Surfaces for resin artwork – resin painting surfaces

surfaces you can use for resin paintingby Becky Wanamaker

Did you know that you can use a wide variety of surfaces for resin artwork? If you look around your home, you probably have many available that you never considered before. In this article, I will discuss several substrates that you can use when painting with resin.

If you are new to resin painting, you might want to get started with this article on how to make resin art.

Canvas

Canvas is a great surface to paint with resin. They come in a wide range of sizes and are pre-primed and ready to use. I like to do test pours on small canvases ranging in size from 6 inches to 12 inches square, when I am working out color schemes or experimenting with techniques or additives. I usually do them on small canvases because they are inexpensive. Once I have tested different color combinations along with the technique, I will do a “true pour” on a larger substrate such as cradled birch or others listed in this article. If you choose to use a very large canvas for your pour, make sure you have added evenly spaced support underneath. Failure to evenly support your canvas will result in pooling because the canvas surface will not stay level.

supporting a canvas for resin painting

Prior to painting with resin, use a spray bottle to mist water over your canvas. Allow it to dry completely. This will help to tighten the canvas. To prevent sagging in the center, add some extra support under the canvas prior to starting your painting. I have found that anything that is 24”x24” requires extra support. On that size canvas, I place paint stir sticks between the canvas and the wood frame. You can get the stir sticks free or inexpensively at your local hardware store. Once the painting has cured, simply remove them.

Cradled Birch & Wooden Artist Panel

wooden art board

Cradled birch and wooden art panels are more expensive than canvas but still affordable. These wood surfaces are my preferred surface for resin painting because sagging isn’t an issue and they are very sturdy. The reason cradled birch and wooden art panels work so well are because the wood substrate is framed with more wood. This is what prevents the wood from warping. If you were do a resin painting on a sheet of plywood or a wood panel from the hardware store, your painting will warp because it isn’t secured with the frame.

Priming cradled birch and wooden artist panels is really a matter of personal preference. When I first started pouring on cradled birch and wooden artist panels, I did a pour on one primed board and one that wasn’t primed. I discovered that the only real difference between the two boards was the primed one made the colors pop better because they were poured on a white surface. If you are incorporating translucent colors into your pours, it is wise to prime your board before pouring. Otherwise, if you are painting with opaque colors in your resin, there is no need to prime the surface.

When pouring on cradled birch and wooden artist panels you need to consider how you want the sides to look when the painting is complete. There are two main choices on how to treat the sides of your substrate.

Allow the resin to flow off the sides

By allowing your pour to flow over the edges of the panel, your painting will continue on to the sides. This look can be quite stunning. Prior to pouring put a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the underside of your substrate starting and the edge and going inward about an inch. This will help to keep the resin from curing on the underside of your substrate. After your pour is complete, take a popsicle stick and drag along the underside to help remove resin that has dripped beneath the substrate. You will need to do this several times as your painting cures since the resin will continue to self-level as it cures. After the painting has completely cured, use a cloth or paper towel to wipe off the petroleum jelly and resin drips that remain.

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Tape off the sides

Taping off the sides of your substrate will help to keep your sides clear of resin. I prefer to use flashing tape because it adheres to the substrate so well. You can purchase flashing tape at your local hardware store or online at Amazon. It is a stiffer tape that is made from aluminum and looks like regular aluminum foil. I recommend purchasing the two-inch roll so that you have enough width to work with. You will need to apply the tape to your substrate so that it sits at least half an inch higher than the surface of your substrate. Use a plastic credit card to smooth the tape over the edges of your substrate. Make sure that there are no wrinkles or bubbles and that the tape has firmly adhered to your substrate. The tape will keep the resin contained on the surface of the substrate. After the resin has cured, peel the tape off. You will most likely need to sand the edges with extra fine-grit sandpaper to remove any sharp or uneven spots. You can either leave the sides of your substrate unfinished or paint in your choice of color.

