A beginner's Guide to Resin Art
Resin is a unique, versatile medium that can be made into almost everything from DIY jewelry to geode wall art or sculptures. It's best known for its beautifully polished, crystal-like finish and relatively resistant structure, which makes it ideal for different art and crafts projects. If you're interested in exploring this material but need help figuring out where to start, this Resin Art Beginner's guide has everything you need
What is Epoxy Resin?
There are a few things to know about epoxy resin as an artistic medium before you start experimenting with it. In short, it's a clear liquid plastic that can be colored with mica powders, metallic pigments or glitters to add shimmer, special effects, and metallic highlights to your art and crafts projects. In addition, it hardens with a glass-like consistency, so it’s suitable for a wide range of applications like resin geodes, decorative coasters, resin clocks, and ocean art pieces, among many others.
Epoxy Resin typically comes in kits of two components: the base resin, or Part A, and the hardener, Part B (also known as the catalyst). Mixing these components causes a chemical reaction that enables the resin to solidify. As each epoxy brand is different, it’s crucial to follow manufacturer instructions thoroughly when mixing both parts to ensure they react appropriately. The most common ratio of resin and hardener for artistic projects is usually 1:1.
Since there are two main epoxy resin formulas: coating resins (for thin layers) and casting resins (for deep pours), you must understand the differences and primary applications they are designed for. If you want to learn more about how to choose the most suitable epoxy for your project, check this article.
How to do resin art for beginners?
No matter the resin you choose or the project you’ll create, we have compiled a quick guide for you with the most critical factors to ensure a successful creative adventure with this extraordinary material.
Must-haves for Creating Resin Art:
- Epoxy Safety: When working with epoxy resin, wearing a respirator and the proper safety gear is essential. Most artists wear gloves, long sleeves, and eye protection when using resin products to cover the skin and face from accidental splashes or spills that could cause injuries or allergic reactions.
- Surface Protection: Use baking paper, plastic tablecloths, or silicone mats to protect your table or working surface. Both are cheap alternatives to protect your furniture or floor from resin drips that can easily stick to them.
- Cleanliness: Ensure the area where you will be working is clean before starting! It's easy for dust or dirt particles to fall into wet resin, which could ruin your layers. To prevent that, most artists cover their pieces during the curing time.
- Leveled Surface: Since resin is a self-leveling medium, it's critical to ensure your work surface is level, so you don't end up with uneven resin.
Resin Art Supplies for Beginners
Now that we have covered the basics regarding working conditions and best practices, let’s dive into the most popular styles, resin art supplies, and tools needed.
The two techniques or styles more representative of resin artists are Ocean Art and Geode Art. The latter is inspired by natural geological formations, gemstones, or crystals. Thanks to the fluid essence of resin and its glassy finish, it’s fairly easy to recreate nature’s most enigmatic beauty: geodes. As a result, you can turn a wooden cheeseboard, wall art canvas, serving tray, or even a phone grip into a unique precious gem!
As the name suggests, Resin Ocean Art is inspired by breezy shores and ocean scenery. Layers of glossy resin colored with mineral pigments create a realistic ocean picture that shows depth and movement, so these resin art pieces almost look like photographs of the sea. Using this material, you can turn the surface of a mirror, live-edge wood, serving tray, or coaster into a marine masterpiece!
Choosing one style and trying to master it before jumping to another is recommended. Don’t get disappointed if your first attempt turns out a little bit different than expected. It might take a couple of trials to master this fascinating medium. But once you do, you’ll never go back.
Geode Resin Art for Beginners
There’s nothing quite like starting your Resin Art journey guided every step of the way by an expert! We have designed the ultimate Set of Resin Pigments that includes a Resin Geode Art Online Course to help you create gorgeous Resin Geodes in no time! Check it out here.
Resin Art Supplies and Tools needed:
- Pigments & embellishments: These are metallic pigments, mica powders, glitters, textures, crystals, or any other decor you want to use.
- Epoxy Resin: Of course, you'll need the star of the show, Epoxy Resin, to mix with the pigments and create beautiful masterpieces. Check our free Epoxy Resin Calculator to estimate how much resin you'll need.
- A torch or heat gun: You'll need a torch to pop air bubbles and a heat gun to help move the resin around and create special effects.
