How to Resin a Photo – Resin coat a photograph

How to Resin a Photo on canvas

How to Resin a Photo – Great Alternative to Framing!

by Penny Reid

I have no idea how it took me so long to bring together my two passions, photography, and resin! Maybe I simply needed just the right photo. This one was taken during the Annual Air Show in Toronto (where I live) and that I attend every year. The planes go sooooo fast and I don’t usually bother trying to snap a pic, but sometimes I will point my phone towards the sky and click away hoping something turns out.  That is how this photo was taken! LOL! Most photographers won’t admit that their favourite photo was taken as a random snap towards the sky, but there it is.  Here we are now learning how to cover it in resin!

Resin a Photo on Canvas

You will need:
• A photo
• A wood canvas
• Paint (any colour)
A foam brush
• Modge podge (or other thin glue)
• Wax Paper
• Painter Triangles (or something to prop up your project)
• An artwork epoxy resin
• A resin squeegee to spread the resin
• A heat gun (or other source to pop the bubbles, I use an Embossing Heat Tool)
• A plastic container/bin (or something to cover and protect your project while its curing)

STEP 1

Use a photo that has a high resolution (1 MB or higher ).  You can edit it in photo editing software — there are a ton of free online sites you can use. For this photo, the only editing I did was to increase the shadows a little to give it more depth. Once you have it looking how you like, you can send it to a photo shop for printing or take it on a memory key to a photo shop and have it printed.  I recommend you don’t go too big for this project. I am using an 8 inch by 10-inch photograph.  You can also use an 8×8 or 10×10. These are nice sizes too, and they are square. The most important thing is that you have a wood canvas that is the same size!

Resin a Photo on Canvas - Supplies

STEP 2

To make the resin drops easier to remove later, turn over your canvas and add petroleum jelly or cooking oil to the underside.  This way the resin won’t stick and you can just pop them off later.

Applying Jelly to Back of Canvas

STEP 3

Paint the side of the canvas with whatever colour compliments your photo. I used acrylic silver paint for this one.

Paint the sides of the canvas

STEP 4

Prop the wood canvas panel up (I used yellow painter triangles).  Apply a thin layer of glue to the front of the canvas and gently place the photo onto the glue.  I did not seal the photo or do anything to it and there was no staining. If you use a photo that you cut or alter in any way you may want to seal the sides to prevent the resin from staining the sides.

 

Glue on canvas

 

Start to press it down from the middle and work your way out.  You don’t want to have any air bubbles.  You can also put a piece of wax paper on top of the photo and press it down.  This will help in keeping any glue that comes out of the sides from spilling onto the photo.

Like this post? You may be interested in  Resin paperweights - easy guide to make resin paperweights

place photo on canvas

 

 

STEP 5

It was cold in my studio when I mixed my resin, and I should have put the resin bottles in a warm bath beforehand.  (Learn more about this and other cold weather resin casting tips.)  I whipped it up quite a bit while stirring so it is quite bubbly.

pour resin on photo

Use a squeegee to spread the resin.

 



spread the resin on photo

Use a heating gun/embossing gun to pop the bubbles.  Even with all the bubbles I created, I was able to get rid of all of them, but it took a few minutes.  I checked back after 20 minutes and popped a few that had risen to the surface.

pop bubbles resin



Cover to cure!

resin poured

cover resin photo to cure

STEP 6

Twenty-four hours later, while mostly cured, this is the best time to pick off the little drips of resin from the back of the canvas. They easily pop off with just a flick with tweezers. Be careful to protect the front as it won’t be fully cured yet.

remove resin drips

resin drips off

wipe jelly off canvas back

STEP 7

Wait another twenty-four hours for it to be more fully cured. It’s amazing how much the details of the photo pop with the resin. I’m hooked! Stay tuned for more!

What else would you like to know about how to resin a photo?

Finished - Resin a Photo on Canvas

Overwhelmed knowing where to get started with resin?  Tried resin but frustrated with your results?  Stop wasting your time and money on less than perfect results.  My book, Resin Fundamentals, takes my more than a decade of experience creating with resin and condenses it into the essential details you need to know to make something amazing with resin.

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

66 thoughts on “How to Resin a Photo – Resin coat a photograph

    1. (On behalf of Penny) The dots were from resin that had dripped over the side of the wooden frame and collected underneath. Once they are cured, you can thrown them away.

