Wow-factor! Resin Coating an Artwork, for Beginners. | Alison Camacho | Skillshare

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Wow-factor! Resin Coating an Artwork, for Beginners.

teacher avatar Alison Camacho, Resin Artist and owner of fuzzycomma

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project

    • 3. Choosing Your Resin

    • 4. Essential Equipment

    • 5. How Much Resin?

    • 6. Demonstration Coating

    • 7. Hints and Tips

    • 8. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Have you ever looked at incredibly shiny, glittering, resin coated pictures and thought 'how cool would it be to do that?' Have you ever priced up getting one of your treasured family photographs acrylic coated when printing?

If you want to add fabulous reflective depth to your pictures, while brilliantly protecting them, then this class is for you!

This Wow-factor Resin Course will explain everything you need to know in order to coat an artwork with crystal clear, epoxy-resin. This class is suitable for complete beginners using resin. It will explain what equipment you will need, how to calculate how much resin to mix, how to mix it so it always sets, how to pour and spread the resin evenly. I will explain what options there are for dealing with the edges, as well as lots of other hints and tips enabling you to get a bubble-free and mirror-finish, glittering surface.

But, beware! Resin art is addictive and there is so much more it can offer than just protecting your pictures with reflective shine... Resin can be coloured in a myriad of different ways. It can be used as a fluid art medium or to firmly secure crystals, shells and mirror chips in multimedia pieces. It can be used to create unique and surprising, stunning, sparkling art-works. This mini course is just the first step as you dip your toe in the water of the resin-art ocean. 

I hope you finish this course as in-love with resin art as I am!


This free, mini course covers the basic requirements for being able to use resin and so it would be a good idea to take this course before any of my other (planned) courses on using resin in other ways. Watch my Final Thoughts video to see examples of the sorts of things I am planning and follow me so as not to miss the courses as they are released.


Meet Your Teacher

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Alison Camacho

Resin Artist and owner of fuzzycomma


Hello, I'm Alison.

I'm a resin artist based in Bristol UK. I own the fuzzycomma art brand and website. I specialise in geode and astronomy resin art although I am often tempted into creating art which attempts to help save the planet. I am passionate about preserving our world for future generations and so I like to reuse resources that would otherwise get thrown away, and I hate waste. In line with this philosophy, I also upcycle furniture - particularly small tables, often using a geode or astronomy theme (sometimes all at once) and, of course, resin! A defining feature of my art, and of my life, is my love of colour.

I am constantly refining my art and learning new techniques which I aim to pass onto my students. I have nearly 20 years experienc... See full profile

