Sometimes when you are making resin jewelry or painting with resin, you may find you have an uneven surface, scratches or ‘gaps’ in your resin surface (otherwise known as ‘fish eyes’). The good news is that resin can be sanded to get a smooth surface.
Here are my tips on how to sand resin smooth.
Gather the appropriate supplies. You will need an assortment of wet/dry sandpaper ranging from 400 grit to 1000 grit, a hard, flat surface to rest the sandpaper upon, water, and a dust mask.
Before you begin, put on the dust mask. You do not want to inhale resin dust.
Sanding resin jewelry and crafts
Place the sandpaper, grit side up, on a hard surface. Grab your resin charm, craft, or piece of resin jewelry and dip it in the water. Hold it firmly and sand in a back and forth motion on the sandpaper. Change directions several times. For example, if you are sanding a bracelet, go ‘north to south’ then ‘east to west’ along with going in a figure-eight motion. This is important to make sure you don’t accidentally sand off more from one side than another.
If you are sanding a curved surface, move the charm according to its curve.
Once everything is smooth and even with your sanding surface, pick the next finer grit of sandpaper and continue sanding as you did in the previous step. You need to gradually decrease the sanding grit of the papers you are using, otherwise, you won’t get all the scratches out from the previous paper. Continue sanding until the charms have the smoothness you desire.
Pro tip: If you want to recoat with another layer of resin, end with a 1000 grit or higher sandpaper. Otherwise, you will see sanding marks underneath a new layer of clear resin.
Why do you need the water? It keeps the dust wet because you don’t want to inhale it. It also keeps your piece cooler so that the friction of sanding does not melt it or distort the shape.
Sanding resin art
Cover a block with your coarse sanding paper or buy sanding blocks. Wet the paper or block. Use the same concepts as above when sanding your art; go back and forth and in circles to make sure you sand evenly. Artwork resin generally self-levels to a depth of 1/8 inch. With that in mind, pay attention to the depth you are sanding. You may not need to take much off, but at least enough that a new layer of resin will completely cover the area and does not have to fill in more than 1/8 inch. Continue sanding with finer grits of paper until you are happy with the surface. Recoat with resin as necessary.
So, what about using a Dremel to sand resin?
The quick answer is that yes, you can use a Dremel tool to sand resin. Here’s the problem though: a Dremel doesn’t sand straight, it sands in half-moons.
You will get a bunch of ‘scoops’ that you will have to sand by hand to make flat. The other problem is that a Dremel tool can take off resin very quickly. If you aren’t careful, you will have divots in your resin that you will have to repair or fill in with more resin.
Note: If you are going to use a Dremel tool to sand resin, please wear safety glasses.
Here’s how I use a rotary or Dremel tool for sanding resin: I take off large amounts of overspill and get it close to where I want the finished edge to be. Then, I use hand-sanding methods to get it perfectly smooth and even.
Now, because I dislike sanding resin, here are a few of my tips to help you avoid sanding resin to get a smooth surface (or at least not sanding any more than you have to):
For the times that a hair or fleck of dirt has gotten on a painting surface, I’ve been able to notice it not because I could see the hair, but because I could see the disruption in the surface texture. i.e. the light catches the imperfection. In my experience, another layer of resin without sanding takes care of that easily.
If the surface is even, but a little frosty (like from a matte mold surface), more than likely, another layer of resin or gloss sealer spray will make your resin jewelry and crafts shiny without having to sand.
If you want to learn more about how to sand resin smooth, here are a few more resin sanding techniques explained:
How do you like to sand resin smooth?
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