- Silicone Molds: If you plan to create resin coasters or trays, you’ll need silicone molds to hold your resin until it dries. Always make sure they're clean and level.
- A small kitchen scale or measuring cup: Read the instructions from the manufacturer so you correctly measure or weigh the resin and hardener before mixing them. Depending on the resin you choose to work with, there might be different ratios.
- Mixing cups & craft sticks: To mix in the powdered pigments.
- A toothpick: If you need to fish out bits of dust from your layers after pouring.
- Dust cover: Protect your work while it dries, as this can help keep your resin layers from getting dust or dirt.
Resin and Room Temperature
It turns out that Epoxy Resin is extremely sensitive to low temperatures. So working with resin in a temperature-controlled environment is ideal to ensure good results. As explained in one of our latest blog posts, the best room temperature to work with epoxy resin is 75-85°F (24-30°C), which significantly impacts your process and results for several reasons. First, mixing resin and hardeners in temperatures below 75-85°F (24-30°C) may be more challenging, and the mixture may not harden properly. As a result, your piece might not dry well and remain sticky for several days. Cooler temperatures also prevent bubbles from properly rising to the surface, which can leave microbubbles in your piece.
That being said, while we want to work in a warm environment, we also don't want to work in one that is too hot. For example, if your work area exceeds 85°F (30°C), it may also affect your results and the final quality of your piece.
“The one thing that helps when working with resin on cold days: Getting that temperature right before I pour. I will leave on my room heater BEFORE I start working. When it's cold it can be a challenge. MORE air bubbles appear, so that's why I make sure the room is set and the epoxy is warmed before I pour.” - Resin Artist: @islaluna_co
To learn more about the appropriate conditions to work with resin, we recommend reading this article, where you'll learn all the factors (including temperature and humidity) you may have to consider when working with resin.
Epoxy Resin Safety
We can not stress enough that wearing the proper safety gear is essential to enjoy your creative practices without any health concerns. See listed below the recommended PPE.
- Wear Protective gloves: Epoxy Resins contain solvents that can harm your skin. It's essential to protect yourself with a pair of nitrile gloves before beginning any project involving the resin.
- Wear Safety goggles: Because resin can be harmful if it gets in your eyes, it's also recommended that you wear safety goggles or some other form of eye protection while working with this material.
- Wear an Apron: To protect your clothing, wearing a crafts apron is recommended.
- Wear a Respirator mask: It's necessary to wear a respirator mask when working with resin to avoid inhaling the harsh chemical vapors created when mixing resin and hardeners.
- Work in a well-ventilated area: Working outside or next to open windows and in well-ventilated rooms is recommended.
- Keep away from children and pets: Epoxy Resin can be harmful if ingested or inhaled. So, keep all children and pets away from the work area.
To learn more about Epoxy Resin Safety guidelines, please check our blog post and stay up-to-date with all the latest safety tips and tricks!
Resin art is a fabulous creative hobby for everyone, including beginners. At its core, it's a simple process that can be quickly learned, starting with low-difficulty projects like Resin Coasters. But only creating and continually experimenting with different color schemes, techniques, and project types will help you master this incredible medium.
Before starting your epoxy resin art project, be sure you have all the supplies and tools you need, such as molds, mixing cups, torch or heat guns, pigments, glitters, and, most importantly, PPE. Also, please follow our safety tips to ensure you can have the best possible experience while creating resin art. There's no need to worry about having expensive tools or equipment at the beginning —the most important thing is just getting started and giving it a try!
Always remember to:
- Use a level to ensure the surface you’re working on is leveled before getting started.
- Find the most suitable Epoxy Resin for your specific project.
- Work with high-quality pigments to get stunning special effects and avoid beginner’s pitfalls.
- Cover your work once it's done to allow it to dry without damaging it and prevent dust from getting on it. Use a piece of plastic or something similar that fits the area.
The best thing about epoxy resin is its incredible versatility. You can make all kinds of beautiful art: resin geodes, resin coasters, trays, and even your own jewelry! Keep in mind this article is merely an overview to give you an idea of what resin art is all about; there are many mesmerizing techniques to learn!
We hope this guide has helped you understand the basics of resin art and how to get started on your project. We know it can be overwhelming initially, but trust the process and enjoy every minute. You won’t regret it.
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