How to paint on resin – paint on cured resin

How to paint on resin

by Lynette Olnhausen

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.

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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?

Ready to try creating with resin but confused by all the information out there?  I get it — there is so much out there.  How you can possibly read it all?  It’s why I wrote the book Resin Fundamentals.  I share my fourteen years of experience with resin into the essential facts you need to know to make something amazing from the first try.  Buy the ebook now and a link to download it arrives in your inbox in minutes.

Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2020 Resin Obsession, LLC

68 thoughts on “How to paint on resin – paint on cured resin

      1. I have my sea glass embedded in cured acrylic resin & they will be glued on sheetrock with other subway tiles to create a backsplash. I want to paint back of created tiles but wondered if I need to put a colored primer on or a clear primer then paint, so tile glue adheres to my tiles? Please help!!!!

      2. I painted an outdoor Garden Resin piece with oil paints and now 24 hours later it is still not dry . Was it a mistake using oils ? Remedy for this .
        Please let me know. Thanks in advance. Suman

        1. Never use oil paints on anything that is nonporous. It works great on wood but not on metal or resin

    1. Very helpful just want to give it a go am usually painting on canvas so want to try something different

  1. I am about to make egg shaped ladybugs from resin and paint on top of it. is it a good idea to apply a layer of resin on top of that? I’m afraid that it will get droopy sides and that it won’t be evenly covered. I’ve heard people about triple thick but since that melts acrilyc paint and sometimes leaves brush strokes in it I’m not sure if I should use that.

      1. ..9o9
        I want to place a painted picture on my TV tray, covering it with resin or polyurethane. Do I need to remove the finish from the top first or can I just pour or paint over the picture & the remaining top? This will be my first time working with resin. Any advice will be helpful.

          1. Hello Katherine,
            Is my first time of using resin and acrylics. My project is a doll head pretty big size. I have bought primer, also acrylics, now my question is how I should start the painting? Step by step what i should add and does the acrylic color mix with resin for painting or is applied directly ? How much I should mix from each and when i need to apply resin layer? After finishing the painting or between them? Thank you so much in advance!!!

          2. Hi Florea, you have a lot going on here! I want to help you with your project, and I think this situation is best suited for a one-on-one consulting call where you and I talk back and forth about what’s going on. A 15-minute consultation call is $20. I do them by video so I can have a chance to see what you are working on. If you are interested, please send a message through the ‘contact us’ page and I can get this going for you.

        1. will silver metallic acrylic paint adhere to the back of a coaster made of resin. Will it still need sealing afterwards, possibly using a Krylon spray sealant or possiblly the Krylon triple glaze brush on.

  2. I am trying to repair a broken figurine, the paint on it is pague, I am just attempting to match the color. (it is a very dark brown) Any suggestions?

  3. Can anyone tell how do get a FLAT [matt] black finish with my polyester products? … Having 10yrs experience i still cannot work this out [HELP]. My products include metal shavings. So having tried various things [gel coats/black powders/pigment] the metals will always show through the colour … So, i had a brainwave of spraying my products before the final coat, with a spray can of matt black paint. SUCCESS Excellant results!!! … BUT when i apply the final clear coat the colour/appearance is all patchy and looks terrible … Why is this?

    OK, i do realise that adding a final coat will bring a ‘glossy’ effect. But why all the patchiness? … Am i going about this all the wrong way? … Would my easier solution be, just to forget the final coat and spray with a laqcuer or something? Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you … Regards, Vince

  4. I am drying to spray paint (acrylic, satin 30%) some resin objects with multiple bands/ layers of colour. I am finding when I try to remove the masking/ lining tape off, it is fetching off the paint beneath. On reading your article I take on board what you say about a primer (any particular sort such as an etch primer etc), is it also a good idea to rough up the resin substrate with sandpaper or similar to help it key to the shiny resin substrate beneath?

  5. I have a statue 3’ of a waiter holding out a tray with a towel over his arm. It’s meant for indoors but I put it outside. The paint is peeling and I would like to repaint it with something that it almost waterproof. The statue is some kind of a milky material. I have no idea what resin looks like but it may be. Any ideas as to what kind of paint I’d need to use? TIA

  6. Hi! I’m looking to use a reason piece as the base to do some lettering with paint markers or watercolors or chalk markers. So you think they’ll be removable? Or so you think they’re stain the resin? Thank you so much!

    1. Paint markers will stay on resin, even with another coat. I haven’t tried watercolor or chalk markers, so I don’t know about them. I suspect not though, unless you can seal that layer before applying resin.

      1. I mostly mean to use the marker once the resin item is done and cured. Like lettering quotes on the resin instead of paper for posting on IG, as opposed to painting/lettering between layers of resin. I’m just not sure whether the paint will stain or be permanent / :

  7. how to remove paint from on top the resin. I draw a line with a painter’s marker on the cured resin, but I don’t like it and want to remove it

  8. Hi Katherine,
    I have a resin stone wedding cake topper that has a pearl finish on it and i want to personalize it by painting the dress and suit to match our outfits. What paints would you recommend.. acrylic or paint markers? Any other advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Kay

  9. I have an urgent question – I have deer antler slices that I want to coat with a non- yellowing clear epoxy. I have found lots about painting ON TOP OF epoxy, but nothing about coating something with epoxy using a brush. Is this possible?

  10. Hi Katherine, I’m thinking painting a imitation Stone Fireplace manufactured from Resin. It’s currently beige and would like to paint it white.
    Please can you tell me what the best approach would be to achieve a good finish?

  11. Can you mix acrylic paint right into the resin before pouring into your mold so that it just dries to the color you need instead of going through the hassle of trying to paint it after?

  12. Hi!
    I’m new to using acrylic paint on resin. I would like to paint small details on cured resin piece then add a top coat of resin after painting. Will the top coat of resin adhere to the piece? I’m confused as I always thought you could not add further coats of resin to already cured resin without priming or sanding first. Please help! Thank you 😊

  13. Has anyone tried to paint gold leaf on a resin piece? Also, which works better, spray paint for a base coat of primer or painting it on?

  14. I have been painting resin for a while now. I have found that the Art Alchemy paint range by Finnabair/Prima Marketing works the best. It’s a very thick paint and usually only one coat is necessary. If I’m aiming for a bit of sparkle, I use their Sparks paint and prime it using black gesso. Using their metallic paints I use white gesso to prime the piece. I have also painted pieces without priming, but that requires more than one coat of paint and I don’t have the patients to wait for it to dry. I’ve also painted resin pieces with Alcohol inks using the pin point skinny cotton point brush (like the kind used by the dentist and I found them in the aisle with modeling paints at the craft store) and they come out quite well. I hope this helps someone who is contemplating different kinds or methods to paint.

    1. Not necessarily Deborah, but if you want the finish to look smooth, then sanding will help.

  15. hi! I recently bought 2 11inch Human Anatomical Model Art Mannequins. the material is resin (here’s the link to the product on amazon below)
    htps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07N8WY944/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    they came white so it’s hard to see the detail on both of the figures. However, i saw that on the reviews one person did a light wash of brown on them. (it’s the first review). He didn’t mention what paint he used and how he “washed” them.

    I just wanted to double check before I do it. by “wash” i assume he painted a thin layer of watery acrylic brown paint ? then let the figures dry. does that sound correct? Thank you for any feedback you can give. have a wonderful day!

    1. Hi Kay, I know there are spray paints for this type of situation. Unfortunately, I don’t know a specific brand.

  16. Hi, I was just wondering what happens if you don’t use primer on a resin piece first? Can you paint on the resin without priming it? Sorry if the answer to this is obvious, I’m new to resin. 😅

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