You would like to get started with resin art? Maybe you're just planning a small project to see if you enjoy it? Then this blog article is just right for you! You will get an overview about all the materials you need to get started. Resin is a relatively expensive medium, but the additional supplies don't have to be.
You can work on a small table. Balance the table with a spirit level, then cover it with a garbage bag. You could also work on the floor, if you want. The resin can be peeled off easily from plastic garbage bags. The shinier your plastic surface is, the better you can remove the cured resin.
For mixing you will need a large plastic mixing cup with well-marked graduations. You can get these inexpensive items in dollar stores. The more flexible the mixing cup, the better you can peel off the resin after it has cured. Silicone cups can also be used, but over time they become crumbly and they're harder to clean. Choose a matching plastic stirrer for your mixing cup.
You will then need smaller plastic cups to mix the individual colors. It's even better to recycle and reuse yoghurt pots for this purpose. You can use plastic knives for mixing. With a paper towel you can clean the mixing spatula and plastic knives afterwards.
I also like to use the small measuring spoons of baby formula milk, these can be used for years. The mixing cups can be put upside down on the plastic surface after use, the resin can be peeled off the next day.
For your first projects I also recommend a shopping trip to your local dollar store. Here you can find all the supplies I've mentioned above. You can also find cheap muffin silicone molds for your first attempts. Please make sure that the silicone has a shiny surface, then your resin object will also be shiny in the end. A few inexpensive wooden objects like small trays are great for practicing. When you're more experienced in handling the resin, you can move on to larger and more expensive boards and silicone molds for resin.
It is best to wear old, long-sleeved clothing because resin can't be removed from clothes. Tie back long hair. You should avoid skin contact to resin, nitrile gloves are the best choice. You can wear two pairs of gloves, then they can be changed more easily once they get dirty.
According to the manufacturers of some resin brands, a well-ventilated room is sufficient to work safely with resin. However, not all resin brands are equal, so please read the related safety data sheet. For more safety or when in doubt, I would recommend to wear a respirator. It should contain a combination of an organic vapor cartridge and particulate filters.
With a torch you can remove air bubbles on the surface without blowing around the resin and your design.
With a heat tool (not a hair dryer!) You can create beautiful effects in your artwork. You can also use it to remove bubbles on the surface when you use it at a high temperature setting. If you have to choose between both tools, you should go for the heat gun.
Please make sure it has several temperature and blower settings.
The base for your art
This depends on what you want to create. Would you like to use silicone molds to cast objects or coasters? Or are you planning a wall hanging?
If you want to pour in silicone molds, you can reuse them about 20 times, with good care even more often. The edges of the silicone mold should be very thick-walled. Otherwise they will wear out quickly. The surface should be shiny, then you will get a nice and glossy result.
Wooden boards are ideal for working wih resin. For larger projects you should prime them with Gesso beforehand. I don't recommend to use canvases, the surface should be as rigid as possible for resin.
If you would like to tape your wooden board around the edges beforehand, you can use a good adhesive paint for painters. I like to use the blue painter's tape from Tesa or 3M.
Choosing the right resin depends on what you intend to do with it. If you want to cast deep forms of more than 1-2cm in height, you need a casting resin. For wall hangings, doming or coating objects you'll need a more viscous product, like FauxRizzle Art Resin UV +. There is also a test kit * here, in case you want to try it out. It is the resin I use most for wall hangings, coasters and trays. It is manufactured in the USA and can be delivered to Europe.
Here you can find more information about how to choose the right resin for your project - with a step-by-step guideline about how to handle the resin.
If you want to choose another resin brand, please be advised to not choose the cheapest one from the hardware store, but to read the customer reviews beforehand and inform yourself about the product. There are various resins that turn yellow quickly or are simply not suitable for art. Especially at the beginning you should invest in a good resin, this will lead to good results and more motivation instead of frustration. It is better to save your money elsewhere (in the dollar store 😉).
Resin can be colored with different coloring agents, please do not add more than 6% of any color to the resin-hardener mixture, otherwise the curing process can be impaired. Colors can also be mixed with each other. Not suitable are:
All colorants that contain water or oils
Here is an overview of the options for coloring the resin:
The pastes are highly pigmented, you only need a small amount. The result is very brilliant and shiny, beautiful effects and cells can be achieved. However, they contain one component of the resin, which is why they can only be used for working with resin. Once opened, the pot lasts about one year.
The powdered pigments can be combined with the pigment pastes and thus produce extraordinary effects. They have to be mixed well with the resin. You can also use the pigments for other media, if you don't just want to work with resin alone. If stored dry and protected from light, they will last for years.
Alcohol inks are perfect to create transparent layers when mixed in resin, you can also create fascinating effects when dripped directly in the resin (Petri Art). However, they are not UV-resistant and require a protective varnish for additional UV protection after curing.
In contrast to alcohol inks, acrylic inks can create more opaque effects and are lightfast. You only need a few drops to color the resin, as they are highly pigmented. They last for several years and can be combined with many other painting techniques.
Your resin can also be colored with high-quality acrylic paints. Don't add water to this mixture, this is not compatible with resin. Compared to the pigment pastes, the resin dries a bit more matte with acrylic paint. Especially in the beginning of your resin art journey you can experiment with the colors that you already have at home.
You are not yet sure if you want to continue working with resin for the rest of your life? I would recommend to use pigments in powder form, acrylic inks and acrylic paint to start with, you can also use these with other painting media. The pigment pastes can only be used with resin. You can also combine resin with spray paints, glitter, sand and other decorative elements, there are no limits to your imagination.
This was an overview of the materials you will need to get started. I hope this article has been helpful. You can find more information about mixing and handling the resin here:
You are welcome to print it out and use it as a guideline for the beginning.
Which materials have you tried in combination with resin? Are there any tips and tricks you can recommend? Please leave a comment, like and share.
Have fun with resin and stay creative!