Do you ponder about that perfect color and speculate what to mix or blend to get that flawless color for your epoxy resin? Or asked yourself the question, is the color medium safe to use and what results will it yield?
If you answer is yes to the above, we ask you to continue reading this blogpost as we welcome you once again to our blog, and new lesson, where we will be educating you on what to use to color your resin, how to add color, tips and tricks of coloring and the dos and don’ts of epoxy resin.
Can You Color Epoxy Resin?
YES!!! Epoxy resin is very suitable for coloring and is often used by artists, craftsmen and do-it-yourselfers. Epoxy resin is usually transparent to crystal clear and this is also desired for some applications, for example to cast in objects.
For many other applications, however, it is useful or desired to color the liquid. In the previous article titled, what is epoxy resin art? we mention quite a bit about coloring your epoxy resin and what to use and not to use. There are various types of coloring methods and products that can be used for your coloring.
How Do You Add Color To Clear Resin?
Often used in its colorless form to coat and protect, it’s an artist most powerful tool in bringing a piece of art to life, it is also resplendent in colored form. Before going through the tutorial of adding colors to your resin it is commonly asked if you can mix colors of another brand to your epoxy resin, and the answer is yes but the final color may not be perfect, as the ratio to mix may be different. However to get the best results when coloring resin, use colorants designed specifically to color the resin you are working with.
There are two reasons for this:
- By using the same brand of resin and colorants, you can be assured that your resin is going to cure the way you expect. This means that the resin should not cure any differently (hardness, clarity, etc.) than without the colors added.
- Colors designed specifically for a brand of resin should also cure with that color. i.e. the colors shouldn’t fade or turn a different color once added to the resin.
Some Steps to take when adding color to your resin:
- Be sure to pour both in separate cups/containers to ensure that you are using the correct measurements as instructed by the manufacturer.
- Ensure the colors being used are highly concentrated or highly pigmented so as not to change the ratio of your mixture too much. Also ensure that the sides of the container and the stick used for mixing are scraped of all resin to get the full mixture and perfect integration.
- Always remember when mixing to ensure your pigment or dye blends well with your clear resin, combine a small amount first and then you may move to a larger amount. It is advised that you also do a mini test mix before your main project.
- This cannot be said enough NEVER use paints or dyes that consist of water. This is so as it can negatively impact your mixture.
What Can You Use To Color Epoxy Resin?
Epoxy resin without any added colorants tends to end up with a slightly yellow hue that leaves much to be desired for most people. However, by adding liquid or powdered colorant to epoxy, you can create aesthetically appealing resin that can be used to enhance your do-it-yourself projects or add color to chairs, tabletops and other furniture items around the house. You can use traditional colorants, such as paints and inks, or even experiment with various household items to make your resin more imaginative and artistic.
Many questions surround this area but, I want to start by saying not all coloring agents should be used on your epoxy mixture as some may negatively affect the outcome of your finished product. A common example is if your color choice contains oil or water, the mixing ratio of your epoxy and its harder changes, it can also present a finish where it is spotted, dull, or never completely dries.
Color Pigment For Epoxy Resin
Color pigments are a safe way to color resin. Color pigments are available in different versions from normal, matte colors to metallic pigments that shimmer. An important note here is color pigments have a high light resistance so that they do not fade. If you use high quality pigments, you only need a small amount. It gives credit to that old saying, “a little goes a long way.” No name products should definitely be avoided here.
For the additional wow-effect you can also use luminous pigments which glow in the dark. There are both pigments that glow under black light and those that are “charged” by UV light and then glow in the dark. Color pigments in powdered form do not dissolve completely resulting in an exciting and beautiful granular optical effect.
You can also create exciting effects with glitter powder in all variations from classic metallic glitter to holographic glitter, there are no limits to your fantasy. These do not color your casting resin, but gives your work an additional eye-catching effect.
Liquid Epoxy Resin Dye
Resin dye is available in both liquid and paste. In the world of colors and paints, there are some colors that are specifically reserved for the unique art of epoxy resin (in resin dye). These dyes/ink are naturally processed for bringing out the best in your art and artistic coloring and are manufactured by companies of the art.
One of the best-known products of this type is the so-called ResinTint from ArtResin. This product not only meets the highest quality requirements but is also very economical to use. Products like this are in many cases based on a pre-polymer. Earlier we informed you of oil or water other products may contain that may disturb the ratio of your epoxy mix. This is notable because epoxy resins also contain polymers and therefore the resin colors of this category can be mixed very well with the epoxy resins.
