Five Things You Should Never Set In Resin

Things you should never put in resinAdding trinkets to resin is an easy way to make your resin crafts special.

One of my favorites is adding a child’s drawing to jewelry. And then there was the time I added watch gears to resin dominoes. And who doesn’t love adding stickers to resin to make Kawaii resin charms.

Your possibilities are endless.

Well, almost.

While there is so much you can add to resin, there are a few things you shouldn’t. Ever.

Here are five things you should never set in resin:

Fresh flowers

Fresh flowers will turn colors in resin. They can do anything from go clear to turn brown after putting them in resin. Believe me. I’ve tried it. You can see here what happened when I added fresh flowers to resin.

So what do you do instead? If you want to use flowers in resin, you must dry and preserve them first.

⭐️ BONUS: How to preserve flowers in resin.

Anything you think you might want to get back out later

While photos, mementos, and heirlooms look great when embedded in resin, think twice before putting them in your epoxy resin casting. Once you set something in resin, it will be almost impossible to get it back out of it. Especially without destroying your memento in the process.

What can you do instead? Make a copy of your item (especially easy in the case of photos, tickets, notes, etc.) and include that in your epoxy resin.

⭐️ BONUS: How to seal papers for resin.

Fresh food

Fresh food items with high water content, like fruit, will rot and turn disgusting in resin. You must dehydrate your food first. Even then, it’s challenging to make something beautiful. Food releases bubbles into your curing resin, making it hard to see what you’ve got in there.

What’s another option?

Create a food lookalike with clay, then set that in resin. Clay and resin go great together.

⭐️ BONUS: You can see what I mean here: How to make a resin and polymer clay ring.

Water

Resin hates moisture. And if you’re using quick-curing resin, it bubbles up and makes a mess. (Yes, I’ve found that out the hard way too.). It’s why the best way to color resin is using colors specifically designed for resin. Colors like acrylic paint or food coloring can cause your resin to cure bendy.

What if you want to change the viscosity of your resin?

You can add a solvent like alcohol or acetone to thin your epoxy.

⭐️ BONUS: Learn how to use those liquids to make cells in resin.

Bugs and other small specimens that aren’t entirely preserved

Like flowers and fruit, animal specimens will rot if you set them in resin before preserving them first.

How do you preserve them?

We have a great discussion about this topic in our forum that will inspire you to give this project a try. How to embed a spider in resin.

⭐️ BONUS: Here are 10 things to put in resin.

Frustrated with your resin results?

Tired of spending your energy on making something you wouldn’t show anyone?

I get it. I felt the same way when I started creating with resin 15 years ago. It’s why I wrote the ebook, Resin Fundamentals.  I’ve taken my resin experiences and condensed them into an easy-to-follow PDF book for beginners to go from confused to confident with resin. It’s the book I wish I had when I started.

Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2022 Resin Obsession, LLC

Like this post? You may be interested in  3 Ways To Defeat Your Biggest Epoxy Problems

91 thoughts on “Five Things You Should Never Set In Resin

  1. Very helpful! it is especially important to note that while acrylic paints can be used to color resin. Not all acrylics work well due to the water content and it would be a real bummer to find out the hard way that your acrylic paint had too much water in it. Hi flow, student grade, and many craft acrylics have to much water content. The professional grade acrylics that come in tubes (like toothpaste) have less water but you may want to add acetone or alcohol to them before mixing with resin because they are more difficult to fully incorporate, though if you are looking to add texture this can give you raised area of color.

    1. Great advice here Ilene. Trying acrylic paints is fun but can give variable results. Thanks for sharing your guidelines!

  2. I read in your article that changing the viscosity of resin can be achieved by adding alcohol or acetone. I have been wanting to try that but was not sure if it would work. I imagine that only a very small amount should be used. Am I correct? I have a project and want the viscosity very thin with this one particular project. Thank you, Katherine Swift, for always steering us in the right direction when it comes to resins and making things using it. -Loretta

    1. Thanks Loretta for the kind words! If you want to try using acetone or alcohol, add no more than 1 part solvent to 10 parts mixed resin. Use even less if you can.

  3. Thank you for your e mail, but to late, my flowers I carefully picked ,turned brown. Thank you this is just the info I need!

