Resin for Acrylic Paintings: A Comprehensive Guide

If you're an acrylic painter looking to add some extra depth and shine to your paintings, resin may be just the thing you need. Resin is a clear, glossy substance that can be applied to acrylic paintings to give them a high-gloss, glass-like finish. It's a popular choice among artists who want to create a professional-looking piece that really stands out.

One of the great things about resin is that it's incredibly versatile. You can use it to create a variety of effects, from a subtle sheen to a high-gloss finish that really pops. Resin can also be mixed with other materials, such as pigments or glitter, to create unique effects and textures. And because it's self-leveling, it's easy to get a smooth, even finish every time. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist, resin is a great way to add some extra dimension to your acrylic paintings.

What is Resin for Acrylic Paintings?


Resin for acrylic paintings is a clear, glossy substance that is applied on top of a finished acrylic painting to protect it and give it a professional, high-gloss finish. It is a two-part mixture of resin and hardener that, when combined, creates a chemical reaction and hardens into a durable, clear coating that looks like glass.


Resin for acrylic paintings is used to protect the painting from dust, dirt, and moisture. It also enhances the colors and texture of the painting, giving it a vibrant, glossy finish. Additionally, resin can be used to create a three-dimensional effect by pouring it onto the painting and allowing it to harden.

Types of Resin for Acrylic Paintings

There are two main types of resin used for acrylic paintings: epoxy resin and polyester resin. Epoxy resin is the most commonly used resin for acrylic paintings as it is easy to use and dries clear. It is also more durable and resistant to yellowing over time than polyester resin.

Polyester resin, on the other hand, is less expensive than epoxy resin but is not as durable and can yellow over time. Also, polyester resin usually has a shorter working time than epoxy resin and tends to stink really badly.

When choosing a resin for your acrylic painting, it is important to consider the type of painting you have created and the level of protection and finish you desire. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when working with resin.

Personally, I only use epoxy resin for my acrylic paintings.

Preparing for Resin Application

Before applying resin to your acrylic painting, it is important to properly prepare the surface. This will ensure that the resin adheres well and creates a smooth, glossy finish. Here are some steps to follow:

Choosing the Right Surface

It is essential to choose a surface that is compatible with resin. Wood, plastic, and metal surfaces are all suitable for resin application. However, it is important to note that some plastics may not be compatible with certain types of resin. Therefore, it is recommended to test a small area before applying resin to the entire surface.

Preparing the Surface

To prepare the surface, clean it thoroughly with a mild soap and water solution, specially if you have used silicone oil in your acrylic pour painting. Rinse it with clean water and let it dry completely.

You can also use baby wipes to clean the surface of your paintings.

Once your paintings are dry, add several coats of Modpodge or several coats of acrylic spray varnish to the surface to seal the paint and cover any remaining silicone oil traces left on the surface. This step will prevent your epoxy resin from getting fish eyes. 

If the surface has any imperfections, such as bumps or scratches, sand it down until it is smooth. Make sure to remove any dust or debris before applying resin.

Mixing the Resin and Hardener

When mixing the resin and hardener, it is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Use a disposable container and stir the mixture thoroughly for at least two-three minutes. It is recommended to wear gloves to avoid skin contact with the resin and hardener and a mask to protect yourself from any VOCs (volatile organic compounds).


  • Use a brush or roller to apply the resin to the surface or simply pour it on top of your painting, spread with your gloved fingers until the whole surface is covered, and let the resin self-level.
  • Apply the resin in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes.
  • Avoid applying too much resin, as it may cause drips or bubbles.
  • Use a heat gun to pop any bubbles.
  • Let the resin cure for at least 24 hours before handling or moving the painting.
  • If you are applying resin to a canvas, make sure to stretch it tightly to avoid sagging.

By following these steps, you can ensure a successful resin application to your acrylic painting.

Applying Resin to Acrylic Paintings

Resin is a popular medium for artists who want to add a glossy, clear finish to their acrylic paintings. Applying resin can be a bit tricky, but with the right technique, you can achieve a beautiful, professional-looking finish. Here's how to do it:

Step-by-Step Process

  1. Prepare your painting: Make sure your acrylic painting is completely dry before applying resin. If there are any dust particles or other debris on the surface, use a soft brush or compressed air to remove them. Clean the surface of your painting with baby wipes and then add several coats of Modpodge or acrylic spray varnish to create an isolation barrier.
  2. Mix the resin: Follow the manufacturer's instructions to mix the resin and hardener in the correct ratio. Make sure to mix thoroughly (for at least 3 minutes) to avoid any uncured spots. Scrape the bottom and edges of the mixing container to make sure you properly mix the resin and hardener.
  3. Apply the resin: Pour the resin onto the center of your painting and use a spreader or brush to evenly distribute it over the surface. Be careful not to apply too much resin, as this can cause it to drip over the edges.
  4. Avoid bubbles: Use a torch or heat gun to remove any bubbles that may have formed in the resin. Hold the torch or heat gun about 6 inches away from the surface and move it in a circular motion until the bubbles disappear. Do not keep the heat gun over the same area for long periods of time to avoid burning the resin.
  5. Curing the resin: Allow the resin to cure according to the manufacturer's instructions. This can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours depending on the brand and environmental conditions.

Avoiding Bubbles

Bubbles can be a common problem when applying resin to acrylic paintings. Here are a few tips to help you avoid them:

  • Slightly warm up the resin and hardener (in their individual containers) before you mix them together. You can use a hot water bath to warm them up.
  • Mix the resin and hardener slowly to avoid introducing air into the mixture.
  • Use a heat gun or torch to remove any bubbles that may have formed in the resin.
  • Work in a dust-free environment to avoid debris getting trapped in the resin.

