8 ESSENTIAL Resin Supplies For Beginners | 2023
Resin crafting is an intriguing form of art that produces gorgeous, highly glossy pieces in the form of jewelry, geodes, river tables, coasters, cutting boards and more. If you have ever considered getting into resin art, some of the questions you might have include:
- What do I need to start making resin art?
- What kind of resin should I buy for my project?
- What brand of resin should I purchase?
- What is the easiest resin craft to start working on?
We are going to answer those questions for you and set you up for a successful resin journey.
Essential Resin Supplies (No matter what resin craft you are doing)
There are the essential resin casting supplies you should buy no matter what kind of resin art you are working with, and those include (for any and all resin work):
- Resin safety supplies (proper gloves and resin mask)
- A proper heat gun for resin (to remove bubbles)
- A drop cloth (to protect floor from spilled resin)
- Some small silicone molds (to use any excess resin, we don't want it to go to waste)
Now let's get into the more specific resin supply list for your specific resin goals.
Resin Art Supplies for Beginners
Let's start with your resin supply list of what you will need to buy, to make resin art.
Resin art supplies: here are the resin supplies we will talk about in this article. In each category below, we will share the best products and the proper products for you to consider including the essential resin supplies as well as your optional resin casting supplies, like colorants and inclusions.
- Resin safety gear
- Epoxy resins
- Mixing cups
- Stir sticks
- Resin colorants
- Resin molds
- Heat gun
- Glitter and inclusions
Let's discuss each item more in-depth.
1. Resin Safety Gear
When working with resin, the most important items you can purchase are the proper safety items and personal protective equipment (PPE) for working with resin.
These are some simple tools that will work for any kind of epoxy work and resin castings; whether you need them for when you pour resin, mix resin and hardener together, or are doing resin sanding. We can't stress enough how important it is to have the right safety equipment.
A Proper Respirator For Resin
The most important tool for resin safety you can own, is the right respirator for epoxy resin work.
When working with resin, wearing the proper respirator mask is the only way to protect yourself from the fumes produced during the resin mixing process, the resin pouring or casting, curing and sanding.
Even if you are working with a "non-toxic" resin, there are still vapors (odorless or not) that you want to keep out of your lungs and respiratory tract.
The right respirator mask for epoxy resin should feature these three things:
- it should be easily adjustable around the face and head and make a good seal
- the filters on a proper respirator mask for resin must be able to filter organic gasses and organic vapors
- The respirator must have an N95 or equivalent rating
Organic vapors are typically liquids that evaporate quickly and become vapors such as paint solvent, varnish, and resin.
The respirator that works best for resin work is this full face respirator with organic filters.
It is the one we use and have been using for years (see my picture below, I am also putting on nitrile gloves in this photo).
You can also wear their half face respirator if having a full face mask is not preferable to you; a half face will protect your respiratory tract and lungs but not your eyes.
We recommend purchasing directly from the company as there are knock off's out there, plus, you get a 1 year warranty when purchased directly from the company. You also have 30 days to return it if you want, as well as free shipping.
Here are the ones we personally use:
These specific respirators are easily adjustable and seal around the face. Most importantly, their filters protect lungs from organic vapors which is what you need for resin fumes and they are N95 equivalent.
Proper safety gloves to wear when working with resin are nitrile or vinyl. Latex gloves are meant for medical practice and protect hands from viruses and bacteria, and are not made for chemical interactions.
Nitrile gloves are comfortable and they come in different sizes for your hands so they fit nicely.
We recommend getting a box of disposable gloves (we personally prefer nitrile, but it is up to you whether you prefer nitrile or vinyl) and having them in your working resin area. They are great to grab and put on for when you pour resin, mix resin or do any resin work at all.
Just be sure to check the size before you purchase a box as they normally come sized.
2. Epoxy Resin
If you are starting with pouring resin, there are a few resin brands that are best for beginners.
ArtResin is a "non-toxic" resin, and many resin brands say they are non-toxic but once the resin and hardener is mixed they still create fumes that can be dangerous. It is best to always wear a respirator when working with any resin despite it being "non-toxic".
However, in saying that, ArtResin is on the lower end of resins that have strong odors.
