Sometimes when you’re creating resin jewelry or epoxy art, you may find that after your resin cures, you have an uneven surface. This can be a resin edge, unevenness, or gaps in your resin surface (also known as ‘fish eyes’). The good news is that you can sand resin once it’s fully cured to get an even surface.
Step 1: Gather your supplies
*wet/dry sandpaper ranging from 400 grit to 1000 grit
*a hard, flat surface to rest the sandpaper upon
⚠️ Before you begin, put on the dust mask. You don’t want to inhale resin dust.
Step 2: Sand
Sanding resin jewelry and crafts
1. Place the sandpaper, grit side up, on a hard surface.
2. Then, grab your resin charms, craft, or piece of resin jewelry and dip it in the water.
3. Hold it firmly and sand in a back-and-forth motion on the sandpaper. Change directions several times. For example, if you’re sanding a resin bracelet, go ‘north to south.’ Then, go ‘east to west.’ You’ll also want to sand the resin in a figure-eight motion. Changing directions frequently is important to ensure you don’t sand off more from one side than another.
4. Once everything is smooth and even, pick the next finer grit of sandpaper. Continue sanding as you did in the previous step. Gradually use finer grits of sanding papers. Otherwise, you won’t remove all the scratches from the previous paper. Said another way, don’t use a 250 grit, then a 1000 grit. You won’t get all your scratches out.
5. Continue sanding until the charms have the smoothness you desire.
If you’re sanding a curved surface, move the cured resin according to its curve.
Why do you need the water?
It keeps the dust wet because you don’t want to inhale it. Plus, it keeps your piece cooler so that the sanding friction does not melt or distort the shape.
Sanding resin art
1. Cover a block with coarse sanding paper. You can also use sanding blocks.
2. Wet your paper or block.
3. Then, use the same techniques for sanding jewelry resin when sanding your epoxy art resin. Go back and forth and in circles to make sure you sand evenly.
4. Continue sanding with finer grits of paper until you are happy with the surface. Recoat with resin as necessary.
💡 Pro tip: Resin for art self-levels to a depth of 1/8 inch. That means you need to pay attention to the depth you’re 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.
So, what about using a Dremel to sand resin?
The quick answer is yes, you can use a Dremel tool to sand resin.
But, here’s the problem. A Dremel doesn’t sand a straight edge. It grinds in half-moons.
You’ll get a bunch of ‘scoops’ you must sand by hand to make flat.
The other problem is that a Dremel tool takes off resin quickly. If you aren’t careful, you’ll have divots in your resin that you’ll have to repair. Or fill in with more resin.
⚠️ Important: If you use a Dremel tool to sand resin, please wear safety glasses.
💡 Pro tip: 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. Then, I use hand-sanding methods to get it smooth and even.
What about using a sanding belt or power sander for sanding resin?
Yes, you can do that. But those tools create a lot of friction. And friction causes heat. That heat can melt or warp your resin.
If you’re going to use big power tools, you need to make sure it’s a resin that can withstand the heat of sanding. It also helps to keep the resin surface wet to minimize the heat.
And don’t forget the safety glasses here too.
You can watch me in action to learn how to sand resin:
Now I need to let you in on a little secret here.
I dislike sanding resin.
Correction–I HATE sanding resin. Yes, I know HATE is a strong word. and I’m still using it.
(And for those of you who tell me you like sanding resin, I argue that it’s a cry for help.)
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)
Recoat with a new resin layer
For the times that a hair or dirt has gotten on a surface, (like when using resin on a tabletop), I’ve been able to notice it because I could see a disruption in the glossy surface. Not because of the hair itself.
Said another way, the light catches the imperfection. In my experience, another layer of resin without sanding takes care of that.
Spray finish the surface
If the surface is cloudy from a matte mold surface, a layer of doming resin or clear acrylic spray will make the surface shiny. No sanding is necessary.
Fill in with a doming resin
If you’ve got a resin edge, use that to your advantage. Let the edges act like a mold and fill in the space with resin.
⭐️ BONUS: Here’s how to fix a resin edge.
Can you sand sticky resin?
No. You’ll have to remove as much sticky resin as possible before sanding.
Struggling to get the results you want with resin?
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