Acrylic paint consists of a variety of ingredients such as water, binding agents, color pigments and often other additives to make the paint last longer depending on the manufacturer and the product.
While it is not recommended to deviate from the linage that was made for the art, you will find quite a number of professional artist do use acrylic paints. Our advice if you decide to use, is to use one part (you may also use less) acrylic paint to ten parts epoxy resin.
Please note that acrylic paints do have water in them and can cause your art to be somewhat rubbery, may not cure, or even bend in the curing process.
Tip & Tricks For Coloring Epoxy Resin
This list consists of what is done once your colorant is added to your clear mixture and the mixing ratio of resin and hardener changes. With all things, we may have issues arising that we did not expect so here are a few tips to consider:
- Only use highly pigmented or concentrated paints in order not to negatively influence the mixing ratio.
- First test with a small amount of resin and paint to see if both the color and the reaction of the resin meet your expectations.
- The paints used should not contain water, as this can have a very negative effect on the mixing ratio between resin and hardener.
- Coloring resin does not replace UV protection. The yellowing of epoxy resins without UV protection is of course less noticeable than that of uncolored, transparent resin, but the lack of protection can cause the color to fade and the yellowing changes the shade.
- Try to get a feeling for the properties of the pure epoxy resin and its handling. If you know how the resin reacts when uncolored it is easier to estimate how it might react in combination with the color medium.
A Quick Tutorial On Coloring Resin:
- In all cases, the first step is to ensure that your area is cleared and prepared for your job to begin. Always protect your work area from excess spills by covering with cardboard, newspaper, or plastic. This allows your cleaning routine to be much easier and faster once the work is done.
- All items / tools / materials that you will be working with are to be within close reach. The first thing to always recall in working with your epoxy resin mix, time is of importance. Resin curing starts once resin and hardener are mixed and also your resin cures faster in small amounts.
- One’s health is most important, hence we advise all artists to wear protective gear. This includes nitrile gloves, protective breathing mask and goggles, and also clothing that covers your skin.
- As with the process of curing regular epoxy, the process of how to color two part epoxy is virtually the same. The epoxy and the hardener should still be mixed in the 1:1 ratio, or per the directions on the package or manufacturer’s specifications, all manufacturers ratios may vary according to the chemical combination.
- In this step, it is all about you and your desired color/shade. Once step four is correctly done then add your paint concentrate or pigment in small amount and mix well. Always start by adding a small amount of color to your clear mix then gradually add color(s) until your desired color is achieved.
- No matter which colorant you choose, do not exceed 6% colorant to the total volume of Resin as this will affect the delicate balance needed for the chemical reaction to occur properly.
Epoxy Resin Color: All Color Media In Portrait
In this area, we will be taking a look at liquid dye, pigments, and paste. We will also be giving you a summary of the coloring that is not suitable for your resin.
As you may recall earlier we mentioned that epoxy dyes were developed specifically for this artistic field of epoxy resin. This is so as liquid concentrate dyes are easy to mix and can dissolve in the clear mix easily leaving no residue. It also makes the art more fun to be able to mix colors to create an exciting new color. We have already discussed their most well-known product on the market, ResinTint from ArtResin, in more detail above.
Airbrush paint is perfectly suitable to use with epoxy resin. The colors that are usually used for airbrush design techniques are also suitable for epoxy resin coloring. In this area, you should not only pay attention to the price but rather choose reasonably high-quality products with a sufficient color concentration. We recommend the Aero Color airbrush colors from the brand Schmincke which is very well proven for working with resin.
Some amazing qualities of airbrush painting colors are:
- Pigmented colors are high
- Works great on all art projects
- Not easily faded with the sunlight
Alcohol ink is an inexpensive liquid pigment that is popular amongst choices for epoxy resin dye. That is due to its opacity, while still retaining the ability to be transparent when placed in front of light. Alcohol ink has high pigmentation and concentration hence making it very flexible and creates beautiful end products. As for synthetic resin, a few drops of alcohol ink are good enough to color.