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1. Introduction: My name is Alison and I'm a resin artist and owner of the fuzzycomma art brand that's named after my little dog Pip here. I live in Bristol in the UK and I've been a teacher, And I've been a teacher for nearly 20 years. This is my first offering on SkillShare. In this course, you will learn everything you need to know about how to put down a beautiful resin coating on either and artwork of a photograph. It might be glittering; It will certainly take your artwork to another level. So I hope you'll join me. 2. Project: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to resin coat an artwork or photograph of your choice. Obtaining the resin and the resin equipment will be the biggest stumbling block here, but I encourage you to try resin as it makes so much difference to the impact of a picture. This sun-catcher dog portrait was painted onto acrylic and then coated in resin with holographic glitter. Who doesn't love glitter? I hope you agree the resin makes a huge difference. Why not try doing some fluid art with acrylic paints or inks on a tile and then coat with resin to make a unique coaster. Big pictures or photographs coated with resin, create awesome artworks. This table-top features the Pinwheel galaxy, a photograph taken by the Hubble space telescope. A little bit of glitter added to your artwork can be fixed permanently in place, leaving a smooth top surface that reflects and shines and protects all at once. These gold and blue nebulae coasters were a commission. Each is unique, but they look so cool together as a set. My earth tones tray is not just coated with resin. The epoxy was mixed with pigments and was used to hold crystals and mirror pieces, shells and colourful minerals in place. Future courses I am planning will teach all of these techniques to make a mixed media artwork like this. But the most basic is being able to flood-coat an artwork with resin. Resin can be used over all sorts of media. This landscape used crackle paste, which I find to be very fragile. I coated it with resin which made it look wet, but it also made it much more robust too. This last example is Westerlund 2, another Hubble image, and it features on my title pages for this course. This piece had two coats of resin, which included a very small amount of holographic glitter. I hope these resin coated artworks have piqued your interest and will encourage you to create your own projects and post it for others to see and share in the beauty of resin. 3. Choosing Your Resin: When selecting which resin to use, there are some essential things to consider along with availability and price. VOC level. VOC is the volatile organic compounds level. This gives an indication of how smelly the resin is, but also how safe it is to work with without a respirator. If your studio is inside your house or if a member of your family has asthma my like mine, you will especially want to go for low VOC content. Colour. For artwork, choose a non-yellowing colourless resin. It's a good idea to choose one with UV resistance as this will help to protect your art or photo from fading. Do you prefer to mix by volume or mass? The one-to-one epoxy to hardener by volume are easier to calculate, and so this may be a factor for you. Working time or pot life, gives you the amount of time that you can use the resin before it gets too thick to work. I would select a resin that gives you about 40 minutes of working time so you don't feel rushed. There are epoxy resins that set when exposed to UV. These are more expensive, but only a single chemical is needed and you don't need to wait for it to set. These are particularly good for making resin jewellery. This course does not really cover this sort of resin. This slide shows a direct comparison between some of the market leader resins that are available, mostly in the UK. Please note that the prices that are quoted here are the prices at the beginning of 2021. And so they might not be relevant depending on when you're watching this course. There are plenty of other art resins available, these are just four of the most popular. Please pause this video if you wish to study this table. 4. Essential Equipment: In this chapter, I go through the essential equipment for using resin. So first things first, to use resin, you're going to need some resin. Now, you can see here that I've got my resin on a plastic bag and that's because it's very sticky. In fact, the very next thing I'm going to do is put some gloves on. So you are going to need resin and you're going to need some gloves. The gloves can be latex, they can be nitrile, they can be vinyl, it doesn't really matter. So long as they are powder free. If you get the powdered ones, you'll end up with dust all over your resin, which is not great. So gloves to protect your skin. I'll talk about the safety side of resin later. You're going to need some resin and resin, epoxy-resin always comes in two parts. First of all, there's the actual epoxy, and the one I'm using here, you can see it's called Glass Cast three, this is the one I prefer. Glass Cast, make lots of different sorts of resin. The three means that it's designed for three millimeter top coats. And this particular resin gives a beautiful shiny top coat finish to any resin products that you choose to make. This is the epoxy and you are also going to need some hardener. Okay? This