How to Achieve a Faux Resin Finish

If you’re anything like me, you admire the perfectly smooth, clear, glass-like results that resin artwork achieves, but the price for resin? Not so much. Resin can be a finicky medium with a steep learning curve, and some types of resin require you to use special materials such as a heat gun and a respirator for protection from the fumes.

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For the past several months I’ve been experimenting with materials that can give a hard glassy finish, and while the materials are still expensive, they by no means break the bank. The best part is that there’s a lot of room for error, and you won’t be needing your heat gun or your respirator.

Supplies I Used:

Here’s what you’ll be needing for this recipe:

Liquitex Pouring Medium

This is the heavy lifter in my recipe. Combined with the right type of paints, it can give you a nice, glass-like base. However, the end result without varnish is more of a “soft resin” kind of finish. I’ll go through some steps later on for how to make your artwork more durable.

Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish

This gives your artwork a bit more durability. Don’t use a 1:1 ratio when combining this with your pouring medium, as it will make your colors considerably darker when dry. I typically do about three parts pouring medium, one part gloss medium.

When you add this to your paint, you’ll notice the mixture is a bit thicker than what you might be used to. Don’t try to add water to it! The paint will pour fine.

Golden High Flow Acrylics

The high viscosity and high tinting strength of these paints allow them to add color to your pouring medium but not change the overall chemistry too drastically like other paints do, which is a big part in achieving that glassy finish.

One ounce bottles of these paints will go a long way, and only a few drops are required to add color to about three to four ounces of pouring medium. If you’d like a varied effect and some interesting results while you pour, don’t stir the paint too much in your cup.

Liquitex Gloss Varnish

This is slightly different than the gloss medium and varnish in that it cannot be used as a medium, only as a varnish. It has a very thin, water-like consistency when you pour it out, and if that scares you, feel free to add a bit of the gloss medium and varnish.

Sealed Wood Surface/Substrate

I have never achieved good results when attempting this method on canvas. The paint is too heavy and it causes dips in the surface of the painting. For the purposes of this recipe, paint on a well-sealed, smooth wood surface. Make sure to apply several coats of house paint or gesso.

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When Pouring Your Paints:

Pour your mixed paints on your board first, and then, if you’d like a stronger color and cell effects, I would recommend applying paint to your surface straight from the bottle. Just keep in mind that a few drops of these paints will expand over a wide surface area, particularly when they come into contact with the pouring medium.

When Your Painting is Dry:

Apply several coats of the gloss varnish, waiting 24 hours for the painting itself to dry, and then three hours between every coat of varnish. The result that you get should be exceptionally hard, glossy, and smooth!

Comment down below your results if you try this recipe, and any additional tips you’d like to add!

Kelsey Rodriguez is an emerging artist and Political Science undergraduate student in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She just recently opened her small business selling her original artwork, Poured Planets, in the spring of 2018. She has exhibited at several cafes around the Twin Cities and has ongoing consignment relationships with galleries and art consulting agencies around Minnesota.

To see more of her artwork, follow her on Instagram check out her website or shop originals and prints on her Etsy.

Comments

  1. I’m a little confused about how you go about mixing and pouring these mixtures. Do you mix your colors separately, just like for a regular acrylic pour, but with the 2 different mediums? How much do you need to cover an 8×8 wooden panel? I would love to see you do a short video on this technique as I am trying to replicate the beauty of resin as well, without the resin headaches.

    1. Florence,
      I mix the two mediums separately and then add in the color. I repeat that process for every individual color I plan on using. I’m not an extremely scientific person, so I can’t quite answer that second question. Mix a bit of paint and see where that gets you, you can always mix more if necessary.

      I plan on hopefully making a video on this technique in the future so keep an eye out for it!

  2. II am very interested in the achievement you can get without using resin as it can be very messy and if you don’t get it right O DEAR will give your method a try.
    Cheers Eunice Wake

  3. Wait….I want to make sure I understood you correctly. There’s no silicone, dimethicone, or alcohol in your paintings (as you describe them here)?
    Thank you!
    –Lisa

    1. Lisa,

      I don’t use straight silicone or alcohol in my paintings as I’ve found it will disrupt the finish. To achieve cells I either use a palette knife (as Golden High Flow paints will naturally create cells) or a single spray of the OGX Anti Breakage serum spray before the paint becomes tacky.

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