ArtResin has a 1:1 mixed resin ratio by volume, so that makes it quite easy to pour resin and measure it. *Do not measure it by weight, pour resin by volume, so this means (example): pour 1 cup hardener to 1 cup resin and mix.
ArtResin comes in many different sizes and is great for many resin projects except for deep casts. You can still use it as a casting resin for non-deep resin pours like coasters or resin jewelry.
So you can experiment with ArtResin and make resin jewelry, coasters, cutting boards, resin tumblers, do some resin painting and many more resin crafts.
Alumilite Clear Cast Resin
This is a brand of resin that is also 1:1 mixing ratio, however, it has a stronger odor than ArtResin. It also comes in different sized packages so you can purchase one that is best for your needs.
Also like ArtResin, it is good for a variety of projects like resin crafts, jewelry, coasters, geode resin art and more. Use it as a casting resin for your silicone molds for many different epoxy projects.
This also makes a great finishing resin if you want to add a glossy resin surface to a project or make some resin painting or pouring projects.
3. Mixing Cups
Silicone mixing cups
When you are looking for resin tools like mixing containers for resin, you can purchase silicone cups if you want to be more environmentally conscious and reuse your cups.
If you choose to use silicone cups, to clean them you will let your resin harden in them and then peel it out once you have cured resin in them.
Plastic Mixing Cups (Reusing Food Containers | PLEASE READ THIS SECTION FIRST)
Plastic cups are nice if you want to reuse your old food containers, but there is something you need to know about which cups you can use for resin, and which you can't.
If you are reusing a plastic food container or cup for resin, here is how to make sure it will be safe in regards resin heat tolerance:
If you flip your plastic cup over and look at the bottom, you may notice a little symbol: a triangle with three arrows, and it says "PP 05" underneath it. This means it is reusable. You may find that symbol on Jell-o containers, yogurt cups, other food containers like baby food or fruit cups, etc.
The "PP" on the bottom of a cup stands for polypropylene. It means the container was made with a thermoplastic polymer. It is a strong composition of plastic material with high resistance to heat.
Here is a photo from Wikipedia detailing the code looks like:
You can reuse cleaned containers with this symbol for mixing your resin in, and your leftover resin should peel out like it does with the any silicone cup.
Coated Cardboard Mixing Cups
We are talking about the Dixie kind of mixing cups here for your resin tools for mixing.
You can purchase a pack of them and if you want to be really set up, you can also buy the cup holder that goes on the wall so the cups come out one at a time and there is always a clean one ready for you.
4. Epoxy Stir Sticks
The easiest option for having stir sticks is to purchase wooden sticks like popsicle sticks. They are easy to use and you can buy them in large packs. We like to have these on hand as a backup, but prefer silicone mixing sticks for these resin tools.
Silicone stir sticks are great for epoxy resin because you can let the resin cure on them, them take the hardened resin off once it it dried and hardened and reuse them.
5. Resin Colorants
There are so many different things you can color resin with, but no matter which resin colors and colorants you choose, always follow the rule of adding no more than 10% colorant to resin.
Here are some of the most common resin colorants and how they make your epoxy look, from our own experience.
Mica powder is a very popular colorant for resin.
Mica is made from rocks and minerals and typically has a pearlescent quality to it. It also dries quite opaque, so keep that in mind in case you want a see-through quality to your resin piece. Mice will typically not be se-through once it cures in resin.
Acrylic paint is a great way to add color to resin as well, and like mica, it is very opaque in its finish. Again, and this is typically speaking, paint does not have a very see-through finish, just a very slight transparency.
Alcohol inks add beautiful color to resin and what is quite unique about alcohol ink in epoxy, is that he resin is typically still quite see-through when it dries. So if you are going for a colored resin look where you want to see a design underneath the resin, or you want to showcase an inclusion in colored resin like a dried flower, alcohol ink is your best bet.
Just make sure you are going for base colors in alcohol ink and not the metallics or the pearlescent finishes if you want that see-through quality.
Makeup (Pressed Powder)
Crushed, pressed powder makeup will act the same way a mica does, although it won't be as highly pigmented.
So if you are looking for some soft color that might come off as pearlescent, you can always try dry, crushed, pressed powder makeup. Just make sure you fully crush it so there are no lumps or clumps.
