Resin can definitely be a bit tricky to paint and very different from painting on canvas or wood, as you will find that paint doesn’t cling to resin very well. Here are some of my tips on how to paint on resin if you’d like to add some color to a resin project!
Tip 1: The easiest way to paint resin is to use a primer.
Primers generally come in three colors: white and black being most common, and grey being a little more difficult to find. Selecting a primer color generally should be based on the color you are planning on painting on top of the primer. If you want to use darker colors, use a black primer; if you want to use lighter colors, use white primer. Grey or white primer is best if you’re using mixed colors. I prefer using a spray primer, as it helps so that you don’t apply too much and change the look of the resin. However, you can also use a paint-on primer.
When using a primer, make sure you use it in a well-ventilated area and use protective gear. Use spray cans outside. Protect the area you are spraying (I use aluminum foil) and allow it to dry between coats. You may need more than one coat of primer to fully cover the object. Once the primer has dried (follow recommendations on your particular primer), you can begin painting your piece.
Tip 2: Paints meant for plastic work best when you are painting resin.
I typically recommend using acrylic paint. Using craft paint, especially when you’re getting your bearings painting resin, is perfectly fine as well. I’ve found that synthetic brushes, especially Taklon and White Taklon, seem to work best for resin painting. If you want to add very small details to your painting, you may want to visit a model train store or a store that sells miniatures (like a gaming store), as they will sell paintbrushes with very, very fine tips. There’s one out there called ‘The Psycho’ that I’ve used in the past. Imagine the point on that one!
Tip 3: When painting on resin, the key is patience.
If you’re anything like me, once you get an idea, you just want to get it out of your head and into the real world as soon as possible! However, when working with paint and resin, you’re going to have to take your time. Add your first layer of paint, starting with the main color you plan to use. When doing this, dab the paint on. Trying to use a traditional paint stroke will leave streaks of paint, rather than opaque color. Don’t try to add enough paint to make it opaque in one go; it’s going to take a couple of applications. Once your base color has dried, you can start to add details to your painted image.
Tip 4: One benefit to resin’s difficulty with grabbing on to paint is that, if you make a mistake, or even just want to try something out, it’s very easy to get paint off of resin.
If the paint is still wet, it wipes away relatively easily. You can use a wet paper towel to remove any residue or dried paint. However, before adding any new paint or resin, you must wait for everything to dry. Using a paper towel to dry the resin can be iffy since it’s likely to add dust and other contaminants. A cloth towel or air drying works best. Even if you use a towel, letting the piece sit for a bit to ensure no moisture has been left behind is best.
Tip 5: When using paint on resin, you’ll need to be careful not to scratch your painting, or it’ll come off fairly easily.
This is a plus and a minus, in that you can pretty easily correct any mistakes you’ve made. On the downside though, if you’re using a pipette to apply your resin, you need to be careful not to let it scrape your painted piece. Personally, I have not had any issues with paint coming off in the resin itself, so long as it’s given time to dry. Even if you scratch the resin a bit when removing the paint, it generally gets filled in when you apply another layer of resin (which you’ll want to do a preserve your painting).
Tip 6: Set your piece aside for twenty or thirty minutes between painting layers.
If you notice a mistake in your painting after applying the resin, there’s not much that can be done. There have been several pieces I’ve had to restart from scratch after finding that I’ve made a mistake in the layering order or something ‘just doesn’t look right.’ Set it aside, then, when you come back, if it looks okay, continue on with adding your next layer of resin.
Tip 7: Let your paint fully dry before applying a layer of resin.
I let my paint dry for about twenty minutes unless it’s rather thickly coated, which in that case, it gets a longer dry time. Basically, once you’re able to touch the paint without smearing it, it’s ready for resin application. You may want to include pearls to create an air bubble effect, or plants, etc. at this point too.
Tip 8: If your painting requires straight lines or crisp edges, use painter’s tape.
Paint the image, wait for the paint to dry, then remove the painter’s tape. Stencils or cut-outs may also be useful!
Tip 9: Use a bright light angled so that it’s shining directly on top of the piece.
That usually helps me find any dust, hair, etc. before the piece sets.
Tip 10: Leaving areas clear on your resin also leads to you being able to create some very interesting effects!
I have frequently used this to create depth in landscapes and fish that appear three-dimensional, despite them being several layers of flat paint. Abstract pieces can also be given a very unique and deep effect.
Here are a few of my finished resin painting projects:
What else would you like to know about how to paint on resin?
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