particular resin is two-to-one epoxy to hardener by mass. Some resins are measured by volume, particularly the other market leader is Art Resin, Art Resin is one-to-one epoxy to hardener up by volume. Both Art Resin and Glass Cast and a number of other art resins available on the market, they are low in volatile organic compounds, and so you don't actually have to have a respirator. However, even after using resident for some time, people can become sensitive to it, and it seems to me that it makes sense to use a respirator when you use an epoxy resin. It's really quite a powerful chemical, after all, and you don't want to risk your lungs. So I do use a respirator except when I'm creating videos where I have to talk to you guys. So I won't be using respirator in all of my course videos, but I hope and expect you guys to. So, resin, two sorts of materials, the epoxy and the hardener. And you mix it up according to the manufacturer's instructions. Because my resin is mixed up according to the mass. I also need, and you can see this one is well used, quite an accurate scale balance. This is a kitchen scale balance. And it's quite difficult to see now because it's been so well used. I hope you can see the scale there. It resets itself to 0. And this one will weigh things to within a gram. And you really need that sort of accuracy. So a fraction of an ounce, if you prefer to work in ounces. You need the accuracy, because the proportions matter. If you don't get the proportions right, it's possible that your resin won't set. You can find all of this equipment in the resources sheet that's attached to this course. So in addition to the scale balance, obviously you need some cups. Now if you are measuring your resin by volume, you will want to have graduated cups, which will be sold probably by the person who, the manufacturer that, sells you the resin. I don't need to do that because I use a scale balance because on measuring my epoxy by mass. So my cups don't have any gradations on them. They are however, re-usable. These happens to be old coffee cups left over from an event. And, I've used them and used them and used them. The resin sets hard, and so you can just pour more resin on the top once it's set. I like to reuse coffee cups. You can use plastic cups. Plastic cups - the resin will peel off, which means that, unless you've left a significant amount of resin in there, it will peel off in little bits and then it's difficult to reuse the cup. So I prefer to use paper cups and, and I reuse them and reuse them. You can see these ones have been well used and they're properly covered in resin now. In addition to cups, you will need stirrers. Now, you can buy these, but these are actual lolly sticks that have lollies on them that my family have consumed. And I rescue them and I use them for mixing up resin. They're only going to get thrown away otherwise, and I have to save the planet if I can. so little wooden lolly type sticks and rescue them if you can, buy them, if you can't. I have experimented with proper spatulas. You can see that this one is, it's actually a silicon rubber spatula. And when I first got it was absolutely brilliant, it was really flexible and it allowed me to get all the resin out of the corners. If you're not totally careful about how you clean them at the end of each session, you can see what happens. They end up covered in quite a thick layer of really solid resin. And now this one won't bend at all. So if you are very good with your equipment, then you might want to invest in some of these, otherwise, stick to the lolly sticks. Like I mentioned before, health and safety, you might want to invest in a respirator. If you could do your resining outside, that's great. You really need to do it in a well ventilated room. And if you can't do that, then a respirator really is a must. This respiratory you can see has a face mask to protect the eyes as well. That actually compromises the seal if I wear my glasses, but I get to see better close up so I take my glasses off when I'm resining. If you wear glasses and you have difficulty seeing close up, you might want to invest in one that seals just around the mouth and nose and doesn't have the goggles included with it. You can see that there are two filter units attached to this particular thing. The filters that you need to buy need to be activated charcoal filters, the sort that will absorb volatile compounds. Just a dust filter won't do. It needs to be something that will take a volatile compounds, organic compounds out of what you're breathing in. Any filter that is suitable for use with graffiti type spray paints is also suitable for resin. Follow your manufacturer's instructions on how often you need to change these. The filters don't last forever and you need to change them otherwise, the respirator stops working to protect your lungs. So that's a reasonably expensive investment for your resin artwork. This is a heat gun. It's not a hair dryer though it works very similarly. It's much, much more powerful, much hotter and less air flows through it. And this particular one, was made Black and Decker, is designed to strip paint. And this is really useful for getting rid of bubbles. It also is really useful for heating up your resin to make it a little bit more liquid so that you can rearrange it if you want it to flow a little bit better. I also use this to soften resin that I