Wednesday, August 18

Color, Color, Color! - Alternative ways to color resin...

I've seen some conflicting information on what you can and cannot use to color resin. Now, as far as I know you can use practically anything sort of dry pigment - such as (my favorite) Pearl Ex powders, tempura powder, pastels, micro get the idea...

Now for liquids, I've read some sources that say you can ONLY use dyes and pigments specially formulated to work with resin. But I've also run across some other sources that say you can also use oil paints.

If you can indeed use other types of pigments it would open the realm of color possibilities, so I decided to do some experimenting. Since I had no idea what would or would not work, I purchased some oil paint, and then randomly chose a few other liquid dyes.

Here's what I tried:

  • Blick Studios brand Cobalt Blue Oil Color - (oil paint in a tube)
  • Dye-na-flow by Jacquard in Teal - (fabric dye most often used for resists on silk, etc.)
  • Vitrail in Lemon yellow - (glass paint used to imitate stained glass)
  • Transparent Glass Paint in Purple - (another type of glass paint)
  • Acylic paint in Orange - (the cheap-o kind you can get in a 24-pack in any craft store)

Since I didn't know how each would react with the resin, I wanted to use only a relatively small amount. I mixed up a batch of resin and divided it among several mixing cups, filling each one to the 1/2 oz mark.

I started with the oil paint - squeezing a small less-than-pea-sized-amount onto my stir stick, and mixing it up.

As you can see, it mixed up fairly well, but left quite a few dark particles floating around. (Granted, I didn't spend an enormous amount of time trying to blend it.)

Next, the Dye-na-flow fabric paint. This is in a very liquid form, so I simply dipped a clean stir-stick into the bottle, and whatever was left on the stick I stirred into the resin.

It mixed up beautifully! Gorgeous color - isn't it?

I used the same method to use the Vitrail (also very, very liquid).

I forgot to take a picture of the mixing - but like the Dye-na-flow, it mixed beautifully. Very clear yellow.
Next, the glass paint.

This was a little more gooey, so I squeezed a drop into my resin. I stirred and stirred, but could never mix it beyond what you see in the picture. So the glass paint was a bust. One good thing though - I could just scoop that little paint glob out and use the resin for something else. So, not a total waste.

I poured all the colors that mixed into a mold. Then went back and doubled the amount of pigment in each and poured the doubled portion into the mold as well.

After I poured the resin and set it aside to cure, I remembered the acrylic paint. Oops!

I only had a small amount of resin left - so I added a small bit to about 1/4 oz. of resin.

Of course, my pictures are lapsing again, but the acrylic paint mixed great - very smooth consistency, no globs or blobs, and much more opaque than the other pigment tried previously.
I poured the orange into the mold and let them all cure overnight.

Here are the results:

I was pleasantly surprised, but they all cured properly! All hard - no softness, tackiness, or other weirdness!
Wow! - I am so excited because this really provides a lot more easy color options.
Just think of the entire wall of Americana brand acrylic paint at your local craft store? Thousands of colors - you can probably find the exact shade you want with no mixing. And, it's way cheaper than special resin dyes.

Here's some shots of each piece held up to the light, so you can see the transparency and color consistency:

1. - Oil paint
2. - Oil paint, doubled
3. - Vitrail
4. - Acrylic paint
5. - Dye-na-flow
If you'd like to try these alternative colorants for your next resin project, here are some things to consider....
  • I only tried this with Easy Cast Epoxy Resin. Results may be different with different types of resin such as Colores, or Castin' Craft Clear. (I will experiment with other types in the future and post results as I get them.)

  • Only a small amount was used - approximately 1 drop of color to 1/2 oz. resin. I'm not sure at what proportion any of these colors not let the resin as usual, just add the smallest amount you need, 1 drop at a time, until you get the desired color.

  • I didn't try mixing any of these, and am not sure how they would work mixed with other resin colorants...

  • There may be many more types of dyes and pigments designed for other mediums that may well work with resin. So if you're feeling experimental, please give it a try...

