How to color clear epoxy resin

How to color clear epoxy resinHow to color clear epoxy resin

 

Let’s talk a little about coloring your resin. There are a few things you can do and a few things you can’t do when it comes to coloring resin.  Knowing these guidelines will help ensure resin coloring success.  Then, once you get a handle on the rules of how to color clear epoxy resin, you can learn when to break them.

To get the best results when coloring resin, use colorants designed specifically to color the resin you are working with.  There are two reasons for this:

1. By using the same brand of resin and colorants, you can be assured that your resin is going to cure the way you expect.  This means that the resin should not cure any differently (hardness, clarity, etc.) than without the colors added.

2. Colors designed specifically for a brand of resin should also cure with that color.  i.e. the colors shouldn’t fade or turn a different color once added to the resin.

Can you use one brand’s colors with another brand’s resin?

The answer is *yes*, but with a footnote.  The footnote is that whenever I have done that I have never had any curing problems. I have, however, gotten a different color than I was expecting.

Ice resin

 

If you have ever purchased a resin kit and noticed that the hardener is a little yellow (example above), you may find that the resin part has blue added to it.  When you mix the two parts together, the result will be clear.   I have experienced problems where I used one brand’s green, yellow and/or blue and put it into a different brand’s resin only to get a color I wasn’t expecting despite the resin curing normally.  You can see what I’m talking about in the results of one of my resin experiments.

Now that you know the basic resin coloring rules, let’s try to break them.  It’s one of the neat things I would encourage you to do with resin.

Here are my basic resin coloring guidelines if you want to try non-traditional colorants:

  1. 1. Try and use as little of the color as possible. Add until you get the effect you want, then stop.  Resin hates moisture, so you don’t want to add any more moisture than is absolutely necessary.

2. Make sure the colorant is as dry as possible. I have used eye shadows and spices from my kitchen cabinet that were not clumped and still a loose powder.

3. Understand the resin you are working with before you try to color it. For example, epoxies can be forgiving about colorants. Polyurethanes, not so much. Something you might ordinarily use to color an epoxy might have great results but may not work with a polyurethane. Polyurethanes are incredibly moisture sensitive.

What are some things you can try to use to color resin?

  1. 1. Acrylic paints.  Go with no more than one part paint to ten parts mixed resin.  Use even less if you can.
  2. Note:  When it comes to acrylic paints, you get what you pay for. Some are inexpensive because they have a lot of water in them. It’s why sometimes when you use acrylic paints, your resin cures rubbery, bendy or not at all. If you want to try acrylic paints, try the ones that cost more because the color is more concentrated. You’re going to get more color in the same amount of paint than what you would in a cheaper paint.
  3. Another note:  Good acrylic paint pigments are about as expensive as resin colors. You are not necessarily going to save yourself any money.
Like this post? You may be interested in  The Best Way to Store Resin

2. Alcohol based colors.

Note:  Some alcohol colors will not keep their color in resin. I have used some brands that are not meant to color resin and have had problems with the pink and purple tones staying pink and purple in the resin.  They will disappear.

3. Powders such as micas and eyeshadows.

4. Glitters

5. Kitchen spices

6. Sidewalk chalk

7. Water color paints

What doesn’t work to color resin?

Oil paints.  They make a globby mess with your resin.

Nail polish. It turns your resin an ugly amber.

Latex paint is hit or miss for me.  I have used it sometimes only to find it can make your resin stringy.

My parting advice?  Keep a resin journal.  Write down your formulas and what you did.  It will be a great way for you to recreate (or not!) something later.

What do you like to use to color clear epoxy resin?

Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2018 Resin Obsession, LLC

34 Comments

Sabrina Lee Peart

did I miss you talking about what to use to color polyester resins? I went through it pretty fast.

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Katherine Swift

I didn’t cover polyester, but in general, if it can be used for an epoxy, it can be used for polyester.

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K.Young

Sometimes/usually colors made for polyester resin can’t be used in epoxy. Never use colors made for silicone mold epoxy resin.

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Katherine Swift

I haven’t had an experience where colors for polyester resin also didn’t work in epoxy. I would love to hear more.

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Phillip

Hello I have a question after sanding and prepping the resin piece for polishing what do I use to make it shine

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Judy Koeblitz

Clarify which type of resin Ice Resin is. You always refer to epoxy resin, and polyester resin, and somehow I’m never quite sure which is which. I have used acrylic paint with my Ice Resin and also Alcohol Inks and have not had a problem. I have also used Pearl Ex, and have fortunately also not had a problem. I used to always use nothing but resin transparencies, or opaque’s but they are not cheap and was looking for a less expensive means of coloring. Thanks Much

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Robin

I have a question, what am I doing wrong I’ve noticed on some of my pours that when my resin dries it leaves valleys,where it just won’t stay completely covering the painting, can you please tell me what I’m doing wrong?

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claire nizet

Bonjour à vous,
Que puis je utiliser pour faire des effets de trous dans la peinture résine époxy, et voir la peinture en dessous? Comme si la résine faisait de la dentelle irrégulière? Je ne sais pas si je me fais bien comprendre!!

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Dave

I have done a couple table pours but I’m having a hard time finding what to use for like a crystal clear blue or green etc.For a sea through colored epoxy.

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Allen hudson

Hi there ive bought some epoxy resin foor a floor and worktop from metallic magic im just wondering can i use any acrylic paint to colour it as a primer
Many thanks

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Bob

if you use glitter it will all come to the top when using a heat gun to get rid of bubbles

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Dami

I’ve used a*tiny* amount of food coloring and it worked great, India ink is what I’ve used most often outside of resin pigments.

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Jack Greenhill

Please can you tell me what to do to get skin tone I have a little dolls head that I need to copy Thanks Jacky

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Brian Dickey

I am on the step of needing to mix resin to pour for a doming layer for some laser cut pendants I’m making. Is there no way around having to mix the minimum amount of 1 oz (.5 oz for each part) the tech told me over the phone with this Alumilite Clear Cast Expoxy resin? Because this is unfortunate. I used some older ICE resin with ink for the base layers and used maybe 1/16th of that 1 oz I mix for the base layer for about 9 pendants and had to let the rest cure and throw away. For this upcoming doming layer on the 9 pendants it means that I will also have to have a whole lot of additional new pendant frames ready to go to use 1 oz. I create the pendant frames by cutting them from wood with my laser machine. As mentioned I only 9 of them now cut out with base layers with black coloring already done. They are each about 3 inches in height and two inches wide. I will cut out more to put in base layers for the new ones to use up the resin I will mix. Is there no way to make smaller batches in general with resin? Maybe the base layers can be softer if one uses less than the minimum? The problem with that is that my pendants don’t have backings. I was planning on adding either a layer to the backs or maybe spray with the clear gloss sealer. Thanks in advance 🙂 ~Brian

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Katherine Swift

Hi Brian, the minimum mixing amount is important because the mixture has to be able to generate enough heat for the resin to cure. This requires a minimum amount of resin and hardener to be mixed together, which varies amongst resins.

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Brian Dickey

Hi Katherine, Thank you for taking the time to reply. I figured that was going to be the answer. Okay thank you. I will just need to have a lot of pendant frames available with each pour so I won’t waste it.

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Katherine Swift

Food coloring has too much water in it and can keep your resin from curing.

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Ewouda

We have a very warm climate (in South Africa) specific things that I need to keep in mind? Thank you for very helpful advice!

Reply
Katherine Swift

Resin likes a temperature of the low 20’s C. Temperatures above that will reduce your pot time.

Reply

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