Resin can be 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 painting on resin if you’d like to add some color to your resin crafts.
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 challenging to find. Selecting a primer color generally should be based on the color you plan to paint on top of the primer. If you want to use darker colors, use a black primer. If you’re using 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 epoxy 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 site you are spraying (I use aluminum foil) and allow it to dry between coats. You may need more than one coat of primer to cover your crafting resin entirely. 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 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 tiny details to your artwork, 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 want to get it out of your head and into the real world as soon as possible. However, when working with paint and epoxy for art, 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. Using a standard paint stroke will leave paint streaks rather than opaque color. Don’t add enough paint to make it opaque in one go. It will take a couple of applications. Once your base color has dried, you can add details to your painted image.
Tip 4: If you make a mistake or want to try something out, it’s straightforward to get paint off of resin.
If the paint is still wet, it wipes away relatively quickly. You can use a damp paper towel to remove any residue or dried paint. However, before adding any new color 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, let the piece sit for a bit to ensure no moisture has been left behind.
Tip 5: When using paint on resin, you’ll need to be careful not to scratch your painting, or it’ll come off.
This is a plus and a minus in that you can pretty quickly 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. 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 color, it generally gets filled in when you apply another layer of resin (which you’ll want to preserve your resin art).
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 you can do. 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 with adding your next layer of epoxy resin.
Tip 7: Let your paint fully dry before applying a resin layer.
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. Once you can touch the paint without smearing it, it’s ready for resin application. You may want to include pearls to create an air bubble effect, 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 helpful.
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 you to create some fascinating effects.
I have frequently used this to create depth in landscapes and fish that appear three-dimensional, despite several layers of flat paint. Abstract pieces can have a very unique and deep effect.
Here are a few of my finished epoxy resin crafting projects:
What else would you like to know about how to paint on resin?
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originally written by Lynette Olnhausen
Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2023 Resin Obsession, LLC