6. Resin Molds
There are many different resin molds you can buy, and it is great to have some different ones on hand for any resin project, as you can always put your leftover resin into one! It is great if you don't have to waste your excess resin.
Here are some resin molds for different projects:
Resin Jewelry Molds
There are some great resin jewelry molds out there that you can make all different shapes and sizes for resin jewelry.
If you are looking for a flat resin jewelry mold that you can make resin necklaces in, then check these ones out. You can pour your resin into these molds and they already have a pre-made hole to string your chain through.
If resin bracelets sound more interesting, here are some resin bracelet molds. You can put your dried flowers right into the molds and pour your resin into it to make beautiful bracelets.
Resin Geode Molds
Do resin geodes looks so amazing and fun to try? What is so great about resin geodes, is that there really is no wrong way to make a geode. Pick out your colors, your glitter, and your gemstones and go ahead and pour. Once you are finished, you can draw your geode lines using a proper paint pen for resin. These can hang on your wall or you can stand them up with a photo frame. Resin geodes are super popular.
Resin Coaster Molds
Resin coaster molds come in basically two shapes. You can purchase circular resin coaster molds, or you can get a pack of 4 coaster molds for resin that together make a circle.
Resin coasters are really fun to make as you can bring your aesthetic right into the coaster design. Want to bring elements of green into your living room? Try some different shades of green with gold accents in your resin coasters.
Resin Pendant Molds
Resin pendants are really nice to make. Those are the long, crystal-looking pendants that you wear around your neck. You can make them mimic a crystal if you want, for example, by using a soft pink mica mixed with a pearl mica to mimic the look of rose quartz. Or, you might want a see-through pendant that is tinted a color, so you would use an alcohol ink to color your resin and put it in the mold.
7. A Heat Gun
A heat gun it important to have when you are making resin art. It is the tool that will take all of the air bubbles out of your resin. Use your heat gun after you pour your resin into the mold or onto your surface. This is the last step you will do before your resin cures.
Make sure you choose the best heat gun for resin. Some heat guns can get too hot and burn your resin. You want one that will give you an even heat; hot enough to bring air bubbles to the surface and then pop, but not too hot that it scorches or melts your work and silicone mold.
8. Glitter And Inclusions
Glitter for resin is a fun way to enhance your resin jewelry and art. You can choose iridescent glitter, large and chunky glitter, fine and micro glitter and any color of glitter. It is important to try to remember that no more than 10% rule though.
Start with a bit of glitter and add more as you go. Adding too much can also alter the consistency of your resin, if not, alter the chemical composition which would result in either sticky spots in your cured resin, or a cure that is not as hard to the touch. It is also good to choose glitters that are for resin.
Inclusions can really be anything. Whatever you want to put in your resin is typically fair game, so long as it is completely dry and will not spoil or decompose. Many people use decorative stones or crushed glass, but just be sure to do so safely if you want to include this in your piece.
If you want to include dried flowers for resin or leaves or butterfly wings, they have to be totally dry.
The best way to dry flowers for resin is by using the Microfleur. it will dry whatever flower or leaf you want to include in your resin in minutes in the microwave, and it is a very hand tool to have as a resin artist.
If you don't have a Microfleur, there are other ways to dry flowers for resin. Check out How To Dry Flowers from our friends over at The Farmers Cupboard.
Well, we hope that you found this article really useful in starting your journey in resin art!
Here are some more resources you may be interested in:
MORE HELPFUL ARTICLES
Resin How To's
Resin Supplies & Purchasing Advice
Best Resin For Your Project
USE RESIN SAFELY
No matter what type of resin you decide to use, always use personal protective equipment (PPE). Take time to carefully go over safety data sheets before making anything with resin, and make sure you have the proper gloves on (not latex) and the right respirator for resin protection.
And please remember, even if your epoxy resin of choice is "VOC-free, odor free" and/or "non toxic", please always wear the proper respirator for epoxy resin.
Here is the BEST respirator mask for epoxy resin: this Full Face Organic Vapor Respirator checks off all of the boxes for resin safety, and comes with
- free 30 day returns
- a 1 year factory warranty
- free US shipping and free shipping on international orders
Here it is:
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