Unveiling the Artistic Magic: How to Paint on Resin Like a Pro!

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As someone who’s spent a fair amount of time experimenting with resin, I can tell you that painting on it is a whole different ball game compared to working with canvas or wood. Resin has its own set of rules when it comes to getting paint to stick and making those colors pop just the way you want them to.

I’ve put together this piece to share some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. My goal is to help fellow artists navigate the peculiar challenges of adding life to resin creations through vibrant colors.

Tips & Different Methods When Painting on Resin

Use a Primer

Paint does not adhere well to the smooth surface of the resin, making a primer crucial for enhancing paint adhesion. A primer binds the resin surface and the paint, ensuring better color coverage and longevity. 

The paint may only adhere appropriately with a primer, leading to a patchy and uneven appearance. The primer acts as a preparatory layer, creating a smooth and receptive surface for the paint to adhere to, thus improving the overall painting experience.

Primers come in various colors, with white, black, and grey being the most common options. Each primer color has unique effects on the final paint color. 

preparing KILZ Original Primer

Laying down the right foundation is key to getting those colors to truly shine on resin. Take it from me, using a white primer can make your lighter colors stand out with an extra burst of vibrancy. On the flip side, when I’m going for depth and intensity in darker shades, a black primer works wonders.

And let’s not forget about grey primers – they’re the unsung heroes when I’m looking to create a neutral base that supports both color mixing and subtle blending.

The trick is to always keep the end result in mind. Before I dive into a project, I think about the color story I want to tell and choose my primer accordingly. It’s all about enhancing the final effect to make each piece pop just the way I envision it.

A white primer may be preferred for a light and airy painting, while a black primer could be suitable for creating dramatic and moody artwork.

While spray primer is preferred due to its even application and controlled usage, paint-on primer can also be used effectively. 

Krylon K08818001 Dual Superbond Paint + Primer

Spray primers offer uniform coverage, preventing brush marks and ensuring an even layer. However, paint-on primers may be necessary for intricate or small-scale projects where spray application may be challenging.

Safety precautions and application tips for using primer

When using primers, it’s essential to follow safety precautions such as working in a well-ventilated area and wearing appropriate protective gear. Shake spray cans well before use and apply the primer in thin, even coats to avoid drips and pooling. 

For paint-on primers, use a high-quality brush to achieve a smooth and consistent application, ensuring complete coverage on the resin surface.

Tamiya TAM87042 87042 Surface Primer

Types of Primers and Their Uses


Primer Color

Recommended Paint Colors


Light and Bright Colors


Dark Colors


Mixed Colors and Blending

Use Paints Meant for Plastic

Acrylic paint is the best choice for painting on resin due to its versatility, quick drying time, and excellent adhesion to various surfaces. Unlike oil-based paints, acrylics dry quickly, allowing artists to build layers more efficiently. 

From what I’ve gathered in my own practice, acrylics are pretty much a go-to due to their water-based nature. Not only do they make cleanup a breeze – a bit of water here, a quick wipe there – but they’re also a kinder choice for both the environment and my health compared to other paints. 

Plus, they have this fantastic ability to bond with plastic surfaces, which includes resin, of course. This means when I use acrylics on my resin pieces, I’m not just creating art; I’m crafting something that’s built to last.

paint brush

The right paintbrush is crucial for smooth and precise strokes on resin surfaces. Synthetic brushes, particularly those made of Taklon and White Taklon, are well-suited for resin painting. 

These brushes are durable, maintain shape, and do not shed bristles, ensuring a consistent paint application. Synthetic brushes are also ideal for working with acrylics as they do not absorb too much water, allowing artists to control the paint flow and achieve the desired effects.

When adding intricate details to your artwork, using fine-tip brushes can significantly affect the final result. Fine-tip brushes, such as “The Psycho,” have excellent bristles that allow for precise lines and intricate detailing. These brushes are perfect for adding highlights, shadows, and small design elements, elevating the overall quality of your resin painting.

Patience is Key

Painting on resin requires patience and multiple layers to achieve the desired opacity and vibrancy. Rushing the process can lead to smudging, uneven paint distribution, and unsatisfactory results. 

prepare resin

Artists can achieve a more polished and professional finish by allowing each layer to dry completely before adding the next.

Using Different Application Techniques

The technique of dabbing paint can be particularly effective when working with resin. Instead of using traditional brush strokes, wiping paint onto the resin surface with a sponge or cloth can help achieve a more opaque and even color. 

This method also allows artists to create exciting textures and patterns on the resin, adding depth and character to the artwork.

Building up paint layers is essential to ensure a rich and vivid finish. By layering multiple paint applications, artists can achieve a greater depth of color and create captivating visual effects. 

painting resin

I’ve found that taking it slow and building up the paint in layers gives me so much more control over how intense I want the colors to be. It makes hitting that perfect shade or tone a lot easier when I’m not trying to get it all in one go.

