A Beginners’ Guide On How To Paint On Resin

  • Resin Art 101
  • Posted by: amy-golden
  • Oct 11, 2023

Are you looking to create a unique and engaging art project by painting on a resin substrate but don't know how? This article will help you discover everything about how to paint on resin, from preparing from resin surface to choosing the right paint and painting technique. Keep reading to perfect your art project.

What paint can you use on epoxy resin?

Acrylic paints work well on epoxy resin
Acrylic paints work well on epoxy resin

Epoxy resin surfaces are glossy and have low adhesion, so it is important to choose the right paint to achieve a smooth and durable finish. Not all types of paint work well on epoxy resin, so here are a few suitable and unsuitable options:

Type of Paint Does it work on resin?
Oil-based paint
Acrylic paint
Enamel paint
Latex paint
Metalized paint
Watercolor paint

The best type of paint for resin is acrylic paint, but not all acrylic paints are compatible. Acrylic paint has strong adhesion, dries quickly, and is flexible, but it is important to test it on a small piece of scrap material before using it on your project. After the paint dries, examine it carefully for cracks, peeling, and adhesion. If the paint is damaged or does not adhere well to the resin, choose a different type of acrylic paint. 

What do you need to paint on resin?

Before entering the world of painting on resin surfaces, it is important to gather the materials you will need to be able to create a successful and visually appealing result.

Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin
Epoxy resin

For painting projects, transparency is essential because it highlights the paint color and brushstrokes, so a highly transparent epoxy resin is preferred. In addition, the ability to provide a smooth and flat surface finish as well as environmental friendliness should also be considered.

Besides, if the product needs to be exposed to sunlight, choose an epoxy with UV protection to prevent the curing agent from fading. Finally, choose epoxy from trusted manufacturers where quality and usage instructions are guaranteed. You can refer to epoxy resin products from the brands Pro Marine Supplies, Art resin, System Three Resins...

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paints
Acrylic paints

Acrylic paint, also known as 3D color, is a water-based color made from pigments of mineral and organic origin. Besides, it is also a non-toxic compound, very friendly to humans and safe for children. Therefore, it is widely used in many fields including painting on resin.

There are many acrylic paint brands on the market, making it a headache for you to know which one to choose? Let us help you, below are the types that are highly rated for painting on epoxy resin.

  • Sakura acrylic: $17.5 - $20 /set 12 colors
  • Sunway acrylic: $0.9 - $1.2 /pack
  • Golden acrylic: $26 - $30 /set 6 colors
  • Liquitex acrylic: $54 - $68 /set 12 basic colors
  • Winsor & Newton acrylic: $19 - $23 /set 12 colors

*Note: Price updated on October 9, 2023.

Winsor & newton acrylic paints
Winsor & newton acrylic paints

We recommend Winsor & Newton acrylic paints for epoxy resin projects because they have stable colors and are trusted by many professional artists. Winsor & Newton also offers a variety of acrylic paints to suit different needs and budgets, including Professional Acrylics, Galeria Acrylics, and Professional Acrylic Mediums.


A primer is essential for painting on epoxy resin because it improves the color, adhesion, and durability of the paint. Primer also smooths out any imperfections on the resin surface.

Primers are usually provided in three main colors: white, black and gray. Among them, white and black are popular colors while gray is less used. The choice of primer color depends on the main coat of paint you plan to do. If the painting has dark and muted tones, black paint primer will be the ideal choice. Conversely, white or gray underlayment will work well with bright paint colors or the use of color combinations.

Krylon fusion all-in-one spray paint
Krylon fusion all-in-one spray paint

Normally primer is produced in 2 main forms:

  • Liquid: Liquid primer allows for more control over the amount of paint and precise placement, but requires you to use a brush.
  • Spray: Spray primer will provide a thin, even and smooth layer on the surface with quick drying time. However, you need to prepare a space to avoid it sticking to the floor when in use.

Some of the best primers for resin are Krylon Fusion and Rust-Oleum. They both create a smooth and lasting surface. Krylon Fusion has a glossy finish, while Rust-Oleum has a matte finish. You can choose according to your preference.

Other good primers are Vallejo, Zinsser, and Dupli-Color. They have similar features and quality as the ones mentioned above.