MDF Board

MDF board

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is an engineered wood product and is generally denser than plywood. These make great surfaces for resin artwork because they come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. They are relatively inexpensive and can be found at your local craft store as well as online. They require no priming. Like with the cradled birch and wooden artboards, you can prime the surface if you wish for your colors to really pop. Again, it’s a matter of personal preference.

Vinyl Records

resin painting on a vinyl record

Vinyl records make great substrates for small resin paintings. If you don’t have any packed up somewhere, head over to your local Goodwill store. They often will have entire albums or box sets for sale for about $1 each. You can also find inexpensive used vinyl records on eBay. Tape the hole in the center to prevent resin from dripping through to the other side. I prefer to prime vinyl records before I start painting so that I am working on a white surface. Otherwise, some colors won’t show up as well against the black background.

Always put a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the outer edge of the same side as the tape. This will help keep the resin from sticking to the backside of your painting. When the painting has cured, wipe the petroleum jelly off the back with a paper towel or dry cloth. If you have any resin drips, simply trim with a pair of scissors or Exacto knife. (watch out for your fingers!)

If you use a heat gun or torch to manipulate the resin and remove air bubbles, do so carefully. Keep the heat at least 4 inches from the surface of your record and make to avoid focusing the heat in one place for more than a few seconds. Too much heat will warp your record.

Tile

Pink yellow blue resin on a tile

Tile is another of my favorite surfaces for resin artwork. You can use glazed or unglazed tiles, both will work well. Regular white square bathroom tiles can be found at your local hardware store for about half a dollar each. Resined tiles make great coasters or trivets. They require no priming and make for quick projects as well as great.

If you are ready to get started with making your own resin art, Resin Obsession can help you get started with artwork resin and colors for resin.

What other surfaces for resin artwork have you used?

Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2020 Resin Obsession, LLC

91 thoughts on “Surfaces for resin artwork – resin painting surfaces

      1. You can use glass and plexiglass as a substrate. I suggest tempered glass as a precaution though. Keep in mind that those substrates can be heavy once you add a layer or two of resin to them.

        1. I’ve used resin on glass on several projects. Initially it adheres well with the glass but after about 6 months it starts to peel away from the glass.

          1. That’s what I feared because glass is smooth that it may peel off (over time) like how cured resin just peels off the plastic cups. I prefer not to use something smooth as a base because of that issue. But I only recently started on my resin adventure so there’s still plenty of experimenting!

          2. how about a light sanding of the glass? just enough to break the surface of the glass. it seems it would give a little “tooth” to the surface and prevent peeling.

          3. What about textured glass. Like the bottom of a round microwave turntable? It is tempered glass. Will the resin adhere and stay adhered to that?

          4. Could you possibly spray paint the glass with a matte paint before putting the epoxy on it? That may give the resin something to adhere to as opposed to the smooth surface?

      2. I have certainly used Plexiglass as a substrate many times in my acrylic pouring paintings. In fact that is my preferred substrate for them. I haven’t yet used Resin on them, though I am keen to try that on them, just haven’t plucked up the courage yet.

  1. Great tip about using petroleum jelly on the backside; this may solve a problem I’ve been having with my resin work. Thank you!

  2. Je recherche la résine en 4 litre 1.2 et le gallon durcisseur ce que madame utilisé comme produit pour sa tablette en mélanine je suis pas capable de le
    Commander direct en 4 litres svp
    J ai besoin d aide à savoir qu elle compagnie est capable
    De
    Mem’ivrer ce
    Produit et say elle prix je vien du Québec merci Josee Lebel

  3. I have 2 questions about using records…. If I were to create a resin art piece, what would I need to do about the hole in the center? Taping it up on face value doesn’t seem that it would hold up well long term.

    What can I do to be able to mount it like a picture on the wall? Do I need to create something on the back of it for it to hang without fear of it falling due to the possible weight?

    I am ABSOLUTELY a beginner. So much a beginner that I am in the research phase. I haven’t started painting or using resin just yet. But I am very eager to begin. Hopefully, I’ll be able to sell some of my pieces in the future. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond. Any links to sources I can learn from would be helpful.

