art will help do other resin projects like resin jewelry, river tables, and so much more.
What kind of Resin should you use?
For resin painting projects, you want to use a two-part, epoxy resin designed for painting artwork. These resins are also meant to coat surfaces, plus self-level, to give a smooth finish. Not only that, but they mix clear and have a long working time.
What you don’t want to use are casting resins. These resins are meant to fill molds or other voids (like river tables) and won’t work for creating epoxy art. You also don’t want to use UV resin. UV resin won’t work for epoxy art projects.
Resin Supplies you need for epoxy art
Best Epoxy for resin art
Get artwork resin with a fantastic performance at a price that’s friendly to your wallet
• Mixes 1:1 by volume, making it easy to get your resin and hardener accurately measured
• Self-leveling formula. You don’t need to do any extra work to get a beautiful finish!
• Up to 45 minutes of working time
• Contains UV protectants to guard against yellowing
• Safe, toxicologist-reviewed resin formula
What else do you need to get started?
Because working with resin can get messy, you need to protect your area from spills and drips. Not sure what makes a good resin artwork area covering? Here are some ideas on what surfaces resin won’t stick to.
Resin painting substrate
Many surfaces can make great epoxy art. Not sure what to use? You can use
This article details the pros and cons of using each: resin painting surface ideas.
You need to be sure your surface is level so that your resin doesn’t run to one side or the other.
Different shades of resin colors.
You will want a variety of colors to make your resin art.
You might be wondering which are the best resin colors for epoxy art. Epoxy resin colors will get you the best results. Why?
*They are designed to color resin.
*They won’t fade or change colors.
*You can count on consistent results.
Here are the colors I like to use:
Opaque resin colors
Transparent resin colors
Metallic resin colors
Want to try something other than the traditional resin colors? Here are some of my other tips on how to color epoxy resin.
Cups are essential to make sure you accurately measure the resin and hardener.
Resin kits contain chemicals that can irritate your skin. Protecting your hands is a must.
While not all resins require respirator use, it never hurts to be safe. I explain more about the one I like to use in this resin safety article.
Dispersion agents like alcohol, acetone, or silicone oil
Note: while it’s common for these chemicals to be used when making epoxy art, they weren’t necessarily designed for that purpose. Use caution when using these items, especially around an open flame.
I like to use a heat gun not only to remove bubbles but also to push resin around to create some unique effects.
What should you know about resin safety?
Because you are working with chemicals, you need to take precautions to keep yourself and others safe. At a minimum, you need to wear safety gloves and work in a well-ventilated area. I even go so far as to wear a respirator to protect myself against any potential irritants.
You also need to use a resin that conforms to ASTM D-4236. This is a resin formula that has undergone independent review and determined safe for art purposes when used as directed. The good news is that all of the resins sold in the Resin Obsession store have this designation.
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 to have plenty of room for your resin painting surface, plus extra space to allow the resin to drip off the side. You also need to be sure your resin painting can stay undisturbed for a few days while the resin dries.
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.
Because resin safety is critical, you need to make sure you are working with resin in a room that’s well ventilated. I’m fortunate enough that I can work with resin outside certain times of the year!
Step 2: Choose a surface for your resin art.
Many surfaces can be used to create epoxy art such as canvases, artboards, tiles, records, and more. When I’m making a practice piece, I like to use white, 12-inch square ceramic floor tiles. I can usually buy them for a dollar at a home improvement store.
Step 3: Gather your artwork resin, colors, mixing utensils, and safety supplies.
Artwork resin mixes so that it will stay on the surface of the painting. This resin is also great to redecorate countertops and give a glossy finish to trays and other flat surfaces.
Step 4: Calculate how much resin you need to cover your artwork surface.
Don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you. The Resin Obsession resin volume calculator lets you input your dimensions, then will tell you how much resin you need to mix.
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 the surface. While you can sand these off later, I’ve found that adding a layer of painters’ tape that can be removed later makes this step so much easier. I show the steps on how to do that here: How to make resin art.
Step 6: Place cups or shims underneath your resin painting surface.
Your resin painting surface needs to be elevated off your painting table 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.
Step 7: Use a level to make sure it is evenly balanced.
