Let’s talk for a moment about how to color resin.
This is one of those topics that involves art and science.
Like there are rules. That’s the science.
But sometimes, you can break those rules. That’s the art.
And I like to do both. So, I’m sharing my secrets on how to color resin.
Secret #1: For best results, use a color designed for resin
Now I get this isn’t a huge secret by itself, but there are reasons for this. Colors especially designed for resin will:
*cure without changing color
*won’t make your resin soft or sticky
That always can’t be said with colors not designed for resin.
If you’ve ever had resin cure bendy or change colors, this might be why.
Secret #2: Can you use one brand’s color with another brand’s resin?
The answer is *yes*, but with a footnote. Whenever I’ve done this, I’ve never had resin curing problems. But, I have got a different color than I was expecting.
That can happen?
Secret #3: Not all resins take color the same
Resin hates water, but some resins more than others.
For example, epoxy resin can be forgiving of moisture in resin colors. Polyurethanes, not so much. Water in polyurethane resin makes it bubble and cure into something that looks like a sponge.
I know because I tried it.
Secret #4: You might have stuff lying around your house to color resin
When learning how to color resin, here are some other stuff you can try:
*Acrylic paints. 💡 Pro tip: Use no more than one part paint to ten parts mixed resin.
*Dry items like eyeshadows (those 80’s pink and blues are super cute), kitchen spices, sidewalk chalk, and watercolor paints
Secret #5: Some things tint your resin ugly
Here’s my shortlist, but feel free to add to it:
*Oil paints. They make a globby mess with your resin.
*Nail polish. Your resin turns an ugly amber.
*Latex paint. It can make your resin stringy.
Want to learn more tips beyond how to color epoxy resin?
Then you get your copy of Resin Fundamentals. For less than the cost of a resin kit, buy the book that takes you from confused to confident with resin. Buy it now, and you’ll have a download link in minutes.
Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2023 Resin Obsession, LLC
98 thoughts on “5 How To Color Resin Secrets You Never Knew”
i use nail polish and work great but the time to try is real fast
I’ve tried to use alcohol ink and even resin specific coloring but when I use colors my resin doesn’t dry
Hi Ashley, it sounds like you are using too much ink. Try less in your next project.
did I miss you talking about what to use to color polyester resins? I went through it pretty fast.
I didn’t cover polyester, but in general, if it can be used for an epoxy, it can be used for polyester.
How do you mix white ink with alcohol? What is the ratio
I’m afraid I’ve never mixed white ink with alcohol. I don’t have any advice to share.
I am making dice, but i am wondering what I can add to give it a wispy effect without mixing? Does anyone have any ideas?
Hi Stella, Have you tried adding color to a toothpick, then drawing it through the resin?
So normally that would work, but since I am making resin dice, with a mold I cannot see through or see what I am doing, it doesn’t come out properly.
I’ve watched several tutorials on making “galaxy crystals” which you get by pouring the resin into a circular mold (as if making marbles). You pour the resin into the mold(s) in layers & no the person doing the tutorial couldn’t see exactly where she was placing the colors. She did say trial & error was a big part of the learning process when using resins so it’s good to have a backup plan for your “mistakes”. What she did to get the “star swirl” was: she used a white shimmering eyeshadow (left over from a Halloween costume’s makeup) that she pummeled into a loose powder & using a tool (that was like a wooden coffee stirrer) she put a small pile of the powder on the tip, dropped it into the resin, then used a toothpick to do the “swirling” much like you’d do to make a marble cake, & she did this one layer at a time, letting it “set” for a few minutes before adding more resin into the mold and repeating the process, tweaking it here and there for different effects.
I’d recommend doing a YouTube search for: “DIY your own Galaxy Charms using acrylic resin” or something very much like that & be prepared to have “mistakes”. (FYI: after the resin sets you are able to drill into it using a very small & specific drill bit then you can attach hooks to them for hanging, thread wire through it for jewelry, etc) My opinion; after watching several videos, was that even the “experts” are discovering new techniques & just like everything else in life… “you don’t know until you try… (but let’s not forget about our planet’s health by cutting back on waste.) which was fine by me except the cost of the resin did not leaving much wiggle room in my budget for mistakes(!), resolution: I used clear glue to practice making my “globes” & the resulting “swirly marbles” I used to make sun catchers by mixing them with some various colored sea glass I had & after I put them inside a few antique jars I’ve got sitting on different windowsills around my Apt. They catch the sunlight & create some pretty cool rainbows!
I do hope this helps someone if it’s too late for you, lol but, good luck & have fun! Remember:
*When it’s not fun anymore it’s a job & who needs another one of those?!? LoL! TTFN
How much additional catalyst should you add if you are adding color (if any)
Hi Kelly, that’s a great question! It depends on the color you are using. Many will not require extra catalyst, but if you aren’t sure, check in with the manufacturer of the color you are using to get their specific advice.
Sometimes/usually colors made for polyester resin can’t be used in epoxy. Never use colors made for silicone mold epoxy resin.
