The creative people out there may have seen acrylic paint pouring take off this year and become extremely popular world wide. Along side this we have noticed that resin art has been on the rise as well. And we can see why!
If you have been thinking about getting into resin art but weren’t quite sure where to start, then this post is for you! We will break everything down for you and offer some top tips and tricks to make your art the best it can be.
- What is resin?
- How do you use resin?
- What do you need to create resin art?
- How to create your first resin painting
- How to clean up
Resin (or epoxy resin) is a 2 part system that consists of a resin and a hardener. Mixing these two components together creates a chemical reaction causing the liquid resin to become hard to form a solid plastic type material. When used alone you will be left with a highly glossy clear finish.
Resin is a highly versatile product that can be used for a variety of things such as drive ways, flooring, in the wood work industry, in the marine industry and more! More commonly on the art scene resin is used to create jewellery, coasters, wall art, table tops, bowls, sculptures and more!
Resin is a medium that you will love to work with if you enjoy experimenting. It is so versatile you will be wanting to try and use it on everything!
As previously mentioned, the basics of using resin is that you mix the 2 components together to create your medium. How you then choose to use it is up to you. You can use it to embellish previously made art, add it into crevices on tables to create the look of a river, create coasters that look like geodes or wait for it to start to cure and mould it into a bowl.
The possibilities are endless which is why resin art has become so popular!
Whilst there are many ways in which you can use resin, today we will be focusing on how to create resin flow art. To create your own you will need the following:
- Liquid Pigments
- Powdered pigments
- Kitchen Roll
- Isopropyl alcohol (70%+)
- Mixing cups and stirring sticks
- Heat gun
- Stands or blocks to prop your art up with
- Nitrile gloves
- Respirator mask
- Thick plastic sheeting
- Spreading tool
- Box to cover work
- Board/tray etc.
- Masking/decorators tape
First and foremost you will need your resin. There are a wide variety of brands out there but one of the most popular is made by Art Resin. They boast a lot of good qualities such as:
- No yellowing
- Long work time
- Easy mixing ratio (1:1)
There are a wide variety of brands of liquid pigments out there. They are not all made from the same ingredients though so be sure you know what’s in them before opting for the cheapest one. This is very important if you are going to use an open flame to remove bubbles as the pigments may react with the fire.
For ease, we will be recommending Resin Tint by Art Resin. These are oil based pigments and so they will leave your eyebrows where they are supposed to be if you were to use a torch on your piece!
We recommend adding only a few drops at a time and mix your resin thoroughly before deciding if you want to add any more. It is important to note how much you are putting into your resin as anything over 6% can throw the resin and hardener ratio off. This can result in the resin not drying properly.
Mica powder is highly pigmented and used in a wide variety of things such as nail polish and makeup. It is also great for use in resin art and can create lovely textures, colour shifts or even sparkles to your work.
As previously mentioned with liquid pigments, it is important to note how much you are using. Powder can quickly and easily upset the resin ratio, so remember that usually less is more!
Once you have finished creating your work of art you should use kitchen roll to remove any excess resin left inside your measuring cups. It is also handy to have on stand by in case of any emergency spills!
Isopropyl alcohol (70%+)
After you have sufficiently wiped your measuring cups clean, you should then use isopropyl alcohol (minimum 70%) to remove the last remnants of the resin.
Mixing cups and stirring sticks
Depending on the amount of colours you plan to use will depend on how many mixing cups you will require. Some people prefer to use recyclable disposable cups where others prefer to use multi-use thick plastic cups that can be wiped down and used again.
You will also need stirring sticks. Again, the amount you will need will depend on the amount of colours to intend to use for your piece. We recommend using a flat stirrer (like a lolly pop stick or tongue depressor) as the larger surface area will make stirring quicker and more effective.
A heat gun is a great way of moving poured resin around a canvas or board, for example, to create different effects such as lacing.
A torch is a very important piece of kit to have if you want to have a smooth and clear piece with minimal to no bubbles. There are other ways to remove bubbles from your poured resin such as using a tooth pick and popping them manually. However, this is very time consuming and the end result will not be as clear as using a torch no matter how hard you try!
Others have used an alcohol spray to pop them with varying results. We would not recommend doing this as adding any other contaminants to your resin might upset the resin ratio and cause drying issues.
Stands or blocks to prop your art up with
It is important to raise your art up off from the table is you are going to be pouring onto something completely flat such as a board. This is because the resin will eventually drip off the edges and if your board is flat to your table, you will struggle to get it back off in one piece!
We recommend using stands or blocks or anything else of the same height and strength underneath to keep your work safely propped up.
Having a flat surface when creating resin art pours is so important! Resin is self-levelling and so any slight tip to one side will eventually result in all your resin being tipped off/pushed against the side of your tray etc.
Using a level is vital to creating the perfect piece.
Nitrile gloves are one of the best options when it comes to protecting your hands from resin. Not only do they fit snug on your hands, but they are very strong and offer great resistance to oils and other chemicals.
