Epoxy resin art techniques are definitely one of the most exciting mediums to work with as it is versatile and can make both 2D and 3D art. In acrylic pouring, epoxy resin augments or seals your pieces, giving them extra depth and vibrance.
Experimenting with epoxy resin painting techniques can be intimidating, but there are so many amazing techniques to explore! Once you get the hang of it, epoxy resin art techniques aren’t as difficult as you might think.
Learning the different applications of epoxy resin will not only improve your experience in using it, but it will also give you a new way to elevate your finished artwork. In this article, we talk about a few different techniques and uses to really take your art to the next level!
The Two Main Types of Resin Art
As mentioned, you can do a lot of things with resin. Most resin art, however, especially those found online, can be divided into two different resin art methods: casting and pouring.
In a nutshell, casting is the method of pouring a liquid material into a mold to harden. In resin casting, that liquid material would be epoxy resin, typically consisting of a resin and a hardener if you’re using a two-step system. As for the mold, you can use silicone molds of just about any size or type – even candy silicone molds work well with resin casting.
Depending on the size of your project, resin-cast pieces will typically harden enough to move within about 12-24 hours, and you will have fully cured resin within a few days.
If you’re not a patient person, some UV resins cure within minutes of being exposed to direct UV light, making way for more urgent or immediate resin art pieces.
Resin pouring doesn’t require a mold. With this technique, you pour properly mixed resin with a small amount of acrylic paint and hardener onto a flat or 3D surface. The point is to cover a surface, whereas casting is about creating a new surface.
You can create resin pour artwork on just about any surface compatible with resin: a blank canvas, an old table, a laminated photo you want to turn into a keychain, or even decorative tiles. Resin typically won’t stick to polyethylene plastic, waxy surfaces, silicone, painters tape, or things like wax or freezer paper.
The hardening and curing processes are the same when it comes to resin pouring. Your piece will likely harden enough to move within 24 hours and should be completely cured within a few days. It’s important to always follow the manufacturer’s directions so you don’t end up with a sticky, uncured mess!
Unlike resin casting, we don’t recommend using UV resin for resin pouring; while it’s easy to concentrate UV light on a smaller mold, it’s nearly impossible to expose an entire canvas to the same amount of UV all at once. The uneven distribution of UV can hinder the curing process and may result in resin artwork of a substandard quality.
If you’re using resin pouring as a means of sealing a painting (also referred to as a resin flood coat), keep in mind that many epoxy resin products not specifically intended for use with artwork will yellow over time if exposed to direct sunlight.
If you’re planning on displaying your work directly in the sun, you should research your chosen brand of epoxy resin thoroughly before doing so.
Considerations Before Working on Resin Art
Working with epoxy resin art techniques is more complicated and presents different challenges than just working with regular paint and sealant. Keep in mind a few absolutely essential considerations before diving in.
Wear Protective Gear
The first thing to keep in mind is to always wear protection when dealing with resin.
We can’t emphasize this enough! Protective gear is essential when working with resin ven if it is a small DIY resin art. If you do not have the proper protective gear, do not work with resin until you acquire it.
While some resin products are labeled non-toxic, most hardeners still contain chemical components that can cause irritation if inhaled. Additionally, resin is extremely difficult to get off the skin or out of hair; it acts exactly like superglue on those porous surfaces and sometimes requires a hospital visit to remove.
Additionally, resin fumes and particles from sanding resin can lead to respiratory issues, even if you only work with the resin a few times. No matter if your best artist friend has worked with resin unprotected their entire life with no complications; everyone’s respiratory systems are unique. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Safety goggles are also a must since resin can cause eye irritation. You may be wondering, “how would I get resin in my EYE?” In many resin pouring techniques, artists use a straw to manipulate the resin to make different patterns.
Sometimes, these straws cause splattering and suddenly, you’ve got resin in your eye, acting as a superglue. Additionally, resin particles from sanding can cause severe irritation if your eyes are unprotected.