Correcting Mistakes

Removing wet paint using a damp paper towel

Mistakes can happen during the painting process, but with resin, it’s relatively easy to fix them. If an error occurs while the paint is still wet, it can be removed using a damp paper towel. 

Gently dab the affected area to lift the paint off the resin surface. This technique allows for quick fixes and adjustments without damaging the underlying resin.

Waiting for paint and resin to dry before making adjustments

In cases where the mistake involves both paint and resin, it’s essential to wait for both to dry completely before making any adjustments. It prevents unintentional blending of wet paint and resin, which could result in unintended color changes or uneven surfaces.

drying resin

In all the time I’ve worked with resin, one rule has stood out: you’ve got to let it dry completely. Any moisture or grime can throw a wrench in your work, muddling the next layer of paint or resin you apply. I always ensure I’m working with a clean, smooth surface for the best possible outcome. Patience really pays off here; giving each layer enough time to dry means you’re setting yourself up for a clean, adherent surface for whatever comes next.

Avoid Scratching the Painting

Resin, once fully cured, provides a protective layer over the artwork. However, scratching the surface while handling the piece can lead to visible marks or damage that may be challenging to fix.

Despite the warning to avoid scratching, one of the advantages of working with resin is the ease of correcting mistakes. As mentioned earlier, wet paint can be gently removed, and resin can be reworked or repaired even after being cured. 

When adding resin to cover the painting, artists often use a pipette or a similar tool to control the flow. It is essential to exercise caution during this process to avoid scraping the painted piece accidentally. 

painting new design on dried resin

By being mindful and careful, artists can maintain the integrity of their artwork and preserve the hard work invested in the painting.

Allow Time Between Painting Layers

After completing the paint layers, allow sufficient time for the paint to dry before adding epoxy resin. Applying resin too soon can lead to bleeding or blending of colors, resulting in a less defined and muddled appearance.

Taking a break between layers allows artists to step back and assess their work critically. This break allows for identifying areas needing adjustments, additional details, or enhancements. 

Stepping back and reassessing the progress helps artists maintain focus and make thoughtful decisions about the next steps in the painting process.

Let the Paint Fully Dry Before Applying Resin

Before proceeding with the resin application, ensure the paint has thoroughly dried. The recommended drying time may vary based on the brand of paint used, the number of layers, and environmental conditions. 

fully dry resin paint

Typically, acrylic paints[1] dry within a few hours to a few days, depending on the thickness of the paint layers.

To enhance the visual appeal of resin paintings, artists can incorporate additional materials like pearls, glitters, or pigments. These materials can add a touch of sparkle, dimension, and uniqueness to the artwork. 

However, letting the paint dry completely before incorporating these elements is essential to prevent them from sinking or bleeding into the paint.

Interesting Read: Can You Use Food Coloring in Resin

Recommended Drying Time for Different Types of Acrylic Paint


Acrylic Paint Type

Drying Time

Student Grade

1-2 hours per layer

Artist Grade

2-6 hours per layer

Heavy Body

1-3 days, depending on thickness

Use Painter's Tape for Straight Lines and Crisp Edges

APPLE BARREL Matte Acrylic Paint Collection

I’ve found that painter’s tape is a fantastic ally when it comes to achieving those clean lines and sharp edges in resin painting. It’s a straightforward yet effective trick – simply apply the tape onto the resin surface before you start painting. This way, you can create well-defined sections and ensure your colors or design elements stay neatly separated.

And when you’re done with your painting and gently peel off that tape, you’re left with a polished and professional-looking piece that really stands out.

Alternatives for Painter’s Tape

If the painter’s tape is not available or unsuitable for the intended design, artists can opt for stencils or cut-outs to create specific shapes or patterns on the resin surface. 

Stencils can be purchased or made from plastic or cardboard, while cut-outs can be fashioned from paper or thin plastic sheets. These alternatives offer additional creative possibilities and enable artists to achieve intricate designs quickly.

Use a Bright Light for Inspection

To ensure a flawless finish, artists can inspect their resin painting under a bright light. This light source helps reveal imperfections, bubbles, or dust particles that may have been missed during the painting process. 

resin painting

Artists can achieve polished and visually stunning artwork by identifying and addressing these issues before applying the final layer of resin.

A clean resin surface is essential for successful resin painting. By using a bright light to inspect the painting, artists can identify any areas that need cleaning or touch-ups.


Painting on resin requires a combination of proper techniques, materials, and creativity. Following the tips and techniques discussed in this article, artists can elevate their resin painting skills and create breathtaking artwork. 

From selecting the suitable primer and paints to mastering application techniques and correcting mistakes, each step contributes to achieving a professional and polished finish. I hope this guide inspires you to start your resin painting journey and achieve stunning results. Happy resin painting!

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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