How to sand resin smooth: get a smooth surface on resin art and jewelry

How to sand resin smooth - Resin ObsessionSometimes 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.

resin sanding supplies

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

sanding a resin bracelet

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 accidently sand off more from one side than another.

sanding resin charms on wet dry sandpaper

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 like 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

sanding a resin painting with wet dry sandpaper

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?

sanding a resin charm with a dremel tool

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.

resin charm with divots from a dremel tool

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.

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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?

Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2019 Resin Obsession, LLC

16 Comments

Barbara Miller

I put resin on a very large oil on canvas painting and it has brush stroke streaks because it wasn’t moving enough so I used a brush. Yipes! Would sanding it work? Would a second coat cover the streaks? Any advice is appreciated.

Reply
Raymond Chainé

Ce qui est dit dans ce texte est absolument vrai et ça mérite d’^tre essayé.
Merci

Reply
Mary Gates

So I’ve been pouring into molds
Recently rings
Any suggestions in sanding these?
Specifically the part where you put your finger in
Some edges need defining?
Sand paper?
Dremmel?
I’ve used both maybe just need more practice.

Reply
Katherine Swift

Try sanding sticks specifically for rings. They come shaped to allow you to sand the insides.

Reply
Levy

That’s some really cool tips!
What about an orbital sander, do you think that could be helpful for sanding relatively large objects?

Reply
Katherine Swift

Yes, but like using the dremel, you may end up taking off more than you intend to.

Reply
Judy Hyland

Your information is so helpful. Thanks so much! I’m new to resin art, so I need all the help I can’t get ha!

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Megan

I’ve got some very minor imperfections in my top coat so I was going to lightly sand them down, finish with a 1500 grit and then use Novus to polish. Will this still give it the shine that I would get with just a top coat? I’ve already done 3 layers and would rather be able to just polish it after than doing another coat.

Reply
Katherine Swift

Hi Megan, it will look good, but it’s not going to be that ‘wet’ look. If you want that, you will need to apply another layer of resin. On a side note, it will likely look good enough that I don’t think anyone except you will know the difference. 😉

Reply
Katherine Swift

Hi Janet, I hate when that happens! In cases like this, I use a jeweler’s saw and treat the resin like metal. I saw close to the shape of the charm, then finish it up with sandpaper.

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Sam

So I’m having some issues. I’m casting clear with some things in the resin. They come out beautiful. The edges are rough so I want to
Sand them down and sometimes I will
Sand the whole thing level and nice. I’ve started at 400-1200 grit sandpaper and finish with Flitz polish. After sanding am
I not able to get that clear again? I’m so bummed. What am I missing? So so cloudy and dull now.

Reply
Katherine Swift

Hi Sam, it sounds like you could use a little one-on-one help. I offer consulting calls where you and I talk back and forth about what’s going on. A 15 minute consultation call is $20. I do them by video so I can have a chance to see what you are working on. If you are interested, please send a message through the ‘contact us’ page and I can get this going for you.

Reply

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