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 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.
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 the surface of your epoxy art.
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
• 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.
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 so you can use the kitchen table, 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.
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.
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.
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 the dreaded fish eyes.
⭐️ 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 the PDF book now and have it to read in minutes.
Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2023 Resin Obsession, LLC