In The Studio: Layered Resin Landscape and Resin Petri Dishes

Well, as most of you probably predicted, I’ve become a tiny bit obsessed with resin. My first experience was pretty basic — covering my pixel art with four coats of resin. (You can see that here.) I wanted to just get the feel of the product before branching of with more artistic resin endeavors. But now that I’ve got the feel for it, I’m hooked. I mean, the possibilities with resin are endless, and I want to do ALL of them.

I use ArtResin, which you can find here. I use that brand because it seems to be preferred by artists, and it yellows far less than most other resins over time.

My first idea was to do a layered landscape with the various elements separated by layers of resin in order to give depth the picture.  I wanted to do this first one just as an experiment to see if my idea would even work, so I just used some leftover Behr paint I had on hand. Here’s how it turned out…

Unfortunately, the depth that the resin gives the painting is extremely hard to capture in a photograph. But in person, it’s really mesmerizing. You can see the shadows cast by the tree and the clouds here…

And of course, those shadows are because those elements are painted on the upper layers of the resin.

In this next picture, you can see how the shadow from the tree trunk has a step effect as it is cast on each separate layer of resin…

And if you look from the side,  you can also see the separate layers.

My intent was to use ten layers of resin to create the painting, but I ended up stopping at five layers. Like I said, this one was an experiment, and unfortunately, I was too busy concentrating on the layers of resin and not paying close enough attention to the actual elements I was painting. Everything was fine until I painted this tree and this cloud on the same level.

…which of course, is ridiculous. A tiny little cloud would not be hovering inches able a tree like that. That cloud (and really, all clouds) should have been painted on one of the first layers, because any clouds that would be on the same resin layer as the second and third trees would be so high in the sky that they wouldn’t be seen in this landscape.

So that was my first lesson learned. All clouds should be on the first layers. If I were doing ten layers, I’d keep the clouds on the first three layers, and paint the trees on subsequent layers.

I tried to wipe the cloud off of that layer of resin with a damp cloth, but I sanded each layer of resin with 220-grit sandpaper before painting each layer just to get the paint to stick, and it wouldn’t wipe off completely. So having made that mistake, and still wanting another cloud in the sky I went ahead and repeated that mistake on the next layer. 😀 I painted this tree and this cloud on the same layer, which of course, is ridiculous….again.

But this was the whole reason I wanted to do this experiment. I knew I’d get the layers wrong on the first attempt, and now I can do another one and hopefully get them right.

My other mistake was painting on 1/4-inch MDF. With so many layers of resin drying on one side and nothing on the other, the MDF bowed just a bit. So next time I’ll try a 3/4-inch MDF so it’ll have more strength to prevent bowing.

And finally, I failed to put the painting on a level surface to dry, so one side is noticeably thicker than the other side. I’ll definitely be more careful with the next one. But this was definitely a fun experiment! I’d work on a layer in the evening before I went to bed, and by morning it would be dry.

In addition to my layered landscape, I also tried my hand at some resin petri dishes. You can find these all over YouTube, and I find them fascinating and mesmerizing. To make these, I simply poured four ounces of mixed resin into a round silicone mold (these are the ones I have), and then dropped various colors of alcohol inks onto the resin. (This is the set of alcohol inks that I bought.) And then I let the resin and alcohol ink do its thing, and in a few hours it was dry enough to pull it out of the mold to see what design it had created.

I was disappointed with my first attempt. I used magenta, white and gold, but I think I used too much ink, so the whole thing looked way too two-dimensional. I couldn’t see much depth to it at all, and I also hated the gold.

On my second attempt using the same colors, I tried to use less ink. And yet it still ended up being too opaque and two-dimensional, although there were a couple of spots where you could see a bit of dimension.

After those first two attempts, I decided to leave out the gold. It didn’t seem to mix and move like the other colors, and just left splotches. So next I used purple, white and black. And I could finally see some dimension.

And then I did an orange, white and black…

And then I started to get some really good results. This one was magenta, orange and white. And the center is really dimensional and beautiful on this one…

And then I tried a blue and white. This one also has a tremendous amount of depth to it, which I love.

So what does one do with resin petri dishes? Well, you can use them as coasters, use them as paper weights, display them individually on tiny little easels, or frame and mat them. You could hang one or create a gallery wall of them.

So I’m just beginning my resin art journey, and having a blast.



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  1. Love the petri dishes. I haven’t seen them before but they are beautiful. I think I see another hobby coming on. Your blog is very inspirational. Thanks

  2. That painting idea is cool. I have done painting using layers of glass. You can go back and repair/change layers more easily. Use a little silicone to separate the layers when you frame it.

  3. Crafty me has never seen much of this resin stuff and wow, is it exciting. I love the effects on the last few you showed. Beautiful.

