Resin art is created when a runny chemical called epoxy resin is combined with various color pigments and additives to produce a blend of unique patterns and textures. The resin mixture gradually hardens (when mixed with a hardener) to a solid plastic as a chemical reaction between its components takes place.
The end result is a durable and clear plastic that takes the shape or image that you have created.
The extraordinary way in which artists choreograph resin to create captivating artworks has inspired a multitude of resin crafts for those of us less inclined to the traditional paint on canvas.
This simplistic technique welcomes beginners who wish to explore the world of resin art.
Resin art is a highly versatile artform that allows for endless possibilities. Although this craft is beginner-friendly, there are a number of important factors to consider before diving into your new hobby but first let’s have a look at some examples of resin art.
Examples of Resin Art
I like to grab my latest inspiration and ideas for resin art off Instagram (the link is a filtered view for Resin Artworks). The reason being it tends to show the latest trends in most everything, including resin art. So when I want to know what resin art is trending, this is my go-to place.
I have included some examples of resin art, covering resin art that looks quite like traditional art to people actually creating solid shapes of resin filled with hotdogs, foods and the like which I find quite interesting.
I also like to cover traditional art in resin, especially when I want to give the effect of wetness or water on a painting or drawing. Check out how you can utilize Instagram for your art with my Instagram tips articles.
What is resin?
Resin is nowadays mostly a synthetic material that is used in a variety of applications, which we know also includes art. You can also get natural resins from plants such as in tree sap but in world of art materials we are usually dealing with synthetic polymer-based (plastic) materials.
Resin is a viscous, liquid substance that is created through the chemical reaction of two or more components. Resin can be made from a variety of materials, including epoxy, polyester, and polyurethane.
One of the most unique properties of resin is its ability to harden into a durable, glossy finish. This makes resin perfect for making art or art components. Resin can be used to make jewelry, paintings, and sculptures.
I have used resins to make realistic-looking water effects on my acrylic paintings and I have added resins to paint which I then heated to make it crack to simulate the aging process in oil paints.
But you can add it to more than just paints. Resin can be mixed with a variety of materials, including pigments, dyes, and glitter, to create a range of colors and effects. It can also be poured into molds or used to coat surfaces, creating a smooth and shiny finish.
When working with resin, it is important to follow proper safety precautions, as it can be toxic if not handled correctly. This includes wearing protective gear, such as gloves and a respirator, and working in a well-ventilated area. Resin is an interesting material. It can help artists make new and unique things and add a bit of something extra to existing artworks.
What is Resin Made of?
Resin is a highly viscous liquid that is produced when trees bleed oils in response to injury. These oils are oxidized when exposed to air, which forms the thick, sticky fluid known as resin.
The use of natural resin dates back to ancient Greece where it was commonly used as a primitive form of chewing gum for fresh breath.
Resin art uses epoxy resin which is synthetically produced to mimic the desirable properties of natural resin. Epoxy resin consists of a two-part system of synthetic polymer resin and a hardener.
Once these components are combined, they undergo a chemical reaction which hardens the mixture to form a solid medium.
Measuring the dimensions of your project will help to determine the volume of epoxy resin that you will need. Resin art generally uses a resin to hardener ratio of 1:1. To ensure that the end result is completely cured, prioritize accurately measuring and thoroughly mixing the components.
Which Materials are Compatible with Resin?
Resin is compatible with a variety of materials. As a rule, resin will not stick to oily surfaces. Materials that are non-compatible with resin are commonly used as molds to create three-dimensional resin art and as protective work surfaces.
|Compatible with Resin||Non-compatible with Resin|
|Polyethylene and polypropylene plastics|
What Can Resin Art Be Used for?
Resin’s unique qualities have allowed artists to breathe new life into their masterpieces. One of its most attractive attributes is its high versatility. The resin may be poured over a compatible surface or into a silicone mold to create a variety of artworks. Below are a few ideas on how resin art may be used:
- Wooden resin art: Epoxy resin hardens to form a strong, durable medium. This has popularized the use of resin art to transform plain wooden furniture into unique pieces. Alternatively, resin may be combined with fragments of wood and pigments to mimic natural elements such as the ocean.
- Picture art: Due to its compatibility with various dried inks, resin may be used as a protective coating for photographs. This prevents UV light from fading their pigments which saves special memories. Ditch traditional frames and opt for resin magnets, bookmarks, or coasters to display beloved moments.
- Jewelry and ornaments: Smaller silicone molds allow for the creation of dainty resin jewelry or ornaments. These pieces commonly incorporate natural elements such as flowers, shells, or precious stones. Personalized resin pieces are ideal gifts for friends, family, or colleagues.
- Crockery: Resin art could spruce up your next dinner party, as it is safe to use as dishware. While resin is not dishwasher safe, it may be washed in warm, soapy water. Molds for cups, vases and plates are available to create stunning pieces that are guaranteed to impress your guests.
How to make Resin Art using my stress free process
Learning how to make resin art can seem intimidating at first, but trust me if you keep things simple you will enjoy not only the process but also the final results.
Some bloggers and artists will be trying to sell you a bunch of tools you will never use but all you need is a workspace, a steady hand and paint tray or plastic sheet to catch any drips. You do not need resin molds or expensive equipment when starting out with resin art. Just keep it simple.
Here is my step-by-step guide on how to make resin art (using a simple stress free process):
- Prepare your workspace: Before you begin, make sure that you have a clean and well-ventilated workspace as some resins can smell bad. Cover your work surface with plastic or a drop cloth to protect it from spills as they are hard to clean up after they have dried, especially on hardwood floors or carpet.