have masked off with masking tape, where I want the resin to tear at the edges of masking tape, after it's really begun to cure. And heating it with a heat gun makes it a bit easier to peel off. And in addition, if you've got some cured but not properly hard-set resin, when you pick an object up, you might leave a fingerprint behind. You think: 'Oh, no, I have ruined my artwork'. Never fear, your trusty heat gun will help you. Blast the surface with some hot air using a heat gun and you can watch your fingerprint disappear. So really, really useful. It does have the disadvantage that it does use an air blower, and consequently it can blow dust at your surface if you're working in a dusty area. So it's important that you keep your work area is dust free as possible, if you like. Lots of people like to use these butane gas guns. This is the sort that you might use for, a chef might use for, for brulee-ing, creme brulee. This is great and it's a nice to have. It's not as useful as the heat gun. Partly because, the heat that comes from it is so intense that you end up, if you're not really careful, burning your resin and you can certainly boil it and destroy that beautiful surface that you might want to have. Your specular mirror finish type surface that is so characteristic of things made from resin. It is great to use this very light handedly in order to get rid of bubbles. That's just super to watch. But please be careful using one of these. This is a 'nice to have', but it's not an essential. There are all sorts of things that you can use to colour your resin. I'm going to deal with that in a separate video. There are all sorts of things that you can use your resin to stick down to your pieces. So glass crystals like these ones, or for example shells, this is abalone shell, although these ones to be polished. If I rub the dust of that, can you see the shine? Hopefully, you can. So there are all sorts of things that you can stick on to your, your artwork like this. Lots of different pigments to mix into resin. What you can't mix into resin is anything with too much water in it. That will stop the resin from setting. And there are one or two other things that you will need to work neatly and carefully. Plastic; resin doesn't stick to polythene. So you might want a polythene cover for your table. Paper does work, you have to throw it away. Resin will just peel off polythene. Kitchen roll, I advocate kitchen roll rather than wet wipes, Wet wipes, are great, but they're really bad for the environment. Kitchen roll is cheaper and you can use this to wipe your gloves before you take them off or pickup your heat gun. And that will help you. If you do get resin on your skin, you're going to want to wash it off. Resin is really sticky and it doesn't wash off with regular soap and water. So I advocate that you get yourself some vegetable oil, olive oil, sunflower seed oil, the cheapest that your local supermarket will stock. And if you get resin on, for example, your skin on your hands, rub it in, dilute the resin with vegetable oil, and then wash it with lots of detergent soap, that you would use to do your washing up. If you've still sticky after you've done that, you have to go back to the oil and do some more with the oil. If you get resin on your clothes, forget it, you'll never get it out. So wear really our clothes. I don't know if you can see that I've got paint and things on this top. Don't ever wear anything that you mind getting covered in resin because you might very well do that. And I would also advocate tying your hair back. You don't want to have strands falling down in your face and go to... No, no. So I hope that that's covered most of the things that you would want to use with resin. 5. How Much Resin?: In this chapter, I show you how to calculate how much resin will need. When you are coating an artwork, the quantity of resin you'll need depends on the area of the artwork. Here you can see me measuring the width and the length of this rather large astronomy picture. The area is the width times the length. I've measured mine in centimeters, 60 times 90 centimeters for me. So if my area is 5,400 centimeters squared. A rule of thumb calculation for how much resin you will need is to divide the area in centimeters squared by ten. And you will need that many grams of resin, or that many milliliters or centimeters cubed of resin. If you are measuring your resin by volume instead of mass. 6. Demonstration Coating: In this chapter, I show you how to resin coat a really large astronomy image. I'm not going to mix up all my resin at once. There are several reasons for this. First, my cups aren't big enough. Second, mixing resin is an exothermic reaction. This means that if you mix up lots of it at once, it can get very hot. Here you can see that I'm pouring the epoxy. The epoxy is very viscous, gelatinous to pour, especially as a here I'm working in really quite cold shed in England in the middle of winter. And so my resin is a bit gloopy. It's easier to pour the epoxy first because the hardener is much thinner. And so you can be more accurate when you're pouring your hardener. Now mixing needs to be done thoroughly. Some people time themselves. But what I usually do is I transfer the resin from one cup into the other cup several times. And I do that to make sure that I've got all of the resin out of all of the corners of my cup every time. And