Resin Art Tools For Beginners 
You've come to the right place if you've wanted to start a resin art project and don't know where to start! Crafting with resin has become increasingly popular, and you can make so many things, such as keychains, coasters, and paperweights. To do a good job, an artisan needs the best tools. Here are a list of the tools that you may need when you're making resin projects.
If you've never worked with resin before, you might be unsure where to start and have questions about where you can buy resin tools or what type of resin art supplies are best for beginners. Browse our resin starter kit!
Epoxy resin can be challenging to work with, and as a beginner user, you may not know where to begin and which tools to use. Because each resin tool has a distinct purpose, using the right tools for the job will save money, time, and effort.
Just because you're a beginner doesn't mean you will struggle to find the correct resin art supplies, as you can readily find these supplies online or at most local hardware stores, but you might already have a few of these in your home.
This guide will discuss each tool that's a basic requirement for working with epoxy resin. But first, do you know which resin type to use?
The Significance of Resin-Based Plastic Tools
When it comes to which resin supplies to use, you should use plastic tools when working with resin. The significance of plastic tools is that epoxy resin doesn't stick to plastic, making it easy to clean. The plastic tools can then be reused as often as you'd like. When cleaning off plastic resin tools, you have one of two options:
- Wet tools should be sprayed with isopropyl alcohol and wiped dry with a paper towel. To remove all traces of resin, repeat this step as many times as necessary. When the tools are clean and free of resin residue, wash them in hot soapy water and let them dry completely before reusing them.
- Allow the resin to cure overnight by laying wet tools on a plastic surface. The resin will easily peel off the next day.
Resin Art Supply Essentials
When working with epoxy resin, you'll need a few basic but essential tools. Let's look at the resin art supplies you'll need to apply epoxy resin as a surface coating in more detail:
1. IntoResin Epoxy Resin
Resin can be bought in multiple sizes, but it will depend on the size of your project. IntoResin epoxy resin are availbale in two size: 16oz and 32oz. If you're unsure how much resin to use, you can use IntoResin resin calculator that will indicate how much resin you will need for your project.
2. Respirator Mask
Not all resin is non-toxic, so you should wear a respirator mask when working with epoxy resin. Inhaling concentrated epoxy vapors can irritate your respiratory tract if done regularly or for long periods. Itching and swelling can occur when highly concentrated epoxy fumes are applied to sensitive skin areas such as the eyelids.
Epoxy resin allergies affect a small fraction of the population, similar to peanut allergies. Those allergic to it have varying degrees of discomfort and can range from contact dermatitis (swollen, itchy skin) to an allergic reaction akin to poison ivy.
Breathing very concentrated epoxy vapors over an extended period might cause respiratory discomfort. Therefore, use a respirator mask to stay safe! Ensure you're using a respirator approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and that it fits properly.
3. Old Clothes or Apron
Wear a rubber apron for extra protection or old clothes to protect your clothes from resin spills while you work. If you get resin on your clothes, getting it off can be pretty challenging! Wearing a long-sleeved shirt will also protect your skin from contact with the resin and prevent dermatitis and itchy skin. Tie your hair into a ponytail if you have long hair to keep the resin out of your hair.
4. Disposable Gloves
Disposable latex gloves protect your hands from resin and possible skin irritation. Resin is sticky and can be a mess when working with it. Try to keep a few gloves close by, as you may need to change them often. If you get some resin on your hand, wipe it off and wash your hands.
If you're looking for stronger and puncture-resistant gloves, nitrile gloves are better. They are similar to latex gloves, but they offer a lot more protection due to their strength and don't contain any of the allergens found in latex. If your skin is sensitive, you should also use a barrier lotion on your hands.
5. Safety Goggles
Safety glasses must be worn to protect your eyes from fumes and toxins or if you're sanding resin or using power tools. Safety glasses are inexpensive to protect your eyes as a preventative measure.
6. Masking Tape
To catch drips, tape the bottom of your artwork with good-quality painter's tape, especially if you want to resin the sides. Drips will begin to build around the bottom and edges, but the tape will catch the drips. After the resin is dry to the touch, remove the tape and the drips with it. If you want the resin to dome, tape the bottom for more protection to prevent it from spilling over the edges.
7. Plastic Drop Sheet
A plastic drop sheet can be found in a hardware store in the painting aisle and protects your floor and work surface from resin spills or drips. If you're looking for an inexpensive and alternative plastic drop sheet that can be used more than once, use a smooth, clear vinyl shower curtain.
Other alternatives include:
- a garbage bag cut and spread open
- a drawer liner
- a silicone mat
- kitchen parchment paper for smaller projects
To clean resin drips, you can use isopropyl alcohol and a paper towel to wipe them clean. If the resin drips dry out, you can peel them off the following day.
