There are plenty of ways to color epoxy resin and most will give you a good result. The differences between the results are often hardly noticeable but some methods will give you a different result than others. In this guide, I will tell you what different methods there are and show you the result for each method so that you can decide which resin coloring method is best for your project.
As a whole, resin can be colored by using acrylic paint, alcohol ink, resin dye, pigment powder, and food coloring. The best results can be achieved by using resin dye or alcohol inks. Simply mix small amounts of dye or paint with the two compounds of the resin.
A lot of different paints can be used to color resin successfully but it is important to note that some types of paints, like oil paints, aren´t as suited as they don´t mix well with the resin components and might even cause some curing issues if too much oil paint is mixed with the resin.
Most water-based paints can be used to color resin but only if they are used sparingly. A few drops are usually enough to color the resin and more could cause curing issues.
All types of coloring pigments are usually a great choice and will give you good results but some pigments can cause the resin to lose its transparency.
There is a detailed guide on how to color resin and a comparison of the different methods with pictures.
How to Color Resin
Coloring resin is pretty straightforward.
To color resin simply mix in a few drops of paint or a little bit of the power of your choice with the two compounds of the resin. Mix the two parts with the color thoroughly. And then pour the colored epoxy into your mold or on the surface.
Here are the basic steps for coloring resin:
- Put the resin in a mixing cup
- Add the correct amount of hardener
- Add a few drops of alcohol ink or resin dye
- Mix the resin well with a stirring stick
- Add more ink if necessary
- Pour the resin and let it cure
- Sand the surface of the resin if necessary
If you don´t have a mold yet then you can either buy one on Amazon or make your own by following this guide where I explain how to easily make your own silicone mold.
Make sure that your resin is the right one for pouring your mold.
This isn´t an issue if you just want to make some jewelry, for example, but if you plan on pouring something like a diorama or a river table then you need deep pour resin that is specially made for pouring thick layers of more than one or two inches.
Otherwise, the resin might not cure properly or the exothermic reaction might be very strong deforming the resin during the curing process.
If you don´t know what types of resin there are and what resin actually is then consider reading this article, that I wrote, where I explain all of that in more detail.
If the resin has some bubbles or dirt on the surface then you can easily get rid of it by sanding the surface of the resin with some fine grit sandpaper.
And to get the resin smooth and shiny again use the finest sandpaper you can get and sand the surface again but this time with some water. This is called wet sanding and will create a very smooth finish.
You can read more about this process and see some example pictures on how to sand resin in my guide on how to make fake water for a diorama.
Color Resin Using Acrylic Paint
To color resin with acrylic paint simply add a few drops of the paint to the epoxy resin and mix it thoroughly.
Acrylic paint doesn´t mix well with resin, so you have to mix it very well in order to get a good result.
I only needed about a drop size of paint to color the resin. So take it slow and add little by little of the paint. You will need more or less paint than I did, depending on the color of the acrylic and how many pigments the paint contains.
I have a full guide on coloring resin with acrylic paint that you can read right here if you are interested.
You can also use acrylic paint to add some color swirls to the epoxy after you poured it. This is a very interesting effect that is possible to do with inks and dyes as well but I think it is especially great looking when done with acrylic paint.
As a whole, using acrylic paints to color resin will yield good results but you need to mix the resin very well or you will end up with tiny specs of the paint inside the resin. But the resin will loose its translucency when colored with acrylic paint.
Lighter colors like yellow or green work better than dark blue or brown.
Color Resin Using Inks
Using alcohol-based inks is one of my favorite methods of coloring epoxy resin.
Only half a drop is usually more than enough to color the resin for a small cast. Inks mix very easily with the resin and don´t leave any paint speaks inside the resin.
Inks can also be mixed to achieve different colors.
Lighter colors usually need a little more ink to color the resin while darker colors will color the resin really quickly.
As a whole, alcohol inks are my favorite way to color resin because it is easy and fast while also being way cheaper than using special resin dye.