    1. Hello and Happy Thanksgiving To All,
      Enjoy your day! Ok so Forgive me ,if someone has already replied with the same reponse as me but pick your flowers from your own garden or buy some for your particular epoxy project cut them as normal and immediately hang them upside down (all the colors for the most part) will drain into the flowers and leaves and because gravity doesn’t play a noticable part an added bonus is that they will dry opened as though in bloom with minimal wilting.
      You’re Welcome, 🙂
      Lorie

  4. following up on what loretta posted, i’d love to know how to decrease the viscosity as well… can you basically make a doming resin out of a high-viscosity resin? (just waiting for it to thicken before curing hasn’t worked for me.)

  5. I advise using alcohol inks or pigment powders instead of acrylic paints so you will NOT have a situation and not worry about it. Both last forever so they are cost effective and easy to use.

  6. Hi Katherine
    Have you any experience with using different resins within resins? For example, a feature element of polyurethane with polyester resin. :I’m wondering if they can be used in the same pour?
    Cheers,
    Gavin

    1. Hi Gavin! Provided one of the elements is fully-cured, it should embed without any problems in the other resin.

      1. I found a dead garter snake and thought it would be great to put it in resin for my son like I do for his bugs. OBVIOUSLY a bad idea! I go to check on it and the resin was bright red bc the snake bloated and leaked.

    1. Hi Marcy, thanks for sharing your experience. While using a pressure pot is a great way to get bubble-free castings, I’m afraid it isn’t going to do anything to change the flowers. They will eventually rot if not properly preserved first.

  7. Hi Katherine,
    How do you cure in a pressure pot? I have heard about it, that you will have 0 bubbles but know nothing else.
    Thank you. Love your work.

    1. Hi Ramona, you are right about using a pressure pot to remove bubbles. I’m afraid we don’t have an article currently, but I love your suggestion!

    2. Use the pressure pot. Drill a hole secure a fitting that you can hook a vaccine pump to. Now you have a vacuum chamber that pulls the bubbles out. It would be a good idea to have a clear top on it or a window. Use some window gasket around the lid to get a secure seal. When you see that the product is no longer releasing bubbles. It’s a safe bet you can turn off the pump and open the lid.

  8. I am making mosaic trays finished with resin coat to create smoother surface. I know I need more than one coat to level the surfaces. On one of the trays I let the 1st coat cure for 24 hours, sanded and poured the 2nd coat. On the other I waited 5 hours and poured the 2nd coat over the still sticky 1st coat surface. The 2nd coats for both trays were poured from the same mixture at the same time. The tray that was sanded has cured and hardened. The 2nd tray is still sticky a day and a half later. Can you recommend a way to fix/save this 2nd tray?

      1. I am making mosaic trays finished with resin coat to create smoother surface. I know I need more than one coat to level the surfaces. On one of the trays I let the 1st coat cure for 24 hours, sanded and poured the 2nd coat. On the other I waited 5 hours and poured the 2nd coat over the still sticky 1st coat surface. The 2nd coats for both trays were poured from the same mixture at the same time. The tray that was sanded has cured and hardened. The 2nd tray is still sticky a day and a half later. Can you recommend a way to fix/save this 2nd tray?
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        Not sure if I am doing this followup correctly.
        Wondering if my problems with my trays (approx sizes 24″. by. 12″ has anything to do with the quantity of the pour? You are dealing with small pieces like jewelry whereas mine are considerably larger. I doubt that the quantity itself effects the cure since one tray cured well but the other is sticky. Would mixing larger amounts require longer mix times and cure times?

  9. Hi! Thinking on trying some resin crafting and doing my research before I dive in. Was wondering if sanding down some pastels (not oil) into fine powder would work as a colorant, like your chalk experiment? Also, with quality acrylic paint could you paint something straight on the resin between layers perhaps?