I haven’t had an experience where colors for polyester resin also didn’t work in epoxy. I would love to hear more.
Hello I have a question after sanding and prepping the resin piece for polishing what do I use to make it shine
You can either apply another coat of resin or use our resin gloss sealer spray. You can find it in our store here: https://shop.resinobsession.com/collections/tools-and-supplies/products/castin-craft-gloss-resin-sealer-spray
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
Hi Judy, ICE resin is an epoxy.
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?
What kind/brand of resin are you using?
Was it a paint pour and Did you use silicone in it? I have had that happen to me when I did not clean the silicone well enough from the canvas before I poured resin?
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!!
Bonjour Claire, votre question date déjà de 4 ans, mais je vais répondre puisque je viens de lire ces commentaires. Vous pouvez utiliser du caoutchouc liquide en l’appliquant avec une cure dent ou similaire. Apres que votre résine est sèche, il faut enlever le caoutchouc. Ou si vous parlez de ces ‘cells’ créées par certain pouring artistes, il faut un type de silicone. Cheers, Alysen
Can you use normal ink and ink from a ballpoint pen?
Hmm. Don’t know. Have not tried that.
I am having trouble with “bendy” results. Sometimes it’s hard sometimes bendy. What can cause that ? I am using Amazing Clear Casting resin mixed 1-1. What is good size for a batch and what color % is too much ?
Hi Talbert, I’m sorry this happens to you. This article explains why your resin is bendy: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-frequently-asked-questions/why-is-my-resin-bendy/
Hello. I use sakura jelly roll brand shimmer gel pens with 2 part epoxy resin in silicone molds. i put a hair more hardener in it. it doesn’t come out the same color as the pen’s ink, like for example; i used the deep royal blue shimmer gel pen and it came out like a deep teal color but quite shimmery. i put most of the barrel of ink into it too where it changes the amount of hardener you need. if i just add it to equal parts it comes out a little softer and stretchy but not tacky. i usually make rings and it’s interesting because they conform more to the finger and are more comfortable than super hard rings. sometimes they’re extra hard, sometimes they have a little give to them but after buffing and polishing they definitely don’t get sticky, tacky or bleed any color. this is just that one brand, sakura jelly roll pens. they have a pretty thick ink and it has shimmers, not large grain glitter
when i tried it with other pens it didn’t have the same effect. one time i used a no name brand of the same type of pen. it was a deep amber brown glitter gel pen. when i started to stir it foamed up, smoked and ended up with a very spongey looking puck in my mixing cup. the glitter lost its glitter and it looked kind of an ill shade of calamine lotion pinky beige that not many people would want to wear. it was like the color of some horrible 1990s ortho birth control case. yuck.
Again, trial and error. i think most inks are probably concentrated and kind of thicker/gooier than when you buy liquid ink. definitely something to try outdoors or with good ventilation. don’t forget gloves and eye protection. if it foams, be careful because it might get hot too.
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.
Hi Dave, have you seen these? https://shop.resinobsession.com/collections/colorants/products/resin-obsession-transparent-color-pigments-single-1-ounce-colors
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
I’ve been using India inks, for stable (non fading) colors.
if you use glitter it will all come to the top when using a heat gun to get rid of bubbles
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.
I like your experience and I come to know that acrylic paint is also useful for making resin colourful.
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
We have skin tone resin colors in our store here: https://shop.resinobsession.com/collections/colorants/products/alumilite-doll-skin-tone-liquid-pigment-dye
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
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.
I have had success with as little as 5ml (~0.169oz) of [72-hour] epoxy. With volumes that small the margin of error for measuring etc. is much less forgiving though, so measure as precisely as possible, and diligently scrape as much of the remnant component liquids from their measuring cups as you reasonably can so as to not lose component volume and thereby problematically deviate from the required proportions.
I use a syringe to measure out small quantities, 2 ml of resin and hardner each. My resin has always cured hard. The resin syringe can be re-used but the hardner one has to be cleaned or just replaced every time.
Marcellé, your use of syringes for measuring small quantities is such a good idea that I am almost annoyed at myself for not having thought of it.
Not to promote another brand on here, but if you work with resin long enough, you will know that there are different brands for different uses.
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.
Can I colour epoxy resin with nail art powderd pigments?.
Hmm. I haven’t tried those.
I use nail pigments and they work well with epoxy
I’ve used the nail art powder and it does work. It will be pale unless u use alot, which if u don’t blend it til the cows come home it’ll be gritty. I smashed it on the side of the cup until it was blended well.
What would happen if I used food colouring? Or can I even use food colouring ?
Food coloring has too much water in it and can keep your resin from curing.
I have a question about puffy paint. Can it be dripped into resin to make shapes the way a lava lamp looks? I’ve googled and searched YouTube and all I keep coming across is dripping it on tumblers. I’ve put everything you can think of in my resin art, most things worked and those that didn’t became paper weights and door stoppers.
Hi Tracy, I’m afraid puffy paint won’t work to create ‘lava lamp like’ drips in wet resin.
We have a very warm climate (in South Africa) specific things that I need to keep in mind? Thank you for very helpful advice!