  4. So pretty. The Petri dishes would look so nice hanging together on a wall. I especially like the more monotone ones. I wonder if it would be possible to make a larger one and use it as the the top for a small side table?

  5. Nice to see you are having some creative time. On your next attempt at the landscape note that a tree would not leave a shadow on the sky, just the terra firma behind it. With clouds on the first layer they will not leave a shadow which is good. Carry on. Looking fwd to your finished landscape art.

  6. Love these experiments! I’m not artistic at all with paints, although I do keep trying. I’m a lover of watercolor art, so I dabble with it without really knowing what I am doing! Some day I want to take some lessons, because it’s been so long since I learned a tiny bit in high school, and can’t remember a thing! Your experiments look perfect to my eye, until you started pointing out the goofs! Can’t wait to see your next ones!

  7. Saw this alcohol ink and resin on Facebook thought it was interesting but to see you do it is better because you show what is great and what isn’t. They always show perfection which as you know doesn’t come without many times doing it over and over. Very nice ideas

  8. I like the idea of making these into coasters! Have you ever noticed at home good stores, the flower/vase arrangements that have the resin to hold the flower in place are usually like $50+?? Even at Target, those things are so expensive. That was all I ever considered using resin for, to make my own flower decor! I like all of these ideas so much more 🙂

  9. With alcohol inks, the metallics need to be used very sparingly or they will take over your entire project. I have been playing with silver metallic and found that 2-3 drops depending on the size of your piece is all you need for a nice blend that doesn’t overwhelm your other colors. All your other pieces are beautiful.

  10. Wow, I really love your resin Petri dishes, they look amazing!!!!!!! I can picture a large one being used as a fruit plate, or just a gorgeous centre piece on a table, buffet or on a plate stand on a bookcase/shelf. Well done, great job.

  11. This post really resin-ates with me. 😉 😀 I LOVE resin and have done some on a more jewelry size with polymer clay (my favorite medium), but nothing like this. I like the painting of the layers. WOWZA! Anyhow this is fabulous and I love seeing your process of this fantastic medium. Thank you for sharing. 😀

  12. Maybe you could make stepping stones for your garden out of the resin.
    Or attach pvc make bird baths?
    Where do you find the time?
    I want to live next door to you maybe some of that energy will rub off on me😊
    You inspire me
    Beautiful work

  13. I love that you are SO persistent! Failing is part of the journey to success. Perfection is an illusion..Let it go!! I’m a musician from a family of musicians. We learned the Joy of practicing! I’m a retired music teacher now and still practicing.
    Thank you for teaching us that lesson applies to ALL creative endeavors!!

  14. Beautiful Kristi. I love the way you visualize color and depth. These are spectacular pieces. I bet you could have a booming Etsy shop. 🙂

  15. Dear Kristi, much as I love your blog, I believe you have been given an over-abundance of artistic skills, which resulted in me being given so little. This comment serves as a “letter of demand”. You are hereby notified to return a substantial portion of said talent to the Giver so that said talent can be distributed more fairly among the general populace. (sarc)

  16. Well, I know what I am making for Christmas gifts this year!
    Thanks for sharing, Kristi! In the spirit of sharing, I was going to find maps of significant places in my recipeints lives, like previous homes, colleges, where they got married, etc.

    Now I am on mission on how I might incorporate them with the resin!

    Also, interesting side note: Two of my roommates in college were ballerinas, they used to put resin and epoxy on their toe shoes to make them last longer.

  17. Ballard had some incredible agate curtain tie backs that I think these would be an amazing substitute for. You could customize your colors. It would require soma ingenuity to fasten them to the wall, though I’m sure you’d think of something.

  18. Wow! I never saw resin art before or didn’t realize what it was. These are awesome! I love all the dimension on the landscape artwork!

  19. So strange how the gold reads like polka dots! I love all the other colors, and even underneath the dots, the magenta looks very dimensional to me. Cool idea. Have you done any more of the liquid acrylic artwork lately? That is my absolute favorite. And would resin work over the top of any of those?

    1. I haven’t done any more, but I plan to very soon. I’ve got ideas I can’t wait to try! 🙂 And yes, those can be topcoated with resin. In fact, I’m planning to coat my entryway acrylic pour paintings with resin very soon.

  20. Is there a mold to make these a half sphere, or even a full sphere, cause THAT would be cool looking in a window sill or something. I also think you should send your samples you hate to your adoring fans (i.e. ME) cause I am in LOVE with the first samples you did! (Like for serious…)

  21. Idea for a small income stream that your fans would LOVE – make and sell resin landscapes, sell the resin Petri dishes you don’t like. Heck, sell all the “failed” (ha!) projects. We’d love them!

    Whatever became of the gorgeous green bowfront chest with the parquet drawer fronts?