  10. Just starting to play with resin and was wondering how emollient products like lipsticks and cream makeup and blushes would go being encased in resin? Would they have issues in regards to degeneration? Wouldn’t be using them to try & color the resin. Any advise, much appreciated. Hope all safe & well over there

    1. Hi Michelle, I’m not sure how well lipsticks and creams would mix into resin. Resin doesn’t mix well with oils.

    2. I would purchase a little clear case of sorts to put your liquid into or lipstick if that suits… somewhat like for coins, then they can be submerged into the resin without a problem. Or, if you are wanting to place in a fully formed lipstick piece, I would suggest to first give it a fine coating and allowing it to harden first before submerging the whole thing into the resin. Resin can heat while curing and this may be enough to melt lipstick. I always say, I’ll try anything once, if it fails dramatically you could either learn from it and try again, or think of another way. Good luck

  11. I once had a work colleague find a dead baby bat and requested I set it in resin. The bat, when found, was as hard as a plank of wood, so presumably it was dead for a very long time…. BUT when I placed it in resin, the heat from the resin began to cook it, and proceeded to smoke slightly and emit an awful stench! It also bubbled slightly and caused its blood innards to protrude, causing a set in air pocket with the visible liquid. … in the past I had done many insects and bugs and spiders, but the bat was by far the worst! And I swore never again to do anything bigger than an insect 😳

  12. I am a retired vet and decided to do some wood work, while sitting ad relaxing in my field. The results were very nice and when I saw in the internet the resin works l was very excited, so l gave it a start. Every body is really excited with my results especially when I was using olive wood with resin. Today l saw your site and thank you very very much for your advices . The problem l came across, especially when I tried to do a dining table using olive wood and resin with excellent results, was the price of the resin in my country. 550€ for 20 liters. What about the price in your country and how can I get it to Cyprus? Thanking you in advance……….

  13. I made the rookie mistake of trying to cast a giant leopard slug in resin when I was first trying this.
    Disaster! Disaster! Disaster! It disintegrated into a greasy looking pulp before the first layer even hardened. Not to mention was the grossest thing I’ve ever seen and I had to throw it in the trash. Lesson learned!

  14. I am also new to resin and am learning fast from my mistakes. I am casting my backyard flowers in various molds. I am having trouble handling the more delicate dried flowers, like Cosmos, from silica or pressed. I tried acrylic spray but how do I dry them? How do I keep from blowing them away? Etc. Some are like tissue. I made a matte medium from white glue and water but I couldn’t find a spray bottle that gave me a fine enough spray. Maybe some flowers are not meant to be preserved.

  15. My husband found a beautiful dead butterfly and wanted me to put it in a round coaster mold. I did, it turned black and when I used the torch for the bubbles it wanted to catch on fire. I’ve learned my lesson. Thanks for your suggestions and help. No more bugs!

  16. Hi Katherine, I too tried to cast a bug. it was a large (2inch) winged cicada. the resin cooked it. Bubbles and black gunk was the result. AWFUL!!

      1. Hi Katherine,
        I once tried to cure a peacock feather in resin and it didn’t work. It turned all black and I was unable to see all the beautiful colors and metallics that it naturally has. Any idea how to do this while preserving the color?

          1. Hi Katherine – I love the tutorials and want to set some of my late pet’s feathers. I clicked on the link but can’t find the feather tutorial. What would I have to seal the feathers with before setting them? I don’t have too many feathers to practise on so I don’t want to waste any, if I can help it, by doing the wrong thing. Thank you for all the wonderful stuff on the site, it’s so inspirational!

  17. I see plenty of information on why it’s necessary to preserve flowers before setting in resin, but is it necessary to preserve a single leaf? Will it go from bright green to brown?

  18. I put a photo in some allumilite slow clear that had a resin background already dried in a wood bowl that I turned on a lathe and covered it with which the same type of resin. I saw somewhere that they said to coat it with modge podge and let it fry a day which I did. When curing it came out with tiny bubbles on top of the photo and then it foamed up the next day. I turned it off and tried to do it again with no modge podge and the same thing happened. I thought the wood was dry? Any thoughts on this.
    P.S. the photo’s were copies I made a Walmart on their machine.

  19. I am making a shallow box. the bottom half is the ocean with plastic coral and clay painted mermaids. My question is I also am placing styrofoam covered with cement waterfall and styrofoam rock bottom of the land. The waterfall is fake. Will the styrofoam melt under the cement from the heat of the resin.

    1. Hi Sandra, it might melt with the heat of the resin. If it doesn’t, it’s going to release a lot of bubbles into your resin.

  20. Hi , my resin dried flower ket rings are hard & dry but when I leave the item on anything it’s sticking to it , even after days . It’s not sticky to the touch either . Do you have any suggestions please . Everyone says they pretty but I can’t gift them as I’m afraid they stick . Any help appreciated. Mixing 30ml resin to 10 drops hardener as per instructions. Mixing for 3 minutes . Allow to dry over 24hrs .