8. Plastic Measuring Cup
Use a plastic, graduated measuring cup or jug when measuring and mixing your resin. Resin and hardener won't cure if not correctly measured, so avoid making a mistake with estimating and instead use a cup with clearly indicated lines. Whether you measure the hardener or resin first makes no difference, as long as both parts are measured equally. When you're done mixing, turn the plastic measuring cup upside down on a plastic-lined surface to allow the resin to pool. The resin will have been set by the following day, so peeling it off will be easy. Your measuring cup or jug will then be ready for reuse.
9. Plastic Spreader
Although epoxy resin self-levels after pouring, a flat plastic spreader with a flat edge evenly distributes it over your artwork.
- If you want to apply resin to a small section of your project, you can do so with an old paintbrush, popsicle stick, or a toothpick.
- To set the resin in a dome on top of your artwork without spilling over the sides, move the resin to the edge by using a little spatula or a plastic take-out knife.
- A foam brush or your gloved hands can be used to apply resin to the sides of your work.
10. Plastic Container for Water Bath
Use a water bath to warm your resin if it's colder than room temperature before mixing it. To keep the bottles from tipping over, use a narrow container with high edges. Fill it halfway with warm water and soak the capped bottles for 10-15 minutes. You don't want to contaminate your resin with water since resin won't cure if it comes into contact with water. You can start measuring and mixing once your bottles have adequately dried before opening them.
11. Dust Cover
Before you start to resin, it's important to have a dust cover nearby and ready to use. This will prevent exposure to your freshly resined work if you need to step away for a moment while in the middle of your project. Wipe down the cover to remove any dust that can fall into your wet piece.
Cardboard boxes are riskier than plastic containers, as plastic containers are easy to wipe clean, while a cardboard box risks the flaps dropping into the resin. To prevent this from happening to your cardboard box, remove the flaps before you start.
12. Butane Torch
When working with epoxy resin, air bubbles are one of the most typical problems that people face, and they can appear at any time during the mixing process. These bubbles must be removed, or they'll cure and become part of your work. A flame torch will help get rid of bubbles in the resin.
It is time-consuming and ineffective to use a straw to blow them out or a toothpick to poke them. The heat produced by a hairdryer is less powerful than that produced by a butane or propane torch. When using a hairdryer, there's a potential that the air can blow around dust or hair, ruining the glass-like finish you may be after.
A heat gun is ideal when using silicone molds or resin containing alcohol ink. A heat gun will give you the heat you need, but you still run the risk of particles being stirred up by the air and combining with your wet resin. A butane or propane torch is the best way to get rid of bubbles in epoxy resin. Any hardware store will have butane and propane tanks.
13. Plastic Stir/Mixing Stick
To avoid sticky resin, you need to mix your resin well by stirring gently with a plastic stir stick. Because under-mixed resin will not cure correctly, scrape the bottom and sides of the container as you stir to ensure that all of the resin and hardener are blended. A plastic stir stick with a flat edge scrapes the container more efficiently and works better than a rounder object such as a spoon.
14. Hand Cleaner
If resin gets on your skin, you must wash it off as soon as possible to avoid skin irritation. Resin can cause sticky hands, but you can clean them with an exfoliating hand cleaner available from a hardware store. Alternatively, the resin can be removed by dry rubbing your hands with a tiny bit of poppyseeds or salt and some liquid soap, then rinsing well with water.
15. Paper Towel and Alcohol
Spills and clean-up can be cleaned using paper towels and isopropyl alcohol. Alcohol will break down resin residue so that it can be easily be wiped clean, so wipe any residual resin with a paper towel soaked in alcohol while wearing gloves. Before reusing your tools, wash them in hot, soapy water and properly dry them. Never use alcohol to wipe resin off your hands – alcohol breaks down the resin and can easily be absorbed into your skin. You must also never allow the resin to go down the sink!
When it comes to resining, toothpicks are a must-have. After torching your resin creation, inspect it at eye level under a light source, using your toothpick to pop bubbles or remove specks of dust or hair. They also help push tiny amounts of resin around or accurately insert inclusions like dried flowers or gemstones.
Experimenting With Resin
Now that you have a guideline of resin art supplies, you can start getting creative and experimenting with resin projects. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- To create petri dish art, drop alcohol ink into resin
- Make coasters and other small castings with silicone molds
- To make ocean art, layer several shades of blue and white-colored resin
- To make flow art, pour several shades of tinted resin
You'll need to purchase a few resin supplies to get creative. Let's look at what you will need to get the creative juices flowing.