And please, if you have tried any other types of pigments, or have tried these with other types of resin, of have any other insights please leave a comment so I can update this post - maybe start creating a list of what we can use...

(If you are looking for any of the above mentioned products, I purchased all these colorants from Blick Art Materials online. They have super prices, and I have always been pleased with their customer service and speedy delivery.)


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this! I have been planning to try the very same thing :)

Crystal j. Bortfeld said...

thank you for being a mythbuster and sharing the detailed results of your fun experiments into the unknown and setting the record straight.

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Janis said...

wow , i have to try this out :) but nothing beats pearl-ex for me :)

IslaChic said...

Hey this is really cool, I will have to try this out. I am getting into jewelry myself and learning how to create innovative pieces. It's interesting how you use mixed media for your jewelry and create pieces that are rich in value. Check out my blog @!


Bearded Lady said...

I just found your blog through a google search and I absolutely love it. I recently ordered my first bottle of resin and it is sitting in my basement because I am terrified to crack it open. (Chemicals are kind of scary). I didn't even know you could mix paint into resin. This might be the push to get me over my fear. thanks!

Jennifer said...

Just found your blog while looking for dye alternatives. I've wasted so much $ with castin clear dyes. Their transparent red is not really red, it's magenta. Yellow is more amber. Last night I poured some using kool aid (least hopeful), acrylic paint, and Wilton gel food coloring. I might have messed up the portions on the food coloring, but it set up already and looks great. Someone warned me though that food dyes fade easily in resin. I'm wondering how yours lasted over a while?

Linda said...

Thank you! I have a set of Pearl Ex and was wondering if I could use it, so thanks for doing this experiment. I also have some pebeo glass paints from my glass painting phase, so thanks for the idea. You're a doll and your work is absolutely gorgeous! Do you buy your silver bezels from Rio Grande (assuming, that is, that you'd want to share that secret. %^) )

Jenny Williams said...

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your learning process! I have a ring to make for school, finals are coming up and you saved me so much time and stress!

designfrenzy said...

thanks for this tutorial and experiment! I am trying to discover new ways to give that extra spark to my artwork.

kelbihorns said...

Thank you for doing all these tutorials! I was feeling really stagnant and not creative at all, and you gave me all these fantastic new ideas to try, and now I'm really excited.

Eerie said...

OH! Thanks so much for doing this!
I've been struggling to find any info related to coloring resins with pigments that aren't created for the use of coloring resin.

I've been wanting to see how resin colored with Acrylic paint turns out and now I have!

I am guessing that if you want it a little more translucent you add less acrylic paint??

Perhaps you could do another one of these pages showing how various pigments turn out when glitter is added?

I am planning to start making resin jewelry but I really want to get all the info I can before I start so that I can make it quality.

Thank You again

skinner studio said...


For most of my projects I like to do embedding, so I usually just use clear or black resin. But I'd really like to do some more experimenting.

If you added glitter, it would be the same color, just sparkly. If you used a colored glitter, say blue, with a yellow pigment resin the colors would blend and look a little green. Keep in mind also that the glitter will settle, so depending on the effect you'd like, you might want to pour in layers.

Mo said...

This is fantastic!! Thank you so much for taking the time to experiment and post your results. :)

Life In The Thrifty Lane said...

Thanks so much for sharing this with us! So helpful!!

Ryaven said...

You have the most valuable block of information on this particular subject that I have found so far. Thank you so much for posting this! It makes me happy to know that I can use materials I already have with my clear resin. It will save me so much money and give me the opportunity to create what I want :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing the experimenting for me! Just getting into resin and resisted getting the dye because of the additional expense. Will try the paints I already have to lightly change the color.

Anonymous said...

I haven't even had a chance to try this, or work with resin for that matter, but I found this very insightful and entertaining to read. Thank you so much!

NaturElleChic said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to do these tutorials. I normally work with glass but have been asked to create some of my collages embedded in resin. You have clearly explained the process.
What colorant do you use to create your black backgrounds? They are striking.

skinner studio said...