Resin likes a temperature of the low 20’s C. Temperatures above that will reduce your pot time.
Does that include the gel food coloring like the Wilton brand?
Yes, that includes any food colorings.
hi what resin can be used on chopping boards ive got 4 different types and dont know which one will be food safe, also is there a resin that will rest cutting thanks
Hi Megan, for what you want to do, the Alumilite Amazing clear cast epoxy will work. You can find it in several sizes (in the blue box) here: https://shop.resinobsession.com/collections/resin/alumilite
I am trying to make a clear yellow or orange. It is clear in smaller pieces but thicker pieces are opaque. How do I get the look I want?
Hi Cynthia, you want to use a transparent color for resin. We have several in our store here: https://shop.resinobsession.com/collections/liquid-colorants/transparent
I have a dominos molds my question what can I add to make my epoxy to make it hard or durable
Hi BJ, if you aren’t happy with the hardness of your resin, it sounds like you may want to try a different brand. Which one are you using?
Which resin and hardener should be used -its first time, so plz let me know the names
Hi Viru, it depends on what you are going to make. This article explains more: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-frequently-asked-questions/resin-buying-guide/
when using micas in my resin once fully cured they tend to be over taken by one colour not necessarily the darkest , it tends to sort of flood into the middle by the time it’s cured. I’d like to try and achieve the agate look but can’t keep the colours Sections more defined
Thanks for any advice
Hi Debi, try pouring your resin closer to the end of the pot time.
I love the idea of the resin journal, logging what works and what doesn’t, ratios etc.
Oh good! I think you will find it helpful.
What about acrylic inks?
I’m getting ready to try this now wondering if anyone else has used these?
Can you use food coloring?
Hi Max, unfortunately, food coloring doesn’t work well because it contains a lot of water. That water can inhibit curing.
I use food coloring and it cures just fine, sometimes it takes longer to cure though.
Could you tell me the difference between acrylic paint and latex paint?
Latex paints are water-based, while acrylic paints are chemical-based, that’s the main difference.
I had no idea, Stephanie. Thanks for sharing that!
Hi, in one batch resin mix i have pendants that dry nice and pendants that stuggle to dry .. please tell me with what are you cleaning a spillige or the sticky on your hands?
Hi Engela, you can use baby wipes or soap and water to clean the resin from your hand. If the resin won’t come off, use a pumice soap.
Can you move the add a comment section to before all the comments, just a little feedback. If it’s an option for course. . Loooove how you speak through your writing, some people have a hard time doing that. I was able to understand clearly enough to read all the way through, that’s rare. Second time using epoxy, first time using color 🤞🏼 here goes everything!
Thanks, Shelly. I love getting reader insight!
At what point of the mixing and pouring process do you add color?
Hi Melissa, if you are using colors designed for resin, those details should be included with the colors’ instructions. Otherwise, if you are unsure, add it into the resin once it’s thoroughly mixed with hardener.
Hi, I was wondering whether I could use satin acrylic paint in my resin. It might be too different from normal acrylic paint, I don’t know. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
Will leather dye work as a color additive?
I don’t know Marcia, I haven’t tried that. If you do try, will you let us know how it works?
Dumb question: Do you color the inside of the mold or wait until it hardens and paint the outside?
Hi Jazmine, you can do either!
I am covering old green laminate countertop, I want it to be white with a gray marble streak. Do I need to paint the green Laminate white, or can I make a solid white epoxy? I’m hoping to make a white solid epoxy. To make a solid white what should I add to my Epoxy?
Hi Annette, yes, you should paint your countertop white first before adding the resin. To color your epoxy white, the Resin Obsession white pigment works great! You can buy it in our store here: https://shop.resinobsession.com/products/resin-obsession-opaque-color-pigments-single-1-ounce-colors
Can i apply colour before adding hardener
Hi Andrae, if that is a part of the color’s instructions, then yes, you can do that.
What happens if you mix mica powder with alcohol ink? What is different from using only mica powder without alcohol ink? I saw a couple people add alcohol ink to mica powder but I don’t know what the difference is.
Alcohol inks can float on a resin surface.
I’m a beginner but am a bench jeweler in real life. After seeing all the comments on too much liquid I’ve had luck with taking food color etc and pouring into a container where I have a thin layer. I let it dry out. Voila! It still colors because it turns into a liquid again but now the liquid part is not H2O but the resin. Seriously doubt it will work on things like latex paint. Am on my way to the hardware store to try and convince paint guy to sell me some sample amounts of tint. Going to put them into little tiny sample containers. Will mix with H2O and let dry out and see what happens
I am new to resin epoxy. Is it better to add color after it sits a while or can you add color right away?
Hi, I think it’s better to add color right away.
I have some dry watercolor paint that I was thinking of using to color some clear cast resin. Instead of water, I was planning to use some q-tips and Isopropyl alcohol. Has anyone tried this? How did it work out? I’m hoping to get a dark and very faintly translucent effect like obsidian.
Hi J.A., I think it’s worth a try!