This sounds like a lot of good reasons not to use resin, but as with anything, resin is not dangerous if used correctly. If you wear a respirator, safety goggles, and disposable non-porous gloves while working with resin, you’ll be just fine.
Work in a Well-Ventilated Area
Even if you have access to a ventilator, your studio or the area in which you work with resin should have windows that can be easily opened to allow toxic fumes to dissipate.
If you don’t have access to a room with windows or a proper ventilation system, we do not recommend working with resin. As the resin cures, fumes will still be present in your work room, and you will still be breathing them in when going back to check on the piece.
Keep in mind that while having a fan is helpful, it is not the same as proper ventilation, unless the fan is drawing air from your workspace to the outside. Simply installing something like an oscillating fan will only serve to spread the fumes throughout your home.
A properly ventilated workspace is a must to keep you and your household safe.
Never Bring Food and Drinks Inside Your Studio
Food and drinks can easily become contaminated by resin particles, which can lead to poisoning or other gastrointestinal issues.
Additionally, do not work with a pet present. Even if you’re wearing a respirator, your pet isn’t. The same hazards you face while working with resin unprotected can also affect your animals. When working with resin, never do so with a pet in the room.
Epoxy Resin Casting Art Techniques
Once you’ve got all your safety gear, chosen a well-ventilated area and have shooed your pets out of your studio, it’s time to make some resin art! Below, we discuss the different epoxy art techniques associated with resin casting and resin pouring.
Let’s start with resin casting. Here are some techniques and tricks we’ve learned through years of working with this medium.
The Secret Lies in Proper Mixing
It is imperative to mix your epoxy resin according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. This means measuring out your resin and hardener correctly if you’re using a two-part system and pigments compatible with resin.
Resin mixing is not a “pinch of this, a dash of that” activity. The proportions and rations must be exact, or your resin will never cure. This doesn’t mean that it won’t cure for a while; it will literally never cure.
Take your time when mixing to completely combine your resin and hardener so you don’t end up with an uncured catastrophe where your art used to be.
Choose Your Mold Wisely
Resin casting is versatile since you can choose from a huge variety of silicone molds that are not just meant for resin art, but also for soap and candy too! This opens up a world of thousands of shapes and sizes to work with.
Silicone usually comes in two finishes: matte and glossy. Both should work well with resin, but if the mold isn’t specifically marketed with resin in mind, check with the manufacturer before using it for resin.
It’s important to remember that using a nonflexible mold (an ice cube tray, for example) isn’t going to yield great results. When unmolding resin pieces, you often need to really work and manipulate the resin out of the mold, something you can’t do if your mold has rigid sides.
Pour Slowly, Then Apply Heat
If you’re looking for a lot of bubbles, great! If you’re not, they can ruin a piece irreparably.
To avoid bubbles, mix your resin and hardener slowly. Try not to pull your mixing utensil in and out of the resin as doing so will introduce air into the mixture. Additionally, don’t mix too vigorously, or you’ll have the same issue.
It also helps to mix the resin and hardener in one cup and then pour it slowly into another clean cup to disperse some of the bubbles that might have formed.
When you’re ready to pour your resin, do so slowly. Pouring the resin too quickly will cause bubbles to form. .
Once you’ve poured all your resin into the mold, tap the mold gently a few times to bring any bubbles to the surface. If you’re using a lot of resin for a thick project, stop every few moments and tap the mold while pouring.
Then, lightly skim the resin surface with a heat gun or torch to pop the bubbles. You’ll want to hold your torch or heat gun at least 5 inches from the surface (depending on the size of your flame). Don’t focus on any one area too long, or your resin will overheat.
You can also use a toothpick to pop any remaining air pockets.
Epoxy Resin Pouring Art Techniques
You can use an epoxy pour to cover an existing painting, create a new one, embellish a serving tray, and for a million other projects! Below, we talk about just a few of the very basic epoxy resin pouring techniques that absolute beginners can do.