@NaturElleChic - in the past I used a Black Opague Pigment Dye, but now I use primarily Colores brand resin and they have a black resin to which I just add the clear hardener. I like the Colores because its already jet black and I don't even have to think about - it also cures quite hard - but if you're using another brand, the opague dye works just as well; just keep adding it little by little until you reach the desired opacity. hth!

Sophie said...

Thank you for this post, its very interesting!
I have one question... The acrylic doesn't work with me, if I mix it with the resin I have darker flakes of the acrylic floating round.. it is not opaque and it doesn't even harden properly :( I use 'pebeo acrylics'
I'm really searching for a way to dye my resin for it to be opaque. Do you know why this happens?
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Are all the samples still nice and hard? I really want to try alternatives to the (very) expensive resin colors but I've heard it can leave a gooey mess months later so now I am curious to see how they have held up, especially the acrylic one. I tried eyeshadow and artists soft pastels, but they don't mix well leaving lots of tiny clumps of powder. I have seen someone else use liquid Rit dye, but of course the color I wanted the store didn't have so I got the dry but haven't tried it yet. Anymore insights to using these alternative methods?

ExactlyWatt said...

This is absolutly amazing!~ Exactally what I was looking for~ Thank you so very much~

But I would like to ask-- How do you think Metallic acrylic paint would work? Like would it retain the glittery/coppery look, or do you think it would be too diluted?

I'm looking forward to hearing you though on the matter, and one again, thank you so very much!~

Joni said...

Thank you. This is great news.

Julia Dziuba said...

You just saved me so much time! The acrylic results are exactly what I'm looking for... good thing I have loads of them! Thanks so much!


Anonymous said...

Be careful with acrylic paints. If you add too much, your resin piece will become almost rubbery and break or scratch or chip. I learned the hard way lol. And the more you add, the longer it cures :(.

Luv2CUSmile said...

Hmm.... posting from kindle is cool but frustrating, lol
anyway, great experimentation. I would love to have more color alternatives and choices than resin dyes. These have a great glassy look but colors so clear. I love pearl ex and perfects pearls but love getting colored glass look without always having the "pearly/glittery" effect. Thx for ideas.

Davilyn said...

I have found that dyes made exclusively for resin are highly inadequate. You are unable to get any vibrant colors; and it gets bubbles.
I use Mayco Softee colors (they are waterbase acrylics) and add Golden transparent airbrush color a drop at a time. You get these outrageous vibrant colors that are just beautiful. Plus, almost no bubbles. If you get a few bubbles you can just pop them with a toothpick. I also have found that you don't get bubbles when you pour - it is thick and fills every indent nicely.

Anonymous said...

A huge thank you!! I searched for this exact information never thinking I could find it all in one spot. You are a real life saver with this info!! I can now start my project right away and not waste more time looking for proper dyes for resin!!

Lynn Garrett said...

This is incredibly helpful information. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this experiment. I have been embedding with clear resin and glitter and really want to start experimenting with color.

Anonymous said...

Hi all,

I would like to know what resin did you used that is compatible with the Vitrail yellow from Pebeo. I am asking this because I work with Resoltech WWA resin(which is crystal clear epoxy resin) and when pouring some Vitrail, it became kind of opaque. Now I am using CastinCraft Transparent dyes but I am not pleased with the colors tint. I would like a bright red to match another object that I have, and just can't seem to make it with the Red and Yellow dyes. What other transparent dyes do you recommend?
For contacting me:

P.S.: I know this is a 3 years old thread, but hopefully someone sees it and is willing to help. Thanks

skinner studio said...

I have not done much experimenting beyond this post - sorry! I have used acrylic paints with Colores Brand resin (the resin I prefer for my own projects) and it worked great! I haven't had a need for a transparent colored resin, so I just haven't played with it beyond the experiments in this post where I used Easy Cast. If you want to try something (vitrail, for example) with a different brand of resin, I would say just go for it! Just do a test like I did here, with small resin pieces to see how/if it works and how much you need to get the color you want.