As with everything there are pros and cons, one of the many cons of alcohol ink is that it is not particularly light-resistant. With this said we advise that you do not use this color medium on your art pieces that will be exposed to lights such as UVs. Characteristics include:
- High-quality alcohol-based great for transparent art pieces
- Suited for petri dish art
- Great for alcohol ink technique
Resin Colors Not Suitable For Epoxy Resin
We have mentioned multiples types of color mediums that are not suitable for your resin. These do not bring out the best in your art and can affect your cure time or even the outcome of the art. Here is a list of what not to use and why:
These coloring agents are deemed unsuitable in combination with resin. This is so as it is water-based, the color is not as concentrated and has low pigmentation. To achieve the desired color would take large amount of watercolors, and the hard consistency also means the paint cannot really be mixed in. It may also affect your curing time.
Though inexpensive and may easily be accessible around the house this is not an effective way to color your resin. Adding nail polish changes the colorant resulting in horrendous effects. Clear nail polish mixed with resin when exposed to light causes color changes such as yellowing or amber hue. Clear nail polish should definitely not be used to color resin.
If you have ever tried this you would know that oil paint cannot be mixed with casting resin as the liquids do not combine to each other. Oil-based paints contain lipids that cause that negative effect. Thus your project will end badly with high possibilities of lumps and residues.
Having the combination of water and varied binding agents makes acrylic paints unsuitable for resin mix. We do not recommend using acrylic paint as the additives and water contained in it may cause unpredictable events for your end product. In addition one often gets a dull surface and streaks.
Frequently Asked Questions About Coloring Resin
1. Can you use food coloring to color resin?
Yes, you can use food coloring to color your resin. We however strongly advise against doing so as food colorant is water-based, and as was mentioned earlier, adding a water-based coloring to you clear resin can cause a problem in the curing process.
2. Can I mix acrylic paint with epoxy resin?
Yes, you can use acrylic paint to color your resin, as a matter of fact, this is used by many professionals. We, however, advise against such coloring as it is water-based and can disorientate your mixture and your results.
3. Can you use eyeshadow to color resin?
Yes, you can use eye-shadow to color resin, however, that beautiful luminescent color that you should get with your final product will not be attained. This is so as eye-shadows was not made to be compatible with your resin mix.
4. Can you use nail polish to color resin?
Yes, you can use your nail polish to color your resin, but we advise against it. With this color medium, you will not acquire that rich vibrant hue you were looking for. Also, if you are looking to have your artwork in a well-lighted room or outdoors you will be losing the luminosity you want achieved.
5. Can I use glitter in resin?
Yes, you can use glitter in your resin. You will need to have the glitter evenly distributed hence it should be thoroughly mixed in your resin. You would need to use “heavy” glitter to get stunning effects.
6. How can I make my colored resin shiny?
This process is called polishing an is attained by adding a thin layer of clear resin to your artwork. Polishing is mainly done on artistic pieces such as pictures, dichroic films, or embellishments. For polishing the steps are simple:
- Evaluate the scratches or the surface type that you will be applying polish or clear resin to.
- Use a nail buffer board or water sandpaper to slightly smooth over the surface.
- Apply resin polish to surface and rub with a micro-fiber cloth.
7. What kind of dyes can I use for UV resin?
There are no distinct differences between an epoxy resin and a UV resin dye. In terms of color selection, UV resin does not differ significantly from ordinary epoxy resin or so-called laminating resins. However, when coloring UV Resin you should also take care that you do not change the mixing ratio of the individual components too much by mixing the colors as carefully as possible.
8. Can I color resin cast with painted lacquered color?
It is possible, however, we strongly recommend the use of a high-quality two-component lacquer. Car paint, for example, is very well suited for this purpose. The results are usually better if the casting resin used is already colored before casting. Some artists use a protective layer of lacquer on river table projects.
9. Is colored epoxy resin heat resistant?
Epoxy resin usually has a temperature resistant between 70◦C and 100◦C. However, the exact value depends on the products used and the additives added. In some cases, mixed-in dyes and pigments can have a negative effect on the temperature resistance of the castings produced. If the resin is colored, it is possible the temperature resistance will decrease.
Now that you have obtained another tier of knowledge you can see that possibilities are indeed endless. The knowledge to color that perfect art piece or revive that piece that you loved but thought was to damage to be resuscitated you can give new life whether you want to to tint, coat or polish it. The choice is yours!
We encourage you to stick to the manufacturers’ guidelines as they are there to secure that final piece that will become your masterpiece. Manufacturers of your favorite epoxy resin brands also have videos that help as a visual aid in enhancing your knowledge.
We encourage you to continue to follow our various social media and subscribe as we will be adding more content and keeping you educated on all you need to know about working with resin art.