Color Resin Using Resin Dye
Resin dye, as the name suggests, is a dye specifically for coloring resin.
I personally am not that much of a fan because regular alcohol ink usually does the job just as well as resin dye and it´s usually much cheaper.
To color resin with resin dye simply follow the instructions on the packaging. But usually, you will only need one or two drops to fully color the resin for a small piece of jewelry.
As a whole, resin dye will color resin evenly and without making the resin cloudy. But it is more expensive than other viable options like alcohol inks.
Color Resin Using Pigment Powder
Pigments are present in every painting but you can get them as a powder as well. They are usually used to mix and make your own paint or for coloring items directly with.
We are going to use them for coloring resin though.
Simply mix very little of the pigment powder with the resin and make sure to mix it thoroughly.
If you color resin with pigment powder then the resin won´t be transparent anymore. The resin will become foggy which means it is only useful for some specific projects.
Pigment powder is very expensive, so it might not be the best choice for everyone.
Color Resin Using Chalk
Chalk is pretty much just pigment powder in solid form. Even though this is a very simplified explanation.
Use a box knife to scratch some of the chalk off and make sure to break the chalk into as tiny pieces as possible. You essentially want to have chalk dust.
Then simply mix the chalk dust with the resin and make sure to mix well.
As a whole, using chalk to color resin isn´t the best choice. The chalk will not dissolve properly in the resin and the resin will only accept a very little amount of the color. But it can be used to create a flower paddle effect.
Color Resin Using Food Coloring
I am hesitant to recommend coloring resin with food coloring. The reason is that most food coloring is diluted heavily with water and if you add too much of it to the resin then the resin might not cure properly anymore.
I didn´t have issues with it because I only added very little to the resin and I made sure to mix the resin very thoroughly.
But even then, you can see some paint specs in the resin where the food coloring didn´t dissolve properly.
As a whole, I would not recommend using food coloring to color resin as there are other alternatives that are more reliable to color resin with. The result also didn´t turn out well. Using alcohol ink, for example, will give you better results and you don´t have to worry about the resin not curing properly.
What Can be Used to Color Resin?
There are a couple of things that can be used to color resin. Here is a full list of what can be used to color resin.
As a whole, acrylic paint, alcohol ink, resin dye, pigment powder, airbrush paint, chalk, and food coloring can all be used to color resin. Alcohol ink and resin dye will yield the best results for transparent resin and chalk or pigment powder will color resin but the resin will become clouded.
You can see the results of each of these coloring methods above and decide on your own which one is the best for your project.
Can Acrylic Ink be Used to Color Resin?
I already showed you that you can use alcohol-based inks to color resin but how about acrylic ink?
As a whole, acrylic ink can be used to color resin but where alcohol ink doesn´t impact the curing process of resin negatively while acrylic ink does. This basically means that acrylic ink should only be used sparingly to avoid curing issues with the resin.
Acrylic ink will color resin very well and the result will look very good.
But acrylic ink is water-based so the water inside the ink will be introduced to the resin when coloring it. This can cause some issues with the curing process.
Alcohol ink, on the other hand, won´t impact the curing process because the alcohol usually evaporates before the resin starts curing.
Can Paint Be Mixed With Resin?
When wanting to color epoxy resin a lot of hobby crafters will want to use whatever they already have laying around. But can paint be mixed with resin and if so what kind of paints can be used?
As a whole, resin can be mixed with paint but oil-based paints and water-based paints don´t mix well with resin resulting in small specks of paint that will be visible once the resin has cured. But paint can be used to add some swirling effects, for example, to the resin.
I sometimes use acrylic paint to color epoxy resin and it usually turns out ok but I usually like to use acrylic paint to add effects to the resin instead of coloring epoxy with it.
If you mix the resin well enough then you will get rid of most of the paint specks inside the resin but you will get the best results when simply using alcohol inks or resin dye.
Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.