Spray Paint

Spray resin creates special color effects
Spray resin creates special color effects

Spray paint allows users to create thin, even and smooth layers of paint. It delivers professional and durable end results. At the same time, using spray paint also saves time compared to using traditional paint brushes and is suitable for both large or small art projects. In addition, spray paint on resin also allows artists to create colors and special effects such as fog, shading or creating unique color layers.

Spray paint comes in many different colors and paint brands, helping to meet a variety of painting and decoration requirements. Krylon and Rust-Oleum continue to be the two brightest candidates among spray paint brands for epoxy resin. The quality is proven by their popularity among resin artists.

Other Materials

Paint Brushes

Paint brush set
Paint brush set

A paint brush is used to ensure even layers of paint are applied to the resin surface. Besides that, depending on the surface size of the project, you can choose to buy paint brushes with different sizes. If you want to paint a large surface like a table, then a paint roller will be the optimal tool.

Mixing Cups and Stir Sticks

Plastic mixing cups and plastic stir sticks
Plastic mixing cups and plastic stir sticks

Mixing cups are used to store the mixture of epoxy resin and hardener. Meanwhile, stir sticks are used to completely combine the two parts of the mixture together. Both are necessary items in the process of creating epoxy resin surfaces.

The material of these tools should also be carefully considered. Among them, the type made of plastic should be given priority because of its non-stick ability, so it is easy to remove the epoxy resin from the surface and reuse it. On the contrary, wooden objects will cause air bubbles and glass will be adhered to by resin.

Heat Gun or Torch

Mini heat gun
Mini heat gun

A Heat Gun or Torch is perfect for removing unwanted bubbles during the resin making process. It is also used to warm the resin mixture to increase working time with resin.

Protective Covering

Protective covering surface
Protective covering surface

Protective covering creates a protective layer on the work surface, preventing epoxy liquid or resin paint from coming into direct contact with the surface. This ensures the workspace and other parts are not affected by chemical materials or protected from scratches and cracks.

Protective equipment

Protective equipment
Protective equipment

When working with resin and paints, protective equipment is essential. Because they contain toxic chemicals and will affect your health when you come into direct contact with them. Gloves, masks, and eyeglasses help protect you from toxic fumes or chemical splashes.

How to paint on epoxy resin - Step-by-step Tutorial

It's time for you to start painting on epoxy surfaces. Follow this step-by-step guide to achieve great results.

Epoxy resin wall paintings (source: amazon)
Epoxy resin wall paintings (source: amazon)

Clean the surface

Equipment to clean the surface
Equipment to clean the surface

Start by thoroughly cleaning the epoxy resin surface. Mild detergent or soap mixed with warm water is the ideal mixture for cleaning resin. Take a clean cloth and dip it in the solution and wipe the entire epoxy surface to remove any dirt or contaminants.

If the epoxy resin surface has intricate details that cannot be reached by a cloth, using a light scrub brush will be the best way to remove them. Next, rinse with water and let dry completely.

Sand the resin down

Excess plastic will reduce the beauty of the product surface. Large grit sandpaper (about 800 grit) would be a good choice for removing rough areas. Use it and sand slowly until the surface becomes even and smooth.

In addition, normally the epoxy resin surface is very smooth and glossy, so only light sanding is needed for the paint to adhere best. It is recommended to use fine sandpaper (about 220 grit) and rub in circular motions to avoid excessive surface abrasion.

After sanding, wipe the surface with a clean, damp cloth to remove sanding residue. Make sure to dry completely afterward.

Eliminate bubbles or holes

Removing air bubble
Removing air bubble

Check the surface for any imperfections such as bumps, bubbles or crevices. If you find any, consider addressing them before painting. Because they can reduce the aesthetics and quality of the final work. By removing them thoroughly, the epoxy surface becomes perfect for creating beautiful and quality works of art.

As for bubbles, you can easily remove them by quickly using a heat gun or torch on the location where the bubble appears. Meanwhile, you need to use epoxy putty to fill the gaps and dents. Use a stir stick to carefully pour the epoxy into the dent and then spread it evenly so that the surface is flat, avoiding spilling over to other areas. After the putty layer dries, continue using 600-grade sandpaper to smooth the surface.

In case it is just a small concave spot, you can use sandpaper to remove it. Don't forget to clean and dry the plastic surface again.