Curing the Resin

Curing the resin is an important step in the process. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for curing time and temperature.
  • Avoid touching the surface of the resin while it's curing.
  • Keep the painting in a dust-free environment while it's curing.
  • Cover your artwork with a plastic or cardboard box while the resin is curing so no dust particles, bugs, pet fur, or hairs fall on the resin.

By following these tips, you can achieve a beautiful, glossy finish on your acrylic paintings with resin. Experiment with different pigments and colors to create unique resin art pieces.

Common Mistakes with Resin for Acrylic Paintings

When it comes to using resin for acrylic paintings, there are a few common mistakes that many artists make. By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that your finished product looks professional and lasts a long time.

Using Expensive Resins

One mistake that many artists make is assuming that expensive resins are always better. While there are certainly high-quality resins that are worth the investment, there are also many expensive resins that don't live up to their price tag. Don't assume that a higher price always means better quality. Look for products with good customer reviews. Here are the 6 best artists resin brands in the market

Failing to Follow Instructions

Another common mistake is failing to follow the instructions that come with your resin. Each brand of resin may have different instructions, and it's important to follow them carefully. Skipping steps or rushing through the process can lead to a less-than-perfect finished product.

Not Using Protective Gear

Resin can be dangerous if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes, so it's important to use protective gear when working with it. Wear gloves, goggles, and a mask to protect yourself from fumes and accidental spills.

Using Too Much Resin

Using too much resin is a common mistake that can lead to a variety of problems. Not only can it be wasteful, but it can also lead to a sticky or tacky finish. Use the recommended amount of resin for your project, and use a plastic spreader, popsicle stick, or brush to spread it evenly.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can create a professional-looking finish for your acrylic pour or abstract painting.

You can also use a clear acrylic top coat or sealant over the top of your resin to protect it from scratches and UV damage. You can also experiment with adding color or adding glitter to the resin for a unique touch. 

Tips and Tricks for Using Resin for Acrylic Paintings

Getting a Glossy Sheen

When it comes to creating a glossy sheen on your acrylic paintings, resin is an excellent choice. To achieve the desired effect, it's important to apply the resin in thin layers, building up the thickness gradually.

If you want to add a pop of color over your painting, you can mix a tiny bit of pigment powder or mica powder into the resin before applying it.

Creating Crisp Clean Edges

Creating clean edges with resin can be a bit tricky, specially at the bottom of the canvas where you will most likely get some dried resin drips. 

First of all, you need to make sure you are using enough resin to cover the whole surface of the painting, otherwise, the resin will pull away from the edges. Here are some great resin calculators that will help you determine how much epoxy resin you will need for your artwork piece. 

Second, you need to put some green frog tape around the edges where you don't want any resin to stick to. After the resin has dried, you can use a heat gun to slightly heat up the resin and easily peel off the tape. 

Here is a video tutorial from MAS Epoxies to help you achieve those crips edges.

If there are still some areas where you have hardened resin drips, you can remove them by using a sharp blade or sandpaper.

Using a Resin Calculator

Measuring the correct amount of resin and hardener is crucial for achieving the desired results as mentioned previously. To make this process easier, you can use a resin calculator. Simply enter the dimensions of your painting, and the calculator will tell you how much epoxy (resin + hardener) you need to mix. 

Here are some great resin calculators from MAS Epoxies.

Using a Handheld Torch

To remove air bubbles from the resin, you can use a handheld torch or artist's torch. Hold the torch about 6 inches away from the surface of the painting and move it back and forth in a sweeping motion. Be careful not to hold the torch too close or for too long, as this can cause the resin to overheat, bubble, and burn.

In conclusion, resin is a versatile and effective protective coating and adhesive for acrylic paintings. With a little creativity and basic instruction, you can use it to add texture, bright colors, and UV-resistant properties to your artwork. By following these tips and tricks, you can achieve a glossy sheen, clean edges, and bubble-free results every time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can resin be used to seal acrylic paintings?

Yes, resin can be used to seal acrylic paintings. Resin is a clear, glossy substance that can be applied to the surface of an acrylic painting to protect it from dust, dirt, and other environmental factors.

What are the benefits of using resin on acrylic paintings?

Using resin on acrylic paintings can provide several benefits. Firstly, it adds a layer of protection to the painting, which can help to prevent fading or damage over time. Secondly, resin can enhance the colors and details of the painting, making it appear more vibrant and lifelike. Finally, resin can give the painting a glossy, professional-looking finish.

What is the drying time for resin on acrylic paintings?

The drying time for resin on acrylic paintings can vary depending on the type of resin used and the environmental conditions. Generally, it takes around 24-72 hours for resin to fully cure and dry. However, it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the specific resin being used, as drying times can vary.

What precautions should be taken when using resin on acrylic paintings?

When using resin on acrylic paintings, it's important to take several precautions.

Firstly, make sure to work in a well-ventilated area, as resin can release fumes that can be harmful if inhaled.

Secondly, wear protective gloves and clothing to avoid skin contact with the resin.

Finally, follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully, as improper use of resin can result in a poor finish or damage to the painting.

What is the difference between epoxy resin and acrylic resin for paintings?

Epoxy resin and acrylic resin are two different types of resin that can be used for paintings. Epoxy resin is a two-part resin that is typically used for high-gloss finishes and is more durable than acrylic resin. Acrylic resin, on the other hand, is a one-part resin that is easier to work with and dries faster than epoxy resin but might not be UV resistant and might yellow overtime. Both types of resin can be used for acrylic paintings, but it's important to choose the right type of resin for the desired finish and level of durability.


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