    1. I would tape the hole on the backside to keep the resin from running through. You can remove the tape after casting.

      1. If I wanted a piece that didn’t showcase the hole, what would you suggest? I’d like a flat surface. Maybe adhering a piece of thin balsa wood or something a bit more sturdy on the back side?

        1. Are you not wanting people to notice a divot for the hole? If so, I would use a little bit of a quick cure epoxy to fill the hole. Once that is cured, apply resin with your desired colors.

  4. I also am a complete beginner and am interested in making jewelry and other items. I don’t know if resin is used for mixed media wall hangings but would appreciate any advice as to where I should start. I believe getting books would help with more information so that will be my starting point. Also any websites, shops, blogs, etc that you may recommend would be helpful. Thank you so much. I could not publish without filling in website space. My website is pending.

  5. Hi I’m wondering what Resin to use to cover pre-painted (Acrylic) coasters or Lazy Susan’s that will with stand normal heat from dinner plates or coffee cups. Thanks in advance and love your very informative site. Also what do you use on Records to hang them up if hole is covered in Resin. Cheers
    Jax

    1. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of a resin that will withstand the heat of a hot plate. 🙁 To hang a record that has been painted with resin, I would suggest attaching a picture hanger to the back.

  6. I’m new to Resin, but learning. I’m also a Potter (20 years exp.), and it’s good to hear that Resin will adhere to both glazed and un-glazed Pots. When first seeing Resin Painting, I immediately thought of using it on my large Urns, but haven’t tried it yet. I will now, on smaller pieces. Yay!

    1. I would love to see pieces you have created using urns or pottery. I am thinking fo using antique jewelry and pottery as base pieces in art research phase thank you to Katherine for this awesome site Cathleen

  7. Hi have you any idea why my resin is not sticking to the sides?
    I did prime with white paint?
    Love your idea about the Vaseline!
    Thanks trish

  8. Can I use it on cedar or cypress wood I have some very unique pieces that I want to make a desk and table out of

  9. Hi. Great article. Re MDF Board, what thickness is the norm for acrylic painting, resin painting etc. there are a few thicknesses. Thanks.

  10. Hi, I am a collage artist and have several pieces that I have added a layer of cutout matt laminate on top of glued papers. I am wanting to resin all over so was wondering if the resin will be ok ontop of the matt laminate.

        1. I have quite a few “laminated” boards from an old shelf that I use under smaller projects ts such as trays, and whatnot. I can assure you, the resin does NOT come off easily. In fact I have yet to be able to get any of the cured resin off. Now, I have purposely poured resin on the same laminated wood(particle board) and used them for other shelves and they look amazing. No worry of peeling(even when using silicone in the colors to create cells) p.s you don’t have to use silicone oil, you can get away with silicone lubricant spray, just a squirt or 2 per color works great. I have used many different brands of resin as well and it works in all of them.

  11. I’m new to working with Resin. I am wondering if I can use tiles made from clay and covered in a resin design as tile for my back splash and other tile projects typically made with commercial tiles? Or cement covered with resin tiles? I hope you say yes!

    1. Hi Amy, yes, you can do this, but I can’t comment as to how well they will hold up to ‘kitchen wear’ like grease, cleaning products, etc.

      1. Do you have any problems with warping? I have had my 1/4 inch warp and it is rather disheartening. I find the 1/2 inch to be pretty heavy.

        1. If you are pouring onto something like a canvas or artboard, there will be hardware on the back for mounting.

  12. Another Question, as I do very Large pieces on canvas. Do you think that if I did a epoxy on the reverse side of the stretched canvas that it would then give me the strenght to hold a resin painting on the front side of the canvas?

    1. I wouldn’t try that only because it would add a lot of weight and expense to your artwork. Perhaps there is a way to brace it from the back like using the paint stirring sticks shown in the article?

  13. I have tried round thick table tops from home depot, looked great but warped the next day, once it was laid flat on a suface it straightened out.