- Choose your materials: Select the resin and pigments that you will need for your project. Resin can be purchased in two parts that must be mixed together in equal parts. Pigments can be added to the resin to create different colors and effects but these are optional. I actually like mixing resin with existing acrylics or as a pour over dried paintings.
- Mix the resin: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix the resin and hardener together. Be sure to measure accurately and mix thoroughly to avoid any issues. If you do not get the mixture almost correct you can end up with a sticky substance that will never harden. I know as I have made this exact mistake in my rush to make resin. This is why I suggest you try a bit of your resin on a test patch to make sure it hardens within a day.
- Add any colored pigments (optional): Once the resin is mixed, add any pigments or dyes that you want to use. Mix the colors thoroughly to create the desired effect. As I said this is optional but you can create great effects especially when pouring resin over clay for example.
- Pour the resin: Pour the resin onto your chosen surface or artwork, whether it be a canvas, wood panel, or other substrate. Spread the resin evenly with a brush or spreader tool. I use an old brush when I use resin and I follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.
- Create textures: Use a variety of tools to create different textures and effects in the resin. You can use a heat gun, torch, or other tool to create bubbles, swirls, and other effects. My personal preference when making resin art is to let it cure to a smooth glass like surface, but that is my preference.
- Let the resin cure: Allow the resin to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This can take anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on the type of resin you are using and how well you followed the mixing instructions. If your resin is still wet and sticky after a few days then you did not add enough of the hardener to the mix and you may need to remove what you have added and remix it.
- Finish the piece: Once the resin has cured, you can add finishing touches. There is no need to add a varnish or sealant to protect the surface as resin does a great job of protecting the surface.
By following these steps and experimenting with different techniques, learning how to make resin art is much easier than everyone will make you believe.
Is Resin Safe to Work with?
Generally, little harm is caused by ingesting epoxy resins since they are non-toxic. However, the hardening agents are classified as toxic.
Certain hardeners, such as aliphatic polyamines, cause skin lesions and burns as they are highly alkaline. In some instances, this leads to epoxy eczema. Amine adducts and polyamides are safer alternatives.
It is thus recommended that you wear a long-sleeved shirt and protective gloves (protective gloves are a must trust me) while working with epoxy resin to avoid skin irritation.
Should you spill the mixture on your skin, wash the affected area with warm soapy water before it hardens.
Inhalation of epoxy resins does not pose a serious danger, as they are nonvolatile. While epoxy resin does not have a scent, this can give you the false sense of security that resin is a safe material to breathe in, it is not.
Now the hardeners tend to have a strong odor, which may cause respiratory irritation. Thus, you might prefer to use a respiratory mask when creating resin art.
Furthermore, amine hardeners are particularly corrosive. To ensure that the surface you are working on is safe from damage, it is advised that you lay down a plastic cover or work on a surface you are ok to ruin or get some spillage on.
Is Resin Art an Expensive Hobby?
Resin art is not that expensive when compared to oil painting or when purchasing other good quality art supplies. The cost of epoxy resin is the primary reason why some people think resin art can be expensive. But the average epoxy resin costs only $0.4 to $0.5 per ounce. Although this seems a fair price for the pleasure of flexing your creative muscles, your project will likely require large amounts of resin to create, depending on its size but for most purposes it is comparable to purchasing other art supplies.
Apart from the epoxy resin, making resin art can sometimes require you to invest in a few tools as well. Specialized resin art kits range from approximately $20 to $70. However, there are cheaper dollar store alternatives for most of the items. Your kit may include the following:
- Mixing cups and stir sticks
- Nitrile gloves
- Respirator mask
- A protective plastic tarp
The more extravagant your resin art project, the pricier it becomes but that applies to any kind of art hobby. Purchasing various resin art molds, liquid pigments, and decorations will further increase the cost.
Where to buy Resin and working materials
If you’re interested in pursuing making resin art and you don’t know where to start I first recommend you visit your local art store as I am a big supporter of local business.
- Epoxy Resin
- Mixing cups and stir sticks
- Nitrile gloves
- Respirator mask (a long lasting one is better than disposable)
- Safety Glasses (these are have added safety around the edges designed for chemical splashes)
- A protective plastic tarp
What is Resin Art – Instruction Supporting Video
I have found a pretty cool video that supports the question of what is resin art. In this video the artist Sheri Vegas takes us through resin art for beginners. As one viewer said “the best video that doesn’t babble on” and I love that sort of video too.
What is resin art – Wrap up!
Making resin art invites beginners to practice, and ultimately master, the simple techniques used to create magnificent resin art. Epoxy resin’s compatibility with a multitude of materials as well as its unique attributes allows for endless creative possibilities.
The cost of beginning to explore resin art depends on the size of your project, and how thrifty you are when purchasing the necessary tools. As your ideas expand, so does the price of your new hobby.
This safe and easy pastime is the perfect outlet for your creativity so give resin art a try, keep it simple and slowly add more complexity to your process as you get better.
Joseph Colella (Joe Colella) is an Editor and Writer at WastedTalentInc. As a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech). While Joseph holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent fashion he spent years applying for various Art degrees; from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), to failing to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney. While he jokes about his failures at gaining formal art qualifications, as a self-taught artist he has had a fruitful career in business, technology and the arts. His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. Joseph’s art has been sold to private collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia. He is a trusted source for reliable art advice and tutorials to copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.
He also loves all things watches (ok it’s an addiction) so show him some love and visit his other website https://expertdivewatch.com