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


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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.

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.

I poured the orange into the mold and let them all cure overnight.

Here are the results:

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:

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.)