this way, because you can actually see whether or not you've left any resin behind, you can make sure that you have stirred every single bit. I'm just warming mixture a little bit in order to make it a little bit more liquid and getting rid of a few bubbles. The bubbles are much easier to remove once you've poured the liquid onto the surface, because they haven't got very far to go before they reach the top surface of the resin and they can pop there. Now you'll notice when I pour this that I have a plan in my head, I'm going to pour this resin, which has this holographic white glitter in it, and not very much of it, over the blackest parts of my image. So in effect the glitter will become the finest stars present in the image. I'm pouring a second cup of resin and I'm spreading it with my fingers. I prefer to use my fingers. That gives you a much better feel. If you use a scraper, you might end up damaging surface of your photograph. You need to make sure that all of the edges are covered, if that is your intention. Using a heat gun, pops the bubbles. After a final check that there are no bubbles, no blemishes anywhere. You can leave your recent to cure. And then do a second coat. 7. Hints and Tips: Things that will help you produce a really superb result on your resin coating are: To get your equipment ready before you start. This includes all your resin, but you'll stirrers and your cups and your heat gun and absolutely everything before you start. Keep any children and animals away. It's not just for safety, but it also means you don't get dog hair in your resin. Put your mobile phone somewhere safe. I've ruined at least two telephones by touching them when I've got resin my hands. Level your art work or your photograph before you start. That doesn't mean that you can't level it once you've got resin sliding off one side, and have some shims ready to put under one edge so that you can keep it level when it's curing. And make sure that the temperature that the room that your artwork is in, is correct. It needs to be about room temperature, too cold, and the resin takes a long, long time to set. Too warm and it will set before you're ready to finish processing it. So get the temperature around about room temperature is ideal. Think about your edges. Allowing resin to run over the edges might be the easiest way to deal with this, and you can wipe away any drips with a finger. Remember, using a heat gun makes the resin more liquid and so it will flow over the edges more. You may want this to happen, or you might want to seal your edges with tape in order to prevent resin going on the edges. If you have mounted your photograph or your artwork on foam board, you might consider doming the edge. This means pushing the resin right to the very edge of the piece, but not allowing it to flow over. It is particularly appropriate for foam board as resin doesn't stick well to foam. You get a nice neat finish. Do you want to use two coats? If you have any blemishes at all in your first coat, you can wait until it's fully cured and sand it and then apply a second coat. You might want to add two coats in order to add depth to your artwork. So Two coats is a possibility. With most resins if you apply the second coat sufficiently quickly after the first one, you don't need to do any surface preparation of the first layer before adding the second layer, and it gives you a completely seamless join. Sanding scratches simply don't show, if you add a second coat. You need to allow time for your resin to fully harden. Most resins will cure in about 24 hours, but they're not completely hard then. You might want to allow about seven days for most resins to come to full hardness. The longer you leave it, the harder they become. Some resin manufacturers recommend post-creation processes. So for example, oven curing things that are going to be coasters, for example. This means putting them in an oven for sort of 16 hours at 60 degrees. And you end up with a resin that's much more resistant to high temperatures. Or you can sand and polish the sanding and polishing makes the top surface of the resin slightly less shiny, but also much more resistant to scratching. This is appropriate if you're going to use your resin layer for furniture, for example. And finally, hang your artwork out of direct sunlight. Most resins say that they are resistant to UV, and they will protect your artwork. But no resin is completely infallible from this point of view. And it's a good idea to keep your artwork out of direct sunlight. 8. Final Thoughts: Having made your first dalliances into resin, don't let it stop there. First: Please share your project successes, and any failures too, that we may learn. If you have any suggestions to improve this, my first Skill Share course, then please let me know. I would love to hear from you. Second, resin has so many more options than just coating artwork. It can be coloured and laid down in layers, used to secure all sorts of media to create fantastic, fabulous and glittering artworks. I am planning courses showing in detail how to use resin to; make coasters, create astronomical artworks, geode art works and eventually courses on upcycling tables using resin. If you have any requests on what resin projects you would love to see, please get in touch. In the meantime. Please follow me to be sure of catching the next fuzzycomma course, which will be out soon.