17. Alcohol Ink
When creating petri dish resin art, a silicone mold can be used. You need to put alcohol ink drops into a silicone mold filled with mixed resin, then use a white ink sinker to press the colors downward into the resin. This will form swirls and tendrils and other amazing effects!
Alcohol ink is flammable, so keep that in mind. As a result, avoid using a torch when working with alcohol ink.
18. Silicone Molds
Silicone molds are available in various shapes and sizes and are ideal for casting small resin art pieces and can be found in your local grocery store or craft store. A silicone mold is flexible and can be peeled away from the resin cast, unlike a plastic mold that can rip or distort. It can also re-shape itself, and you can use it more than once.
Creating resin coasters in a mold Is perfect for beginners who are getting started, and you can add inclusions like colorful stones, shells, crystals, gems, and more.
When tinting epoxy resin, use a colorant formulated exclusively for use with resin, such as liquid colorant, for the best results. Mix the colorant into the resin until it is a uniform color. Don't use more than 6% of the overall amount of mixed resin and hardener; otherwise, your resin may not cure correctly.
Various colorants are available, including mica powder and liquid pigments, both giving an opaque look.
- Mica powder pigments:Mica powders have a shiny metallic effect and are often used in soap, cosmetics (eyeshadow and lip balm), and bath bombs.
- Liquid dye:These epoxy pigments in liquid form are primarily used in resin jewelry making and come in little 10ml dropper bottles. Only a few drops are typically required to produce a translucent color. They're perfect for pieces where you want the light to shine through, such as resin earrings or necklaces.
20. Hair Dryer and Heat Gun
Although a flame torch is usually recommended when creating flow art, you can use a hair drier and a heat gun on silicone molds.
However, there are three exceptions:
- Use a heat gun or a hairdryer on low to gently push the layers of colored resin together to create cells and lacing in flow art or ocean art. To pop any bubbles, finish with a swift flick of a flame torch.
- A flame can be too intense for silicone molds and potentially damage them, so it's best to use a heat gun instead.
- It's important to remember that alcohol is flammable when working with alcohol ink, and using a flame torch can result in a fire. The alcohol in the ink will usually pop bubbles in resin on its own, but a heat gun will do the trick if you need further help.
21. Metal Trays and Wood Panels
Epoxy resin is heavy, but you can support the weight with strong, durable substrates, such as wood panels.
The following are some examples of what you can do:
- When creating ocean art or flow art with a poured colored resin, cradled wood panels have a border to keep the resin contained. Another ideal solution would be to use metal serving dishes for this type of project.
- If you're looking for a modern aesthetic, you can mount prints, pictures, or paint straight onto the panel and cover it with resin.
- If you want to resin a stretched canvas, you need to strengthen the back with cardboard to prevent the material from sagging and the resin pooling in the center while it cures.
Your resin can sometimes cure with a bubble, a strand of hair, or a speck of dust. A fresh coat of resin will solve the problem, but you'll need to sandpaper the previous coat to roughen it up and offer a surface for the new resin to attach to. Sand the entire surface with coarse sandpaper, paying special attention to the area of concern. If you don't have sandpaper, you can use an electric sander or a sanding block. Don't worry if things get messy, as your artwork will look brand new after a fresh coat has been applied and everything is cleaned up.
The one thing more exciting than resin is embedding things in it! Inclusions are all the lovely little decorations you use to add sparkle, depth, and texture to your resin project. Colorful stones, gold leaf, charms, crystals, beads, 3D inclusions, and glitter can all be used to embellish your work.
You can arrange gold leaf flakes, add crushed glass or crystals to simulate geodes, use glitter to add depth and sparkle and make coasters out of dried flowers, shells, or beer caps. Various things can be added to the resin found in a craft store. Ensure your inclusions are dried and tested beforehand to achieve the desired finish.
24. Resin Trimming and Deburring Tool
It can take some time to learn how to work with resin, and having the right finishing tools is essential to how the finished product looks and feels. Every artist should have a trimming tool kit handy to clean the edges of your piece once the resin has cured.
Use a deburring tool to trim edges by effortlessly swiveling the tip around and inside crevices and over holes without having to sand it. Ensure you have a resin trimmer in your kit to remove any sharp edges. These tools are easy to use and cut your time in half when refining your work for a flawless finish.
Whether you're a beginner resin user or experienced, following resin safety measures and procedures is essential. Ensure you have all the safety gear needed to prevent future health issues.
It takes a lot of preparation before embarking on a resin art project, but you will see it's all worth it with the right resin art supplies and tools! If you want to learn more about resin and its uses, it's recommended to attend a beginner's resin course, where you will learn about various techniques.