Resin Tips for Beginners

Hey guys! Happy Friday! So I’ve been meaning to do a little tutorial on using resin for a while, so today is the day I finally get it done! So without further ado, let’s get into working with resin!

What is Resin?

Resin is a liquid material that cures to a solid, glass-like finish.  It comes as two separate chemicals, the resin component and the hardener component.  When the two substances are mixed, an irreversible chemical reaction occurs, and the resulting substance hardens to this impermeable state. This leaves many fun things to do with the resin while it’s in its liquid state, including pouring the resin into molds, covering artworks with resin to leave a glass-like finish, embedding objects or pictures/paper into the resin,drawing or painting overtop of one layer of resin after it has hardened, then pouring a second layer overtop to create a piece with enhanced depth, and other countless possibilities!

My resin and mixed media painting, "Waiting"

My resin and mixed media painting, “Waiting”

Tips for Working with Resin

Beginners new to resin may feel a bit intimidated by this medium, so hopefully the following tips will help you in your resin adventures:

  • Mix your components in perfect amounts. This is a chemical reaction, and the two components must be mixed in the exact amounts specified with your resin (althought it’s usually a 1:1 ratio).
  • Pour the resin component first into your measuring cup. By pouring the resin part first, you have a better chance of getting the most accurate amount. Adding the hardened last allows for any error to be in favor of more hardener than resin, which is fine. But if you have more resin than hardener, it’s game over. You’re left with a sticky disaster that will never fully cure.
  • Protect your work space with wax or parchment paper. Speaking of sticky messes, resin is super sticky and generally terrible. Protect your work area with wax or parchment paper, which resin will not stick to.
  • If you spill onto your protected surface, leave it. Let it cure and then throw out the hardened resin. Don’t pour any uncured resin in your garbage can. Messiness will ensue.
  • Mix it well! The number one cause of resin failures is not mixing the two separate components enough. So mix mix mix!
  • Pop your bubbles. Heat is what pops bubbles in resin, so use a BBQ lighter, a mild heat gun, or a blow dryer set on low to pop your bubbles.  Just be careful, as too much heat can melt your mixing cups or molds, and an open flame can burn your resin, turning it a scorched brown color!
  • Protect your embedded items.  Anything porous, like paper, will soak up the resin and become discolored.  Protect your embedded items by first sealing them with acrylic gel (I love using Self Leveling Clear Gel for this) or Mod Podge. You can even use craft glue that dries clear, although I find it does leave images looking a bit cloudy.  These sealers protect your items and let them stay crisp and bright within the resin.
resin tips for beginners

A resin-dipped paper rose sits half-embedded in a resin pendant in this necklace.

  • Keep it Warm.  Remember that heat pops bubbles? Give your silicone molds a head start by warming them in your oven at a low temperature (something around 150 F will be enough) for 10 minutes before you pour the resin in them.  The warm sides will encourage bubbles to rise to the surface, where you can pop them with your heat source.
  • Have a Bath. Well not you, your resin! Give your resin component bottles a sit-bath in some warm water for a few minutes before mixing them, then hold the mixing cup in the warm water while you stir.  Warm resin mixes faster, better, and has fewer bubbles.  It also pours much thinner, making it easier to cover something without risking overflow.
  • Don’t Touch! Once your resin has been poured and your items embedded, and your air bubbles popped, leave it alone! Resin has two states: an open state and a curing state. The open state occurs right after the separate components have been mixed. This is when you pour the resin wherever you want it.  It’s self-leveling and self-adhesive. The curing state occurs around 20 or so minutes after the mixing of the two components, and lasts until the resin is in its fully cured state, which takes around 2 days or so. This curing state is when the resin is most vulnerable, as it is no longer self-leveling or liquid.  If touched, it becomes sticky and string-like, and in many cases will never return to the level state it was in before. Bottom line: leave it alone after you’ve poured it!

So there you have it, guys.  A few tips that will hopefully help you if you’re new to working with resin.  Be sure to work in a well ventilated area, and always follow all safety precautions listed on your resin’s packaging. Other than that, have fun! Resin is weird and messy, but can be used to create some very unique works of art. So experiment and see what you can create!

Thanks for reading, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3

Leave a Comment :)