Resin In Art — A Quick Overview

Being a mixed media artist, I work with all types of materials from different papers to sticky glues and clays, smelly chemical solutions, digital and printed photos, organic elements like pressed botanicals, dry and chalky pencils and pastels to very wet, fluid inks and paints. But one of my very favourite and go-to materials is resin.

If you imagine any shape in your head that you’d like to make in real life, it’s possible with resin. Pour it, cut it, shape it, or cast it, resin is a malleable material that can take any form.

Strong and durable, resin is also a medium that can act as a protective finish and allows for a variety of effects in art. Being lightweight, it is often used to create artworks for display as well as functional pieces.

Versatile in its nature, you may mix pigments or paints into your resin to add colour if you wish. You may paint on top of the dried/cured resin or use the wet resin as a glue and sealer to make a collage. You can add more resin on top of cured resin to convey depth and layers. You may also add inclusions into the wet resin like pieces of glass, glitter, paper, flowers, stone, and more.

Resin will work well with a whole range of art supplies like acrylics, markers, alcohol inks, etc. Its surface can be as clear as glass or sand it to make it make it matte for a whole other type of look. Resin can be shiny and reflective (depending on how the light hits it), and can give the illusion of the artwork being wet.

Using the appropriate type of resin for your art protects the layers of paint beneath and encased in it from UV rays and yellowing. That’s a wonderful quality since this material will help your creations to last and look great for a great many years without worry.

What is Resin?

Originally resin comes from trees. It is a natural organic material that starts out in a liquid form but then hardens to a tough solid. It can be used to manufacture varnishes, food products and perfumes.

Today, resins that are used for art, crafts and jewelry-making are synthetic and mimic natural resin.

There are many types of synthetic resins but for the most part people are concerned with casting and doming resin when it comes to art. As a general rule, use doming resin to create flat pieces or layers and use casting resins for pieces that require moulds.

I love using doming resin in my artwork since I create fluid art, use many types of materials and/or work with layers (sometimes my mixed media resin pieces are comprised of 5 or more). But there are many more ways to use resin in art such as encasing/sealing an existing and finished illustration or photograph, creating functional artwork or sculptures, making wearable pieces such as jewelry, creating flat paintings and collages, plus much more.

Below are some links to samples of some of the techniques I have listed above. Perhaps they will inspire you to explore this medium or inspire you to seek out and purchase resin works from artists like myself.

Sealed artworks:
Lisa Zinnia’s Photos Sealed with Resin
Lisa Zinnia’s Cactus Photo Sealed with Resin Close Up
MTM Hobbes’ Sealed Photo Collage in Resin (in a custom wood frame)

Cast functional and/or unique shapes (such as coasters, dishes and jewelry):
Studio Nucleo’s Functional Art Pieces
Mia Winston-Hart’s Jewelry
Katie Gillies’ Home Decor Pieces
MTM Hobbes’ Resin Coasters

Multi-layered works:
MTM Hobbes’ Makahiya Series
MTM Hobbes Recovery Series

Creating fluid art:
Nature Craft Resin’s Fluid Artwork
MTM Hobbes’ Fluid Resin Art Samples

Visual Artist and Art Instructor