Resin releases fumes that over time have potential to be harmful to your health. If you plan on using resin often or creating very large pieces that require large quantities, you might want to invest in a respirator mask.
Using dust masks such as are used for decorating generally won’t be helpful for protecting you from fumes. So if you’re going to get one, you might want to invest in something more substantial – better to be safe than sorry!
However, using a mask isn’t completely necessary if you plan on only creating one small piece.
Thick plastic sheeting
One of the main things to make a note of is that resin art is messy! You will want to make sure to cover your work surface with a thick plastic sheet to catch any drips or spillages. That way once the resin has dried on the surface, you can simply peel it off!
Different people use different spreading tools depending on the amount of resin they need to move around and what effect they are trying to create.
Where possible, we recommend using things such as re-usable plastic spatulas. Once you have moved the resin to where you want it to be, you can simply wipe the plastic down with a piece of kitchen roll and then spray or wipe down the plastic with isopropyl alcohol. Then, it’s ready to use again next time!
Box to cover work
Once you have finished with your work, you need to leave it to fully cure. Different brands will recommend different lengths of time, but usually most will be dry within 72 hours. During this time you will want to cover your work to prevent any dust particles, stray hairs or anything of that nature from landing in your latest piece of art.
Anything big enough to completely cover it will do – you can even fashion something yourself out of some plastic sheeting and wooden batons!
Or whatever you wish to create your art work on! Just try to consider what colours you will be using as this may impact what you will need to do with the thing you are pouring on to.
For instance, if the resin colours you are going to be using are more transparent than opaque then you will want to make sure your substrate is in good condition as you will likely be able to see it through the resin. If this is the case you may wish to prep the surface with a sufficient paint first, for example.
Not a necessity, but some people like to use masking/decorators tape to keep certain areas of their board or canvas free from resin, such as the sides for example.
This depends on your taste and the overall look you are wanting to achieve.
First you will want to plan out your design or overall look and feel of your piece. There are a wide variety of pour techniques such as a puddle pour, a dirty pour, a flip cup pour and more! Once you have decided and you have the colours you wish to us in mind, you are ready to start.
- The room should be clean, dust free and well ventilated.
- Be sure you are wearing something you don’t mind getting messy as accidents can happen!
- Next, you will need to prepare your work space by laying down your heavy plastic sheeting onto your table.
- Once your work space is prepped you will want to prepare your substrate. If you plan on pouring onto a canvas, for example, but want to keep the sides free from resin, you should place your masking/decorators tape on it now.
- Once the substrate is prepared, you can place it on top of your stands.
- Use your level to make sure that the substrate is nice and level. If necessary, prop something under the stand/s to correct it.
- Next, put on your gloves.
- Measure out the required amounts of resin as per their instructions and mix together.
- You will likely need to mix the resin thoroughly for around 3 minutes, but be sure to read the manufacturers instructions carefully and do it for as long as they say.
Now you have your resin prepped and your work space ready, it’s time to get creative!
- Decant the now mixed resin into your smaller mixing cups, one for each colour you plan to use.
- Colour your resins with a few drops of liquid pigment or use a lollypop stick to gather some powder pigment and thoroughly mix it into your resin.
- Add more pigment if necessary, but be cautious of the amount you end up using as it can upset the resin ratio, causing issues with drying.
- If you would like to see cells in your art, then now is a good time to add a few drops of silicone to create them. Thoroughly mix the resin once added.
Now everything is mixed you are ready to go!
You are now ready to pour and create your art. Remember that you can help move the resin along by tipping the canvas slightly, or by using an instrument such as a plastic spatula or wooden stick.
If you have any bubbles appear once you have poured, you can use your torch to remove them. To do this you should very quickly and very lightly run the lit torch over the bubbles. Never keep the torch still.
Different resins have different curing times so be sure to keep an eye on the time. Try to create your piece as quickly as possible as you will find that if you are still moving it once the curing has set in, it will become stringy and look similar to chewing gum.
Once you are happy you should take a close look to see if there are any hairs, dust particles etc in the resin. If there is these will need to be removed with something like a toothpick or a set of tweezers.
Now you should cover your art with a cardboard box (or something similar) and leave it to cure. Resin will be hard after 24 hours but can still be damaged easily if improperly handled. Usually it takes 3 full days for resin to completely cure.
Any residue left inside your measuring and mixing cups can be easily removed. The best way is to tip them upside down onto your thick plastic sheeting that covers your table and let the residue slowly run out of the cups. Leave them for 5 or so hours and you can then simply pull the cup up and remove the firm resin from the table.
Any tools that you used that came into contact with the resin should be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol. Simply spray it onto the surface and wipe with a sheet of kitchen roll.
If you got any resin on your skin we recommend using vinegar and then soapy water to remove it. You can also use isopropyl alcohol but we don’t really recommend it as it can quickly dry out your skin.
You can also purchase specially made soaps from DIY stores that will be able to remove it too.
We hope you found this post helpful. If you have any other tips, tricks or advice, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. We love hearing from you!