  14. Ok!! Sometimes I make skins out of acrylic paint applied to freezer paper. If I where to put the freezer paper onto a canvas and paint or pour onto that, let dry and remove from canvas can I apply resin to the acrylic painted freezer paper????😬

    1. I’ve carefully peeled the skins off the freezer paper, mod podge (or glue) it to a substrate and then pour resin. Looks great

  15. I poured resin on a canvas and it didnt fully cure. I have spots that are still tacky/sticky. Can I pour another layer without sanding it first?

  16. Hi Katherine. I have done an acrylic pour over canvas and would like to Resin it, however I have read in a couple of different places that over time it will warp if I put resin on. Is that true?

    1. That has not been my experience provided the board/substrate the painting is on is strong enough to hold the weight of the painting and the resin.

  17. What kind of product and how is the best way to attach the hanging hardware on the back of a heavy 1/4 inch resin geode mdf piece.

    1. You will need to find hardware that will support that weight. A shop that sells framing supplies should be able to help.

  18. Hello, how do I prep glass so Resin would stick to it permanently? Can I use modge podge first so resin would permanently stick to it? Thanks much 🙂

    1. The glass needs to be clean and free of grease. Don’t use Mod Podge. Glass cleaner is better.

    1. Yes, except I don’t know how much air hardie board traps. You may find that it releases bubbles into your resin.

      1. Try using a wood sealer. I’ve used two coats of wood sealer prior to pouring resin. Make sure you allow about 24 hours to dry after the second coat. It dries clear. You can find it in the paint section of your hardware store.

    2. Try using a wood sealer. I’ve used two coats of wood sealer prior to pouring resin. Make sure you allow about 24 hours to dry after the second coat. It dries clear. You can find it in the paint section of your hardware store.

  19. My family has a roofing company & we have alot of flat slate stone pieces that can be shaped into any shape & size but they are very heavy, so i recently started using a faux slate (its more like cement or a hard plastic but textured like slate) so resin adheres well to it. Its inexpensive, but dont know where you can buy it except going to a roofing company & asking them for their extras! Theres so many options at businesses that use many types of material for their own business & throw out great pieces to be used by us!!

  20. Thank you for the valuable information. I would like to know how to go about using left over Laminated Wood planks from flooring for Resin art. is it advisable, if so how to I prepare the laminated wood planks? Thank you in advance

    1. Hi! I have taken vinyl ‘wood’ flooring planks and cut them down to coaster size and poured resin on them, I found that if you clean them(wipe down) with 99% alcohol the resin sticks beautifully. I have also used larger scraps as substrates for resin art. Same goes for ‘pergo’ or laminated fake wood flooring panels.

    1. You could, but I would expect it to be quite heavy. You will need strong reinforcements and brackets to hang it.

  21. Hi I have a quick question- is there any substance that can be added to resin to thicken it up? I’d like to tint the color of the resin and have it flow over a vertical surface so it looks like molten lava.. any ideas? I’ve tried a couple times and it looks great at first and then slowly flattens/ levels off and makes a big puddle on the bottom

  22. Do you know how Resin stands up to humidity? Is it more tolerant of humidity than paper would be? I am assuming so, but would welcome some comment.

  23. Hi Thanks for all the info. I’d just like to clarify, if I were to use pine plywood and build a cradled frame for it, would that stop it from warping? I’d also seal it with a primer like killz. Would that do the trick or is birch plywood the only one I could use? Is pine an absolute no no?

    1. Hi Kayla, I haven’t tried pine, so I don’t know how well that would work. Yes, Killz primer will work for this project.

  24. Hi,
    I am looking for a resin artist to do my countertops. I live in Florida. Any suggestions please. Thank you

    1. You can Eva, but I would expect the cork to release so many bubbles that it would be hard to get them all out before the resin starts to cure.

  25. Any recommendations for flashing tape? I’ve never used it before and I’m swimming in a sea of different brands!

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