Apply primer

Apply primer on resin surface
Apply primer on resin surface

Once your epoxy resin is complete, start priming. Spray primer is ideal, is easy to apply and provides a more uniform surface. Before use, shake well to ensure the primer is well mixed and ready to apply. This ensures that the ingredients in the primer are evenly combined, creating a uniform mixture and ensuring the quality of the primer. At the same time, shaking also helps remove air bubbles and prevents ingredients from separating, while also improving the adhesion of the primer to the surface.

Next, apply the primer evenly onto the epoxy resin surface. You should not use too much primer at once because it can lead to paint dripping, uneven coverage, and longer drying time. Apply in thin layers, leave each layer for about 20 - 30 minutes and continue until evenly covered. Multi-layer priming provides stronger adhesion between paint and surface, ensuring the stability and durability of the paint layer. Besides, it creates a strong protective layer for the lower surface, preventing oxidation and abrasion.

Once completed, allow the primer to dry for the manufacturer's recommended amount of time listed on the packaging.

*Note: Make sure you wear adequate protective equipment (mask, gloves, goggles) when working with primers.

Paint on the resin surface

Paint on the resin surface
Paint on the resin surface

It's time to show off your creativity. However, before doing so, wear gloves, masks, protective gear and work in a well-ventilated area. You should also use tape or paper to cover up areas you don't want to paint.

In addition, acrylic paint is usually ready to use, but if you want to create new colors, mix the colors together according to the rules of the color chart. However, test it on a scrap piece of paper or cardboard to make sure you are completely satisfied with it.

Once you have your favorite color, start painting in thin layers and apply evenly, ensuring perfect coverage. Slightly overlapping strokes can help achieve a smoother finish. Depending on the opacity of the paint and the desired color intensity, you may need to apply multiple coats. 

Once the initial layer is completed, you should let it dry for 20 - 30 minutes and then continue with other layers of paint to avoid clumping. Although this stage takes a lot of time, you will get satisfactory results. In addition, you can also try your hand at different painting techniques to make your epoxy resin work more unique.

Finally, you just need to add a layer of lacquer to prevent chipping and protect the surface from the effects of UV rays.

Wait for the Paint to Dry

Now all you need to do is leave the resin to cure in a clean and dust-free area with minimal disturbance. Follow the recommended curing period in the user manual or product packaging before handling the artwork.

Watch the video below to learn more about how to paint an epoxy resin piece from start to finish


Painting resin tips 

A few tips will make painting over epoxy resin simpler. Below are ways you can apply to become an expert in this field.

A few tips to help you paint better on epoxy resin
A few tips to help you paint better on epoxy resin

Get the right paintbrush

Brush set with all sizes and shapes
Brush set with all sizes and shapes

A brush with soft bristles will ensure smooth strokes, good coverage as well as more professional results. Among them, Winsor & Newton and Escoda are two high-quality brush brands that you can refer to.

Besides, depending on each project and stroke, you can choose the appropriate brush size. Flat, large brushes are suitable for applying large coats of paint, while pointed tips can be used to create small details and delicate lines. Before using the brush on the main surface, test it on a small sample to ensure that it meets your expectations.

In addition, if your painting has straight lines or edges that require high precision, specialized adhesive tape will be an effective tool to help you do that. All you need to do is stick the tape to the line you want to draw, use a brush to draw along the tape, finally wait for the paint to dry and then remove the tape.

Paint between layers

Paint one thin layer at a time
Paint one thin layer at a time

Drying time between coats in acrylic paint is very important. Each layer needs time to dry to ensure that subsequent layers adhere well without clumping. This also allows for a thorough inspection of the paint layer to make any necessary adjustments or additions. This ensures a high quality, smooth finish.

Make sure the surface is clean

Before you start painting on resin, you should make sure that the surface is clean and free of dust, dirt, or grease. Any impurities on the surface can affect the adhesion and appearance of the paint. You can use a soft cloth, alcohol, or soap and water to wipe the surface gently. You should also avoid touching the surface with your fingers, as the oils from your skin can leave marks or stains.

Start with lighter colors

When painting on resin, it is advisable to start with lighter colors and work your way to darker ones. This is because lighter colors are easier to cover or blend with darker ones, while darker colors can overpower or show through lighter ones. You can also use white or light-colored primer to create a neutral background for your painting.