If your surface isn’t level, your resin will move and shift more quickly to the low side. This will give your surface an uneven finish, not to mention your colors could move and blend more rapidly than you were anticipating.
Step 8: Mix the resin and hardener according to manufacturer directions.
Every resin is different! You will need to know how much of each part (resin plus hardener) to mix together by either weight or volume. If you have never mixed resin before, you will 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. Have fun with this step! Colors designed for resin will give you the best results, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Here are some more tips on how to color epoxy resin.
By the way, don’t forget the other resin safety steps you need to take. That means wearing appropriate safety gear, including gloves and a respirator. If you are an extra messy type like me, you may want to wear a plastic apron that can take the resin drips instead of them ending up on your clothes.
Step 9: Apply the resin to your epoxy art surface.
Here’s where your artistic vision comes to play! If you are using clear resin, it’s as simple as applying it to your surface.
If you are using colored resin, you will need to be mindful of certain things, such as how the colors will look with each other and blend to make new colors. I always keep a color wheel nearby so I can anticipate how to mix colors to make new ones!
There are many ways to pour the colored resin onto your surface. I won’t go into all of them here, but the easiest way to get started is by pouring the colors onto your surface, then watching them blend. You can use your stirring utensil to push the colors around. You can even pick up your resin painting surface and shift it from side to side to help get the colors to roll over the surface.
And when you get a look you like, by all means, LEAVE IT ALONE! I have ruined epoxy art paintings because I didn’t know when to stop.
Step 10: Apply some heat.
For this step, I like to use a heat gun. Not only does it get out bubbles, but it also helps to push around the resin to create some exciting designs.
Step 11: Cover your epoxy art.
You want to keep dust, hair, and other things out of your resin while it cures.
Most artwork resins will be ninety percent cured by 24 hours, but allow seven days for a full cure.
Step 12: Frame and hang your art
Display it out of direct sunlight and away from heating and cooling vents. Your art is now ready to be enjoyed for a lifetime!
What do you do with your epoxy art tools?
Believe it or not, you can reuse them another time! Hard surface resin mixing cups and stirring utensils can be wiped clean. Silicone tools can be set aside to let the resin dry. Once hardened, you can peel away the cured resin.
This article explains more about how I like to clean tools from epoxy resin.
How do you get special effects like cells in your epoxy art?
Cells are made when a layer of colored resin in disrupted in such a way 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.
Want to learn more? 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 layer of resin, then sprinkle gold leaf over the surface. It’s an easy way to get someone to say, wow!
How do you fix air bubbles in resin?
You should know right away that one of the challenges of using resin for artwork is that it’s more likely to hold onto bubbles. The same properties that make it great to apply to an artwork surface also make it harder for bubbles to release.
So what do you do?
My best advice is to 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 in any way but thins out the components, so they are easier to mix together. This makes it much less likely that you will introduce bubbles while mixing.
Once you have your resin on the surface, you will want to use a heat gun to remove bubbles. Hold your heat gun about 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.
I’ve also got another article detailing my ten best tips for taking care of bubbles in resin.
What if I want to apply another layer of resin?
Applying multiple layers of resin is an excellent way to create depth in your epoxy art. You have two options for doing this:
You can wait until your resin has gel-cured.
This means the resin isn’t liquid, and it isn’t solid; it’s thick like gelatin. This amount of time varies between resin kits but is generally between four and eight hours.
You can wait until the resin is cured before applying the next layer.
This usually takes eighteen to twenty-four hours. 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?
Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned when painting with resin. Here are the most common problems you will run into:
This comes from incompletely mixing your resin. You need to combine both parts while scraping the sides of your cup and stirring intensely, for three to five minutes before coloring and pouring. This article explains things you can do to fix sticky resin.
Fish eyes, voids, and other holes in resin can sometimes happen when creating epoxy art. There are several reasons why this can occur, from not using enough resin to using too much of an additive to make cells. Learn more about why holes and fish eyes happen in resin.
The good news is that in both scenarios, you can recoat with another layer of resin to level out the surface.
Ready to get started making epoxy art?
If you are looking for resin art supplies, we want to help you! Resin Obsession has a full line of epoxy art supplies to get you making your own beautiful art.
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