DIY Ocean Inspired Resin Art

By Kate Riley August 2, 2018

Every now and then I experiment with a new medium to create art. I find it so therapeutic to swirl paint colors around. A few weeks ago I stumbled across the world of resin art on Etsy and YouTube and became entranced with the idea of trying it out for myself.

As a California girl I’m always drawn to the sounds and colors of the coast. I love all those drone images of oceans from all around the world popping up on Instagram, so I was inspired to attempt an abstract version of the birds-eye view one sees looking down at the waves and sandy beach.

I made three attempts, for the first small canvas I was just playing around with colors and the resin to get a feel for it. On my second attempt (the large rectangle down below), I got brave and just went for it. I even made a video of the process, you can watch it at the end of this post. My third attempt at working with resin on canvas was my most satisfying, it’s that little one in the top right that mimics the sand and waves and sea.

 

 

 

 

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Supplies: plastic sheeting, 32 oz. Art Resin, wood or stretched canvas, mixing cups; acrylic paints; 30+ wood stir sticks; refillable culinary torch + butane; latex gloves; painter’s pyramids (or substitute jello shot cups or small plastic cups turned upside down); level; your messiest painting clothes.

 

 

I used a palette of seven different acrylic paint colors mixed with the resin to create this artwork. I recommend the DecoArt paints they are a little more fluid and didn’t give me any problems when I blended them with the Art Resin.

 

 

Mix equal parts resin and hardener and stir as instructed then you can mix in your colors. These graduated mixing clear cups came in so handy because you need to get the 1:1 ratio exactly right.

 

 

Mix a tiny bit of acrylic paint into the individual cups of pre-mixed resin. Not too much or it will change the resin and may clump or burn. I used about ½ tsp per 2 oz of resin. Lay your canvas on top of the painting pyramids and then make sure it’s level.

Next, get busy pouring in whatever pattern you can imagine. Make sure you’re wearing gloves throughout the process, this stuff is sticky!

 

 

You can use the stir sticks to swirl and blend the paints together.

 

 

Blend the colors with the culinary torch, keep the flame about 2 inches away from your canvas to avoid burning the resin. The butane torch also pops any bubbles that rise to the surface.

 

 

Temperature is really important for working with resin. I did this project in my garage when it was 70 degrees which gave me about 30-40 minutes of open time with the resin before it began to set. The Art Resin website has all the information you need on ideal temperatures for this project.

Another tip, have plenty of spreading sticks available! I used them not just to mix the resin and to swirl colors, but also to drip more resin on the canvas, and to clean up around the edges of the boards. Allow 24 hours until it’s dry to the touch and 72 hours to fully cure.

It’s a little unpredictable how the colors will blend together. I learned you can control it somewhat with the amount you pour and how you swirl the colors together with sticks, and the torch blends them together as well, but you have to just accept the final result, and if you’re lucky you end up with some very cool blended hues.

 

 

 

This photo shows all three of my DIY ocean inspired art pieces. My first attempt  is on the far right, my second attempt was on birch wood (far left) and my final attempt was the 8 x 10 store-bought canvas in the middle.

 

 

I was a little dissatisfied with the way the first trial piece turned out, it’s difficult to see but for that one I happened to dig into my stash of paints and for the dark green I used the old acrylic paint and it made clumps in the resin, so the artwork feels bumpy in those places, when I was going for a totally smooth surface. But I do like the flecks of glittery gold, I’ll repeat that technique in any future attempts, and I like how these colors are more marbleized.

 

 

My second attempt was on birch plywood I had cut at Lowes to 15×24″. This is the one shown in the video from start to finish. I dislike the middle white section of this one because I was going for three tiers of waves and the middle section now looks more like clouds hovering above the ocean, not waves. Also I wanted more sandy colors on the bottom and because my board wasn’t perfectly level, the tan/sand colors dripped off quicker. But whatever, it’s a pretty mixture of colors.

 

 

My third attempt was the small 8 x 10 canvas. That time I used only brand new DecoArt paints, these had the perfect fluidity and worked best with the resin medium. This is the canvas I’m most satisfied with….just a lesson to be persistent and keep trying something till you get it close to almost right. :)

 

 

So here they are, imperfect but still very cool and I like them that way.

 

 

With resin you’ll end up with a high gloss surface which looks amazing in person but is a little tricky to photograph, you’ll pick up a glare from any nearby window, notice the shine down on the bottom?

 

 

I really loved working with this product, it’s high risk ($59 for 32. oz!) but it’s also high reward. I’m looking forward to tackling more projects with resin in the near future!

 

 

Check out this 2 minute video which shows the process and how easy it is to make your own DIY ocean inspired resin art!

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11 comments

  1. Art Resin makes tints that are fun to play with too. And you can lay down acrylic paints, let them dry, them put tinted resin on top. My best luck so far was the top of an IKEA dresser I did, trying to make an ocean looking piece.

    https://instagram.com/p/BghFEculuiK/

    The white was the tint I bought from the company and dropped directly into the wet resin. It was impossible to control how or ask moved as it cured, but it turned out pretty much how I’d envisioned it.

  2. I love these!! Your third one really looks just like a bird’s eye view of the ocean. The colors are gorgeous.

  3. The colors are very nice. The part that makes me most nervous is the blow torch. I would love to try it in the future.

    How is your dear friend and her family doing? Y’all are in my thoughts and prayers.

    • It’s a butane culinary torch, one you’d use in your kitchen for crème brulee. Thank you for inquiring about my friend, she is very ill, on hospice now.

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