How to Paint Resin Figures

How to Paint Resin Figures

When it comes to working with epoxy resin, one thing is for sure: there are so many cool projects you can create with it. From ashtrays, jewelry, frames, and keychains to paint-pouring art, countertops, woodworking, and even flooring, anything can take shape when you use your creativity and epoxy resin. 

Until now we’ve learned about how to make resin coasters, things you can encase in resin, how to use epoxy resin on wood, and many more. Today I’m gonna give you some tips & tricks on how to paint resin figures. 

You may think that it’s not that difficult. Indeed, the whole painting process is quite easy and fun. But there are some rules you should follow from start to finish, so you can fully enjoy the experience. 

Can you paint resin figurines? 

The answer is yes. However, resin can be a bit tricky to paint and very different from painting on canvas or wood. Because its surface is smooth, it can be challenging to get an opaque effect on a single stroke of the brush. On the other hand, it can help to create semi-transparent effects. 

But there is a very important thing you should know: you always have to prime your figures before painting them, otherwise the paint may peel off in a short time, or it may not adhere at all to the statues. 

Type of paint you can use on resin

Using the right type of paint is important in the process of painting resin figurines because it can ruin or work or make it outstanding. 

Acrylic 

In most cases, acrylic paint is the best choice for painting resin miniatures or models. Acrylic-based paints can be brushed or sprayed on. 

Oil Paint

Oil paint is made of… oil. Compared to acrylics, oil paints must be thinned with a solvent, such as such as linseed oil or chemical paint thinners. My advice is to avoid using oil-based paints since they don’t adhere well to the resin and require a longer time to dry.

Enamel

Enamel paints caan be either oil or water-based. Typically, they are tougher than acrylics and dry to a hard, glossy finish. 

Acrylic paints vs. primers

Water-based acrylic paints are pigments suspended in water. They are created to provide uniform color and coverage and, depending on the ratios of the mix, acrylics can be thick or airbrush-thin. Usually, acrylic miniature paints contain a higher density of pigment, which allows thin coats to cover better.  

Primers are paint-like substances chemically formulated to bond with a surface and prepare it for painting. A primer ensures a strong base and consistent texture for the paint layers, and help protect your work from the foundation up. 

Steps to take when painting resin figures

Step 1 – Clean the surface

Wipe off the resin surface with some warm soapy water. If the resin piece is unpainted or very dirty you an consider using a little powdered cleanser. Mild dish soap is intended for the resin that’s already painted and only requires touchups. Use an old toothbrush or one that is designated for miniatures or figures to reach any difficult places.

Step 2 – Sand the resin down

Carefully look for seams or excess resin that needs to be trimmed away before painting. You can use a craft knife to slice the resin ridges away. Safety comes first, so make sure you slide the knife away from your body instead of towards you. To smooth the surface out, use 800-grit sandpaper.

Step 3 – Fill the holes

Check the resin figure to see if there are any bubbles, holes, or other surface problems that could affect the smooth finish after painting. In case you find any holes, you need to fill them with epoxy putty. Wait for the putty to dry and then smooth the surface with a 600-grit sandpaper.

Step 4 – Apply the primer

Shake the can of spray primer, hold it at 12 to 18 inches from the object, and spray the surface using smooth, even strokes. Allow the primer to dry completely for about 15-30 minutes and then repeat the process.

Step 5 – Paint the resin figurines using acrylic paint  

Add your first layer of paint using an artist’s brush. Start with the main color you want to use. Don’t try to apply too much paint from the beginning. It won’t help you get the opaque effect as it’s going to take a couple of applications. 

Step 6 – Let your objects fully dry before adding another layer of paint

Set your piece aside for 1or 2 minutes between colors. If you want to apply another coat of resin, then you should wait about 20 or 30 minutes for it to harden. Once you can touch the paint without smearing it, then it’s ready for resin application. At this stage, when the resin is still sticky, you can add effects like glitter, dried flowers, or other objects that will stick to the paint. Don’t forget that you have to let it dry thoroughly before adding another resin layer.

Step 7 – Use a varnish spray to protect your painted resin figure 

At this final step you can spray over the object a layer of lacquer sealant and let it dry completely. Varnish spray is used as a finishing layer to protect artworks from discoloration, moisture, dirt, and even UV rays. 

What to use to color epoxy resin? 

First, you have to measure equal parts of resin and hardener in the graduated mixing cups and start mixing the product for 3 – 7 minutes by hand with a clean stir stick. Add a small amount of mica powder or glow in the dark pigments and mix well. Repeat this process until you have achieved the desired shade.

Types of primers & how to use them

Primers come in three colors: white, black, and grey. Selecting a color primer should generally be based on the color you intend to paint over the primer. Here’s how you should use primers:

  • If you’ll be painting with bright, light colors, use a white primer (it also allows you to see the details of a model much more clearly).
  • For darker colors, use a black primer (it’s perfect for miniatures that will be painted mostly with metallic paints).
  • If you’re using mixed color, grey or white primer is the best choice. Grey primer also makes easier to see all the fine details of a model or figurine. 

What paintbrush should you use when painting resin figures?

Synthetic brushes make the best choice for resin painting thanks to their great quality and durability.  

Warnings

  • Always work in a well-ventilated area when using epoxy resin or primer spray.
  • Wear protective gear: safety goggles, air-purifying respirator, and nitrile gloves.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before eating, drinking, or toileting.

Final thoughts

Resin painting is not complicate, but it requires patience. Remember that if you want your project to come out perfect, you have to wait for it to dry whenever you want to apply another layer of color or resin. 

Do you know any other tips on how to paint resin figures? Feel free to share them with us.