Leave some spaces empty

Leaving some space empty to create unique visual effect
Leaving some space empty to create unique visual effect

Another tip for painting resin is to leave some spaces empty or transparent. This can create a contrast between the painted and unpainted areas, and highlight the clarity and shine of the resin. You can also use clear resin to fill in the gaps or create interesting shapes.

Be Patient

Patience is an invaluable virtue, especially when it comes to creative activities like resin painting. Because color work requires meticulous attention to detail, ensuring precision in every stroke. Besides, you need to do multiple coats and wait for drying time between coats, so take your time and be patient. In addition, you should also avoid creating scratches on the paint surface otherwise your paint layer will easily peel off when it dries.

Resin paint ideas

Do you have any ideas for your upcoming work? If not, please refer to some of our interesting ideas below.

Epoxy resin paint with the blue color of the sea and simple sea animals will be a good start for you (source: pinterest)
epoxy resin paint with the blue color of the sea and simple sea animals will be a good start for you (source: pinterest)
Painting transparent resin coasters into beautiful, colorful flowers is a simple way to bring the garden into your living space (source: pinterest)
painting transparent resin coasters into beautiful, colorful flowers is a simple way to bring the garden into your living space (source: pinterest)
A resin painting with a green actias luna moth is a breathtaking work of art (source: etsy)
a resin painting with a green actias luna moth is a breathtaking work of art (source: etsy)
The land, the ocean and the vast sky, 3 different worlds merged into one, bringing a wonderful scene (source: etsy)
the land, the ocean and the vast sky, 3 different worlds merged into one, bringing a wonderful scene (source: etsy)
An abstract resin painting with smoky gray tones and free-style brushstrokes is also a great painting idea (source: etsy)
an abstract resin painting with smoky gray tones and free-style brushstrokes is also a great painting idea (source: etsy)
3d fish resin painting with yin and yang style has both artistic and feng shui meaning (source: etsy)
3d fish resin painting with yin and yang style has both artistic and feng shui meaning (source: etsy)
Challenge yourself to paint aurora night in the forest with picasso's painting style (source: kathryn beals)
challenge yourself to paint aurora night in the forest with picasso's painting style (source: kathryn beals)
An abstract resin art painting with vibrant tones will be a highlight for your living space (source: etsy)
an abstract resin art painting with vibrant tones will be a highlight for your living space (source: etsy)

Painting on resin is a fun and creative way to use this versatile material. Dip your brush, let the colors blend, and watch your imagination soar across the glossy epoxy canvas. The world of epoxy resin painting art is eagerly waiting for your masterpiece. Happy painting!


What kind of paint to use on resin?

Acrylic paint is the best type of paint to use on plastic surfaces. It adheres well, dries relatively quickly and provides a smooth, durable finish. Additionally, it comes in a variety of colors and is easy to blend to achieve custom shades. It's important to note that other types of paint, such as oil-based paint or enamel paint, may not bond as effectively to plastic and may be more difficult to apply.

Can resin be set over paint?

Resin can absolutely be applied over paint. It will create a smooth, glossy surface and protect the paint from external influences. But it is necessary to make sure the paint is completely dry and the paint surface is clean before applying resin coating.

Can you mix paint and resin together?

Yes, you can mix acrylic paint and resin together. Because acrylic paint is also known as one of the colorants with a variety of options, affordable prices and is very popular, used to color epoxy resin. This combination allows you to create custom colors or add artistic effects to your resin projects.

Is painting on epoxy resin safe?

In fact, both paint and epoxy resin contain chemicals that are harmful to health. However, it can be safe as long as proper precautions are taken such as wearing protective equipment (gloves, mask and glasses) and working in a well-ventilated area.

What kind of artwork can I create by painting on epoxy resin?

Painting on epoxy resin allows for a wide variety of artistic expressions. The glossy, transparent surface creates a charming backdrop for a variety of styles. At the same time, the combination of paint and resin can create all kinds of works with all different shapes and themes, from abstract and flexible works to complex designs.



I work as a freelance blogger in Seattle, Washington. I've been freelancing full-time for 5 years. I'm interested in anime, resin art, and mechanical keyboards.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *