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My First Experience With Pouring Resin (And A Few Tips I Learned Along The Way)

I follow quite a few resin artists on Instagram, and I’ve been chomping at the bit to give resin a try myself. One person I follow (whose name I can’t remember for the life of me) uses a brand of resin that allows you to pour it as thick as you want in one pour. If you want it two inches thick, you can do it all in one pour. But after searching and searching, I couldn’t find the name of the artist or the brand of the resin.

So I debated between the two brands that I see being used most often — ArtResin and EcoPoxy. I finally decided to give ArtResin a try simply because it seems to be the most popular among artists. I ordered mine directly from the company’s website, but you can also find it on Amazon.

I decided to try it out on my pixel artwork. When I first made this picture, I had intended to do a resin coating on the top. Then I chickened out. But when I my resin arrived, I was anxious to try it and didn’t want to take the time to make something else to try it out on, so I went back to the pixel picture.

For some reason, I found resin to be intimidating before I started, but as soon as I got started, I realized that it wasn’t really that big of a deal. I just mixed 1:1 resin and hardener in a 64-ounce plastic mixing tub that I got at in the paint department at Home Depot, and I mixed it with a wood stir stick that they give you at the paint desk. After mixing for three minutes, I was ready to pour.

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It took three layers to get it thick enough to completely cover the wood beads, but just look at this glossy, watery resin coating!

I’ll admit that the first layer was a bear. The company says that each layer should be about 1/8 inch thick, which requires 4 ounces of mixed resin per square foot. But that’s for flat items, and obviously, I was dealing with a very textured piece. So I didn’t follow the directions, and I definitely regretted it. Instead of sticking with the 4 ounces per square foot rule of thumb, I instead mixed enough to come just to the tops of the wood beads on the first layer.

And oh my gosh, the bubbles!! There were so many bubbles. Of course, that was mainly due to the nature of this piece, since each wood plug is shaped like a mushroom and air easily gets trapped under the mushroom tops and then slowly leaks out. But I spent about an hour torching the thing with my Bernzomatic propane torch that I bought at Home Depot. I would torch the entire thing, wait about five minutes, and torch again. For an entire hour. And even then, I still didn’t get all of the bubbles out.

In fact, I even made this one area worse…

There were so many bubbles in this one area that I lingered a little too long with the torch, which is a big no-no with resin. If you linger too long in one area, you risk actually scorching the resin. In my experience, that doesn’t mean that it changes the color, but it means that in a matter of two seconds, it forms a ton of bubbles and then hardens the top, destroying any chance of actually getting rid of the bubbles.

So, lesson learned. When using the torch, you want to move very quickly over the top and never linger in an area with the flame.

The next two layers were very different since they were flat and didn’t have to fill in between the wood beads. I mixed the resin according to the 4-ounces-per-square-foot suggestion, and it worked out beautifully. And on these flat layers, I just went over the whole thing once with the torch and was done. The flat layers didn’t require repeated torching.

I did a total of three layers. After the first layer, I left it to dry overnight before doing another coat. But I waited about five hours between coats two and three, and then left that to dry about 12 hours. It’s dry at this point, but I can tell that it’s not cured. Kind of like latex paint when it’s dry but not cured, it still has that slight tacky feeling like something would stick to the surface if I set something on it. On resin this thick, I think it’ll take several days (up to 10, I think they say) to fully cure.

I just love this watery, glassy, glossy finish, and now I want to resin ALL the things! 😀

For beginners like myself, I definitely suggest starting out with a completely flat surface. That’ll give you the best opportunity for success, and as long as you stick with the recommended thickness per coat (1/8 inch per coat for ArtResin) and very quickly torch the the surface to remove the bubbles, it’s pretty much a no-fail project.

But of course, if you start out with something really textured like I did, then you’ll probably face some frustration. So do as I say and not as I do. 😀 Start with something flat and easy, and work your way to the more challenging stuff.

Like I said, I’ve been putting off resin projects because the product seemed intimidating to me. But now that I know how easy it is, I have about a hundred ideas I’d love to try out.

I can’t wait to play around with it more. There are tons of resin ideas and inspiration on Instagram. Just search the hashtag #resinart and you’ll get inspiration overload.



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50 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment
    Eric J
    July 2, 2018 at 10:22 am

    I used to work at a resin company it’s important to remember to do a seal coat first and then you can do your main pour that’s how you got so many bubbles as you mentioned in your post.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 2, 2018 at 10:26 am

      Is that where you actually brush it over the surface? After I did this piece, I started reading literature from other companies, and one of them mentioned a seal coat. Interestingly, I didn’t see anything about a seal coat on the ArtResin website or the instructions that came with the resin. I wish I would have known ahead of time!

      • Reply To This Comment
        Eric J
        July 2, 2018 at 10:45 am

        Here is the company and their instruction video. They also have a great tech support line.

        I did a very similar resin project as yours with Skittles unfortunately the video has not been published yet.

        https://youtu.be/JAcxem55nLc

        Feel free not to publish this comment if it looks like free advertising.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Margo
    July 2, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Very cool! Can’t wait to see what else you resin.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Kathy
    July 2, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Ok – it’s back in the music room – what gives? Have you made an upholstery decision?

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 2, 2018 at 10:28 am

      I wanted to see it hanging on the wall, and the music room is where the French cleat is installed. 🙂 I haven’t made final decisions, but I have ordered about 10 different fabric samples and they should be here tomorrow.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Vicky Henson
    July 2, 2018 at 10:43 am

    I love it! You amaze me every week!!

  • Reply To This Comment
    AinOakPark
    July 2, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Glad to know resin can be a great DIY even for beginners (and you learned the lesson for us!). I am, however, amazed that you put resin over your project because now you can’t change anything! Not that anything needs changing – it’s just that you do seem to change/adapt/rethink/re-purpose a lot of things, and the finality of this just doesn’t seem like you. It looks great!

    • Reply To This Comment
      Heidi G
      July 2, 2018 at 6:29 pm

      I think she won’t be able to take the bubbles and start from scratch with a whole new pixel art! 😜

  • Reply To This Comment
    Irene Schwemlein
    July 2, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Just wondering if the multiple coats of resin add a lot to the weight of the piece?

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 2, 2018 at 10:57 am

      It definitely added a few pounds. It was heavy before, but I could still lift it and hang it myself. But after the resin, I couldn’t lift it myself. I had to have help. But this is a very big piece — about 45 inches square with three layers of resin on it. So for smaller pieces, it’ll add weight, but not a significant amount.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Theresa P
    July 2, 2018 at 10:51 am

    You are crazy brave! There is no way that my first DIY resin project would be something that I had spent 4,000 hours making by hand! I’d find some kind of dried leaf or something else small and relatively flat. You are crazy!

    I really liked how it turned out! This piece hasn’t been my favorite. I kept it to myself, because I didn’t want to get too negative. I like it better now.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Lynette
      July 2, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      LOL! Dried leaf is about my ability/comfort level too:)

  • Reply To This Comment
    Susan
    July 2, 2018 at 10:52 am

    I love seeing it hanging in the Music room!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Guerrina
    July 2, 2018 at 10:53 am

    I love this, Kristi!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Linda in Atlanta
    July 2, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Krisiti, Your resin post is so coincidental. I spent part of my weekend looking at multiple videos of resin countertops and furniture tops. I came across one for Legarri Epoxy and after watching several videos using this product, the company touts that you don’t need to use a blow torch with their product because it includes an additive that actually causes the air bubbles to pop on their own. They do say to stir it in one direction and stir from the bottom to keep the air bubbles from forming in the first place.

    I absolutely love the look and sleekness of epoxy and plan on using it in the future. And although, I can say that their claim in true but I think I am going to try it when I gather up my nerve to do so. The thought of pouring a sticky substance that overflows to the floor (albeit covered), does cause me some hesitation but KUDOS to you for doing that to your pixel artwork! It looked fabulous before and but it looks even better now and you’ll never have to worry about any of the individual wood pieces ever coming off. I can’t wait to see what other epoxy projects you have coming!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Jennifer Vallot
    July 2, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Despite the bubbles (which you would probably have to look really close to see), I think it is beautiful. This could be one way of using old cross-stitch and needlepoint patterns. I love the idea of what you have done here.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Rebecca Neustel
      July 4, 2018 at 11:53 am

      I thought the same thing about using needlepoint patterns. I have some really beautiful ones I’d like to try this with. Of course, I wouldn’t do anything this big!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Em
    July 2, 2018 at 11:13 am

    OH. MY. GOSH! You are SUCH a daredevil! I can’t even believe you spent so many hours on that beautiful artwork and then did a “first try” on it!

    SO happy it worked out for you, though.

    I think you should add “without a net” to your blog title, haha!

    Have you seen the geode resin art? And the geode tables? Sister, you (and we, the watchers) are in for some fun!

    • Reply To This Comment
      Em
      July 2, 2018 at 11:14 am

      It DID come out beautifully, BTW.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 2, 2018 at 11:56 am

      Oh, I’ve seen them. I’m working my way up to stuff like that. I did this plain resin pour to get the feel for it. But now I’m ready to start getting creative with it. 😃

      • Reply To This Comment
        susang
        July 2, 2018 at 5:28 pm

        have you tried unicorn spit? the techniques look really interesting

  • Reply To This Comment
    Elaine Walton (aka FineArtGirl)
    July 2, 2018 at 11:31 am

    I’m a mixed media artist who uses lots of resin to encapsulate kitsch in my artwork. When you’re trying something new for the first time, it’s always a good idea to start small and on a not-so-great piece to avoid unknown issues. Too bad I didn’t take my own advice when I first started doing resin, either, so we both learned the same lesson about seal coats! To see more of my resin work, check out my “Marilyn Monroe” piece here: https://imgur.com/a/xI9muvR and http://www.elainewalton.net

  • Reply To This Comment
    Winnie
    July 2, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Just a quick note. If you’ve pouring resin on something small, just gently blow on it to
    get rid of the bubbles. I’ve done it several times.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Jana
    July 2, 2018 at 11:36 am

    Looks good! I really like the effect. But I hope you laid it flat again until it compleatly cures. I’d hate to see it slump. I had that happen with a thick pour of resin.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Marianne in Mo.
      July 2, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      I too hope you laid it flat after the photo. Can’t believe you spent sooo much time making this, and then took a chance on the resin! I’m sure you had a lot of confidence after seeing so many videos though. Very scary, but it is awesome now!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Carol
    July 2, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Actually, I love seeing it back in the music room. To me, it looks too small in the large expanse of purple in the entry hall. I thought the triptych has the perfect ratio and looked so nice above the credenza. But I’ve learned to trust your instincts, since your house is lovely!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Jennifer
    July 2, 2018 at 11:55 am

    I CANNOT BELIEVE you had the courage to put resin on something you put so much work, so many hours into. It really just blows my mind.

    I really like it though.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Peggy
    July 2, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Are you going to be able to live with the reflective glare?

  • Reply To This Comment
    mimi
    July 2, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Have you thought if turning the pixel art piece so the green stem is at the bottom edge? Then it would appear as if the flower was growing upwards on top of the green stem. Just a thought.

    I love your home and style. Your projects always inspire me to be more creative and take risk with decorating.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 2, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      Nope. 🙂 The photograph I used had the flower bending over to the side, so that’s how I see it. And the blue sky is at the top. If I flipped it, it would look strange to me.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Susan C
    July 2, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Love it! And happy to see it back in the music room!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Leslie
    July 2, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    You are an adventuress for sure. But it turned out very well.

  • Reply To This Comment
    chiflipper
    July 2, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    I also love resin artwork…but…you have to be careful about exposing them to direct sunlight because the resin “yellows” over time.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Adele
      July 2, 2018 at 1:48 pm

      Then that would be a good argument for leaving it in the music room, wouldn’t it?

      I have a resin paperweight that was made for me by someone I love. After many years of sitting on my desk, which gets direct sunlight, it is very yellow and dirty-looking. I wish I had known exposure to sunlight did that–I would have taken more care.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mary
    July 2, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I really liked this piece when you first made it. Seems pretty challenging. I even downloaded the app to check it out. My first thought was how dusty it would get in between the little dots but now that you’ve put the resin on you solved that problem. I would not have tried it on such a special piece not knowing the outcome. You are pretty gutsy to try it. Looks good!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Jane
    July 2, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    It looks really cool! My one advice about resin is that it is pretty toxic while it is curing. I had the experience where I became sensitized to the chemicals in it and feel slightly nauseous anytime I’m around uncured resin. I would consider letting it dry completely in the studio space before putting it in your house.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Margie E
    July 2, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    WOW! I love it! Bubbles and all! Thank you for the tips as I have a resin project of my own to finish!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mary
    July 2, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    You dare to go where no man/woman has dared to go. You are amazing🤗

  • Reply To This Comment
    Ann Rourke
    July 2, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    This may be a stupid question but what keeps the resin from seeping out of the frame? Was it that air tight or is the resin just that thick?
    Thanks!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sherry
    July 2, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    Art Resin was a good choice. I only use their resin because there almost no VOCs. With some you neeed a respirator and good ventilation because of the fumes which can cause headaches etc. Another good thing with Art Resin is it was designed by artists, for artists and 1/8 “ is all that is needed to cover most artwork. It also has special ingredients in it that really helps it to not yellow over time. Some brands even look slightly amber in the bottle so I never use those.
    If you want to cast something that involves a mold and thick layers you should get a resin brand designed for the purpose. Master Cast comes to mind.

    Your tryptic will look stunning with resin over it. Every poured artwork will look naked next to ones that are resined.

    Just a hint in a house with dogs, cars and renovations going on..it is crucial to make a card board cover or turn a plastic bin upside down or place an empty box upside down on your work as soon as you have finished checking for bubbles. If a stray cat hair or piece of sawdust gets blown onto the incured surface it will stick to the resin and be there for life. Or you will end up sanding the whole thing down to remove the offending flotsam and then need to recoat it with resin to get the shine back.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Brie
    July 2, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Could you include costs for the resin? My first though was “wow, that looks so good” and then i thought “would glass have looked different?” The more i look at the pictures, the more i wonder the difference in both looks and cost. Obviously resin has its advantages for filling odd shapes and deep holes but in this case it just seemed like glass might have worked equally well. Either way it looks fab and needed to keep the dust out of it.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Rebecca Neustel
      July 4, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      Glass wouldn’t have given depth to the piece like resin does. Looking at a dimensional piece like this that has been resined, it appears as though you’re looking down into a pool. Glass would just render it flat.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Seattle Sue
    July 2, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    Also since you mentioned it takes time to cure, are you laying it flat so it doesn’t end up with gravity pulling it down towards the bottom of the picture?

  • Reply To This Comment
    Rebecca Neustel
    July 4, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Ooh, I can see all the possibilities! Your studio just has to get finished. lol

  • Reply To This Comment
    chiflipper
    August 20, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    I just rcv’d a quote from Lumicore (resin panel) = heart attack $$$$. If Kristi can do it…maybe I can too?

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