  21. l poured the final coat in a crack in a river red gum table late one afternoon.
    The next morning I checked the table next morning and found a mouse had got stuck in the resin and fell over and died.
    I got a fair bit out but fur, skin and bits are still stuck in the resin.
    Any ideas about how to get the remains out of the resin would really be appreciated.
    The mouse plague strikes again.

    1. Oh goodness, Bob. And I thought I hard heard it all! You’re going to have to cut the area with the mouse out — most likely with power tools.

  22. Heya! I’ve never used resin before, but my brother found a lizard skull outside, i’ve cleaned it quite a bit but want to make jewelery with it. Any recommendations before i get the resin I need (what kind, how to preserve the skull etc)?
    Thanks!

  23. I accidentally got some resin on my wedding ring when taking my gloves off. I immediately started trying some removal solutions mentioned above but it’s still sticky and I didn’t see anything specific to jewelry. Should I just keep soaking it in acetone? Thanks! 🙏

    1. Hi Michelle, I haven’t run into this situation. I don’t know if the acetone will damage your gold. You may want to take it to someone who does jewelry repair.

  24. I made some pretty resin fish from left over resin. I put them into a big resin pour to depict fish underwater but they seem to dissolve into the big pour and I am left with just coloured blobs. How can one stop this from happening? Do I need a sealer of some kind? Thanks so msuch

  25. I am planning to cast a dragon fly carapace in resin. It is incredibly fragile. I am currently preserving it in alcohol. I hope to do a multiple pour but I an concerned its legs will fall off!

    1. Hi Katherine,
      I would really like to preserve a piece of toast that was given to me at my wedding (strange I know!) What is the best way to do this is it resin or do you have any suggestions to what I could use? I just don’t want it to go mouldy!

      Thanks.

      1. Hi Kat, that is a strange gift. I’m afraid, though, resin isn’t the best choice for a project like this. I don’t know how you could seal the toast entirely that it didn’t somehow change in appearance in resin.

  26. Hello Kat,

    I am new to using resin, and wondered if you have ever tried putting left over pills and pill capsules (colorful ones) in your projects. I was thinking of making a project for my pharmacy students and wasn’t sure how the pills and capsules would hold up.

    1. I haven’t tried that Annette, but I’ve seen other people use them. I worry though, that capsules and pills will dissolve in resin.

  27. Hi there have you ever put a whole fish inside epoxy resin or would you have any ideas on how to execute this in the best way?

    1. Hi Sam, I haven’t done a project like this. If you want to try, you will need to find a way to fully dry and preserve the fish first.

  28. I’m looking to put Oreos in resin- will it work? Oreos don’t really mold or go bad as much as they just get stale

  29. Definitely new to epoxying and the first thing I would like to try is a potato that is in the shape of a heart. Wondering if this could be possible without destroying this spud. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

  30. Hi my son wants to submerge a sinking titanic half in resin, will the acrylic paint he had painted the object with react with the resin?

  31. Hi
    I want to set a monkey nut/ peanut in resin. It is the “Name” for our soon to be born Granddaughter. Is this doable and how best to preserve as its something I would hope to be held dear for many years to come? Thanks in Advance for Help….

  32. I was making a small pendant and added a couple of little gems to it and I think they melted leaving only the little silver backs. These would have been just cheap little gems like you would use to bedazzle clothing so I am guessing they were plastic or maybe resin themselves. Is there something I could do to them so they would not dissolve, seal them maybe? They are just so tiny I don’t know if it would be worth it. Would it be better to use swarski crystals or glass instead? I was just messing around this time but thought putting old costume jewelry in resin might work, I don’t want to do it if it is all gong to melt though.

    1. Hi Heidi, I’m afraid the heat of the resin reaction melts the inexpensive lookalike crystals. You can try Swarovski crystals instead.

  33. I am working on a cell project for biology and would like to make little organelles out of clay and place them in a resin sphere. Is that possible?? Will that work?

        1. You can use modeling clay. You can also use clay for arts and crafts too if you want to get a variety of colors.

  34. Hello. I want to do some resin album bowls. I know to prime the album first, but can find no information about making the bowls first then covering with a blow out or doing the blow out first then making the bowls. I am also considering hydro dipping the albums. What would be your advice?

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