      1. They would be cool as ‘bubbles’ cast in resin or used in jewelry or as little ‘feet’ for some project. Or how bout filler for a flower vase. Or you could just pack them up and send them to me lol

  1. Does it matter if the photo is ink jet or lazer as everything I have read says that photos have to be completely sealed in order to use with resin

  2. Do you need to wait for the glue to dry before adding the resin? Also, I have a 16×20 print that was printed at Wal-Mart. Would this work with a 16×20 canvas, or does the phone need to be on printer paper?

    1. Yes, you need to wait for glue to dry before applying resin. Wait at least 12 hours or longer if your climate is humid. A print from a print or photo shop will work well too.

    2. I’ve tried putting a photo on a ceramic tile (not all the way to the edge because I like the white border) and the edges curl up or are not completely flat. Did you weigh it down as it dried? I then printed on regular paper and it worked way better. The paper print is less exciting but when the resin is added, it looks like the original photo. I would prefer to use the photos on photo paper though but the edges are stopping me from trying again. Help

    1. It means to cover it with a plastic dome, or something similar, to keep dust off of it while it’s curing.

  3. How much resin did you need for this project? Is there a way to measure how much you need so you don’t waste too much?

  4. My understanding is that all photos must be sealed before resin is applied. Unless I missed something you did not do this in this project. Doesn’t the colors run or become distorted?

    1. I suppose it has to do with how the colors are printed onto the paper. Professional prints may not smear when resin is added. You will never go wrong to seal it first though if you are unsure.

    2. Photo places like Walmart use what’s called a sublimation printer, so no ink. Its 4 colors on reels each pass a layer of color is transferred from the roll to the print. Since it not ink like an inkjet or pigment printer, it is very hard to smudge a photo printed at a photoshop.

  5. Hi Katherine,

    Does the resin applied look even or is it more uneven? Or is there a specific process to even it out?

    Tks
    Lawrence

    1. As long as you are using a doming (self-leveling) resin and pour on enough to make it 1/8 inch thick, it will even out.

  6. I have been wanting to set some of my photos in resin for a while now, finally made the space in my garage to do so! Wondering where do you recommend getting photos printed at? The few times I have sent to a local printing place the quality isn’t that good. Also do you seal the photo before adding the resin? Thanks

  7. Thank-you for your clear, step-by-step instructions! I have been wanting to do this forever, and this article has given me the confidence!

  8. Your photo looks great!
    I want to make wooden blocks (6 sides) for my great grandson with pictures on each side. How could I cover each side with resin

  9. Great post. When you say ‘wood canvas’ to you mean canvas stretched on a wooden frame or do you mean a piece of wood? I’m wondering about flex in the canvas cracking the resin

  10. I’ve been using resins on photos for about five year. It took a while to perfect the proses but they did look amazing. Unfortunately, after several year the resin has turned pink. This hasn’t happened to all of my pieces but quit a few. Do you know what is causing this?

    1. I haven’t heard of resin turning pink, but resin will yellow with time. It sounds like it’s either reacting to the UV light or something in the photo.

  11. Love that piece! I’m about to cover a photo on a kids toy with resin. It’s a part of a puzzle and the resin layer needs to be thin. Do you think I could paint the self-leveling resin on with a brush instead of pour it on ( to keep it thin)? Or would you see brush strokes in the resin when dry?

    1. Hi Rachel, if you want to try it this way, use a sponge brush. It will keep the layer thin without seeing brush lines.

  12. I’ll be using a 11″ x 17″ piece of art on a 16″ x 21″ piece of clear birch plywood. painted black as a back ground for the piece of art. then place it in a frame. glue it first on a piece of plywood ( clear birch) cover it with clear glue as a sealer then pour the resin on it after being framed and this will stop the drips? am I doing this right? or cover the frame also?

    1. Hi Kat, I wouldn’t expect cardboard to be able to support the weight of the photograph and resin without bending.

  13. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I am new to resin and really want to use it on some of my photos, but I appear to be a few tools shy. I have never used a heat gun on my creations, but it appears to be necessary for photos? Is there a specific type of heat gun you recommend?

    Thanks-
    Heather

  14. Hi…I am new to this exciting craft..I want to do photos in coasters…I want to know…can I first put a thin layer of resin…then pour my resin over..as I want the photo to be in the middle of resin??

  15. Hi I am hoping you can help
    I’m getting a sign made from mdf and want to put photos on it but I want to cut photos to leave a 5mm border around the sides so it will be like a border
    The sign will say family
    My question is if I use the resin there will be a slight lip as Re the thickness of the photo
    Should I tape around the mdf so the resin does not create a lip and will be even all over???
    What would you suggest and what is the best product to use resin or epoxy or ??
    Thankyou in advance
    Tracy

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