Before you begin working, make sure to put on your protective gear and cover your work surface with plastic, a silicone mat, or another impenetrable protective layer. Avoid using paper or cardboard, as excess resin can seep through and fuse paper or cardboard to the work surface beneath.
The Puddle Pour Technique
This technique is very straightforward. All you need to do is pour your resin onto the surface as if you were creating a puddle. Once you’ve poured the resin, manipulate it using air, by tilting, or even by just letting the resin settle itself. Note that most epoxy resins are self-leveling.
You can use multiple puddles in different colors and manipulate them into each other to create various patterns and effects. You can also pour more than one color into your puddle instead of keeping them separate – there’s no wrong way to do this!.
You can create a layer of colors by simply pouring another colored resin mixture on top of each other as the lower layers spread outwards.
The Swipe Technique
The Swipe Technique is exactly what it sounds like: you use a tool of your choosing to gently (or not so gently) swipe the resin across your desired surface..
The tool you choose can be just about anything with an edge: a sheet of plastic, a frosting spatula, or even a fine tooth comb. With this technique, the goal is to create a magical blending of colors with smooth transitions and interesting patterns.
Here’s a quick tip when trying out this technique: sometimes less is more.
You don’t need to swipe the entire piece, and you don’t need to swipe more than once. Many an artist’s downfall has been not knowing when to stop; and we know it’s an easy line to cross! Start out with a single swipe and let your resin settle for a moment so you can see what kind of blending you’re going to get.
It’s easy to lose yourself in the mesmerizing nature of the Swipe Technique, but have restraint!
Here’s another simple and straightforward method. It’s closely similar to the puddle pour technique.
But instead of pouring your resin colors from separate containers, you will combine them in a single container (don’t mix!), and then start pouring.
The result is a marbling effect with really beautiful resin cells.
We enjoy using this method for wide surfaces like tables and countertops because it’s easy yet stunning at the same time.
Dirty Pour Technique
The Dirty Pour technique is simple and straightforward, and very similar to the puddle pour technique. The biggest difference is that instead of pouring your resin colors separately into different puddles, you’re going to combine your colors in a single cup (don’t mix them!) and then pour them on your surface.
Using the dirty pour technique, you can create beautiful marbling, intricate swirls, and unique patterns that are great for countertops, tables, and serving trays.
The Flip Cup Technique
The Flip Cup technique with epoxy resin requires quick hands and a well protected surface!
Like the dirty pour technique, you’re going to layer your colors in a single cup. Don’t mix them with a stirring stick!
Take your surface and flip it over so that the side you want to pour on covers the opening of your cup. Then, holding the surface and the cup firmly, flip them both so that the cup is on top of the surface, mouth down. The cup should be standing upside down on your surface.
When you’re ready, lift the cup and prepare for an explosion of color! Don’t want too long, though; just a few moments is all it takes to create with this technique.
Dutch Pour Technique
This simple method can be done in three easy steps; just make sure you have all the equipment you need in advance to save time.
First, create a puddle or dirty pour on the surface. You can also use the flip cup technique for your puddle, if you prefer.
Next, surround your puddle with a white or black resin mix before the resin puddle starts to spread. Don’t be afraid to use a lot; that’s an important part of this technique.
Blow the white or black resin over your colored puddle in one direction first and then in the opposite direction. The goal is to initially cover the colored resin at least partially with white or black, allowing the colors in your puddle to pop up after blowing.
You can do so by using a blower for wider surfaces or blow through a straw for more precision and accuracy, especially for smaller pieces.
The dip technique is a fun and easy way to create interesting feathered and sweeping designs on your surface. You can use the dip technique on either 2D or 3D pieces. As long as you somehow dip the surface, you can use this technique.
If you want to create a 2D piece (for example, a canvas or MDF board), cover your work surface with a large piece of plastic or a large silicone mat.
Then pour your colored resin using any of the previously mentioned techniques onto your protected work surface. This process does need to move quickly since the working time for most resins is less than 20 minutes.
