Have you ever looked at artwork with a beautiful resin finish and think, I want to do that? I have admired the finish for years, but never took the plunge because it was smelly, toxic, you needed to wear a ventilator or mask, it was too much work, etc.
Well, not anymore! I discovered a product called ArtResin a few years ago – I still have an email from September 2015 with their Resin Guide .pdf so it’s been at least that long. I receive their newsletter, but still hadn’t tried the product; only admiring from afar.
ArtResin is a safe, non-toxic epoxy resin and no VOCs. This is really important to me. My studio is in my home garage and I definitely don’t want to expose my husband (who uses portable oxygen) and pets to VOCs and toxins. I don’t even use spray paint in my studio – I take it to the backyard because of the fumes.
I recently responded to one of ArtResin’s surveys, and shortly after received an email from Rebecca Zak, one of the owners of ArtResin:
I'm writing because you completed our survey from a couple weeks ago. First of all, thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions!
I see that you mentioned that you have not yet tried ArtResin… I have a proposal for you that involves FREE ArtResin! Let me know how this sounds:
You said that you post your art online. We continually want to introduce artists to what is possible with ArtResin, and we think working with artists like you who have a web presence is the best way to do that.
A lot of our customers are very surprised to learn that we are a small team here; there's actually only a few of us and the vast majority of our business comes from word of mouth—artists like yourself telling other people about ArtResin.
So... we’re wondering if you would be willing to try our ArtResin epoxy and help us spread the word about your experience on your site?! We want to help introduce artists of all skill levels to epoxy coated art. What do you think? Would you be interested? If you are, send us your website address and your physical address so that we can send some ArtResin over.
Thank you so much again for taking the time to complete our survey! :)
Holy cow – what a generous offer – I couldn’t believe my good fortune – of course I responded quickly with an “absolutely YES” to Rebecca. I received the Starter Kit within the week, and couldn’t wait to try it!
Besides using resin for the first time, I’ve recently (within the past 2 weeks) tried pouring acrylics. I’ve used acrylics for many years, along with watercolor, but never poured it. What absolutely perfect timing!
So here we are – a couple of my more successful pours (one on gallery wrap canvas, and another on prepared board), and my first try with ArtResin:
The first two photos are of the finished artwork before ArtResin. The 2nd piece does have one thin coat of varnish on it – that was before I knew I wanted to use the ArtResin on it, but the one on canvas has no varnish.
I’ve watched more than a few of ArtResin’s helpful videos – their website is chock full of how to videos and tips. If you can follow very simple instructions, you can’t miss! Just get all your materials together, get organized, and go!
My studio is in ½ of our 1-car garage, in the back. I’m in Arizona; northern Arizona, but it’s still HOT in June. I was afraid that the heat in my studio (92 most days, with 9% humidity) would affect how the resin cures. I was going to wait until evening when it’s cooler, but then I had a big concern about flying insects – the 2nd piece already has a sacrificial tiny moth in it already. (look on the left side, in the gold strip between the black – there he is). Well, guess what? I learned by watching the videos that heat helps the resin cure even more quickly; sometimes the ArtResin team uses portable heaters in their pouring room. No need for heaters here in the summer!! So I decided to give it a go after dinner – about 6pm – still light enough, but no flying bugs to worry about (or fewer anyway). And no worries about too much humidity!
Clear a space on your table, and be sure to put something underneath your artwork to catch drips and spills. I use 4 or 6 mil plastic sheeting to cover my art tables anyway, but put an extra piece down. I knew I was going to need more once I was finished to cover the boxes (you’ll see why). ArtResin takes 24 hours to cure - you need to protect your work during the curing process.
What supplies do you need?
Not bad on the leveling eh?
Now – how much ArtResin do you need to mix? ArtResin has a handy-dandy calculator on their website HERE. They suggest you mix a little more than you think you’ll need. I put in my calculations, and I was going to need 7 ounces (combined) for my artwork – so I mixed 8. Plus, it was easier to find the 4oz mark on my mixing bucket. You use equal parts of resin and hardener – a no-brainer.
So I poured out 4oz of resin and added 4oz of hardener to my bucket, and mixed. You need to mix it thoroughly and evenly, scraping the sides, for no less than 3 full minutes. That’s important or your resin won’t cure properly. Besides how easy it is - there is absolutely no odor - and I'm very sensitive to odors.
Then, you pour your ArtResin on your finished pieces! I poured my canvas first, and used my yellow spreader. I let it run over the sides, and smoothed the sides with my gloved fingers.
Next, I poured on the board. It has a little bead of clear silicone around the edges, so it had a perfect little dam to hold the resin. I used the spreader to make sure it came to each of the sides evenly, and let it flow over the sides too. Well, I had some resin left, so I poured some more over both pieces. You have approximately 45 minutes of working time with the resin – plenty of time to smooth it out and work on the sides before it begins to cure. I used my heat gun to pop the little air bubbles that appear.
Look at the difference already! Now, to cover them and wait overnight!
I was at Costco earlier in the day, and these are the only boxes I had large enough to cover the artwork – but they have holes in them! So I used that 2nd piece of plastic to cover the boxes. Now, we wait - by the time I leave the studio, it’s nearly 8pm.
12 hours later – the unveiling! 8:00am – I’ve been up since 5 but didn’t peek!
Wow, Wow Wow – they are beautiful! I wish I had better photography skills! I am amazed at the way it brings out depth and color clarity!
Look at that glassy finish!!!
One side before ArtResin and after ArtResin
Oh – remember when I said “you’ll see why” when I talked about covering your table with plastic: See below: Whoops! I had so much left over that it leveled out onto the table and stuck to the box – but no biggee because it peeled right off the plastic & I just cut it off the box. Next time I won’t “over pour”. A beginner’s boo boo.
I am beyond thrilled with my results! I’ve already got another piece waiting for my remaining ArtResin. I can’t wait to share with my fellow artists in our local art guild and my online artist groups. I have so many ideas running through my mind on how to use ArtResin! I am sold, and will definitely be a regular customer.
Even though I don’t have a camera to video my process, I hope this has been helpful. I had such great results with my first two pieces, imagine what I’ll do with a little more experience!!
Thank you Rebecca Zak and the team at ArtResin!!! You’re the best!
& Studio 401 - the art of Mary Lou Arnold