After you’ve poured your resin onto the protected surface, lay your canvas face down into the resin and wait a moment to let the resin adhere to the piece. You can either pull your surface straight off the resin or pull it in a sweeping motion to create interesting patterns..
To create a 3D piece, you will need to combine all your resin liquids in one container that fits the object you want to work on. Since you’re going to be at least partially submerging your 3D piece, allow room for displacement so you don’t have an excess of resin runoff.
Swirl the resin around to create a marbling effect, but don’t mix the liquid too much; otherwise your colors will mix.
Once it’s ready, dip your piece into your container slowly and hold the piece in the resin for a few moments. When you’re ready to pull it out, do so slowly again to avoid excessive color mixing and bubbles.
Continue dipping to cover the entire object with resin.If you’re using a 3D object with a lot of cracks and crevices, you can use a straw or toothpick to move the resin into the uncovered areas.
String Dip Technique
The String Dip technique uses string dipped in resin to create interesting patterns on a preferred surface. This is a common technique in acrylic pouring, but it can also be applied to resin art.
Start by preparing your preferred surface by pouring a tinted resin of your choice as the background color. If you want a neat 3D effect, you can also use clear resin. As a reminder, you’ll need to work quickly to avoid your resin setting before you’re done.
Choose another color (or even a few) and mix it with your resin until well combined. Then, dip a string (such as jute, yarn, or even a chain) into the mix and then arrange it on your surface in an “S” pattern.
Gently pull the string horizontally off the surface, allowing it to unwind naturally; this will create unique swirls, often called flowers.
Keep repeating these steps until you get the results you want; just remember that sometimes, less is more! Don’t do too many pulls, or you might mix your colors too much or lose the crispness of your lines.
Chameleon Cells Technique
Here’s another technique that involves a lot of dipping, only this time, you will need a plastic wide-toothed comb and 99% isopropyl alcohol.
In case you were wondering where the name “Chameleon Cells” comes from, this specific technique was formulated and pioneered by Chameleon James Art, and the result does resemble scales!
For this technique, pour your preferred resin colors on your surface in strips horizontally along your surface.
Then, pour a white resin layer on one edge of your piece, covering the surface. Use a piece of paper or a similarly edged tool to swipe the white resin and cover the piece entirely.
Pour your alcohol in a container that fits the length of your comb. Dip your comb into the alcohol and then gently tap the bristles of the comb on top of the white layer of resin. You’ll start to see cells magically forming!
Continue dipping the comb and tapping it until you get the desired result. Remember to clean your comb off periodically if you’re dipping multiple times to avoid too much color mixing.
Trying Out Epoxy Resin Art Techniques
Although you can apply many acrylic pouring techniques to resin art, what we love the most about resin is how unique the results will be! Each piece is unique to you, depending upon your specific color combinations and the extent of your imagination.
The two main epoxy resin art techniques we’ve covered here are resin casting and resin pouring to create both 3D and 2D pieces. Each of these methods has infinite techniques to try! You can experiment with them separately or even combine a few in one piece to create something truly extraordinary.
Because resin is usually self-leveling and moves even after you’ve stopped pouring, there’s no way to know exactly how a piece will turn out. That’s the beauty of it! It’s exciting when checking on your piece the next day to find unexpected patterns and designs.
Working with epoxy resin art techniques is both fun and challenging, and you can do it! Just remember to always wear protective gear, protect your work surface, and protect your household and work area by ensuring there is proper ventilation and no animals present.
Make sure to show your beautiful resin pieces in our Facebook Group!
After being told in high school that she was so bad at art that she should switch to another subject, Deby didn’t paint again for 35 years. Then a stroke released a new wave of creativity and she began exploring with dot painting, abstract and eventually acrylic pouring, and at last the joy of working with color returned. You don’t need ‘talent’ to be an acrylic pouring artist – just enthusiasm, some basic instruction, and a willingness to try, fail and try again. Paint along with her and learn from her many mistakes, and you’ll soon make great art together.