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How do you make epoxy resin colorful?

Epoxy resin is a popular material used in DIY crafts and home improvement projects. It is valued for its glossy finish, durability, and ability to adhere to various surfaces. Plain epoxy resin dries clear, which allows the natural pattern and color of the substrate to show through. However, many people like to tint their epoxy projects to achieve more vibrant, colorful results. Adding colorants is an easy way to transform plain epoxy resin into a stunning work of art. In this article, we will discuss the different methods and materials you can use to add color to epoxy resin.

Colorants for Epoxy Resin

There are several types of colorants that work well for tinting epoxy resin:

Liquid pigments

Liquid pigments, also called epoxy dye, are specially formulated for use in epoxy resin. They come in every color imaginable and produce a translucent, stained-glass effect. Some popular brands of epoxy pigments include Let’s Resin, Ruspert, and Jacquard Pinata Alcohol Ink. These dyes mix easily into the resin without affecting the cure time or reducing clarity. They can be combined to create custom colors.

Powder pigments

Powdered pigments are another good option for coloring epoxy. They come in a wide variety of bold hues and work well for opaque, solid color resin projects. Some commonly used powder pigments are mica powders and acrylic paint powders. Make sure to use pigments labeled for epoxy resin, as other paint powders may inhibit curing. Metallic powders like gold, silver, and copper are also available to give resin a shimmering, iridescent finish.

Alcohol inks

While alcohol inks are not specifically designed for resin, they can still be used to add vibrant color. The inks produce swirling, painterly effects. Colors blend and bleed in unique ways when mixed into resin. The results are highly unpredictable, leading to marbled, psychedelic designs. Alcohol inks work best in thin layers of resin. Brands like Ranger, Jacquard, and Tim Holtz all make alcohol-based inks suitable for resin coloring.

Acrylic paint

For a budget-friendly option, standard acrylic craft paint can be used to color epoxy resin. The paint should be highly pigmented and non-transparent. Mix in just a little at a time until the desired shade is achieved. Too much acrylic paint may impede epoxy curing and lead to soft spots. Best practices are to use no more than 3% paint by volume and do thorough test pours first.

Tinting Techniques

Once you have selected your colorants, it’s time to mix them into the epoxy resin. Here are some techniques for adding color:

Solid colors

For a solid, opaque color, first thoroughly mix the resin and hardener as directed. Next, add the colorant a little at a time, mixing between additions. Stir for 3-5 minutes to fully incorporate the color. A good starting point is about 1⁄4 teaspoon of pigment per ounce of mixed epoxy resin. Increase the amount gradually until the preferred color intensity is reached.

Gradient colors

Ombre or color gradient effects are achieved by slowly increasing the colorant amount from one end of the project to the other. For example, start with uncolored resin, then gradually mix in more blue dye as you pour across the surface. Use a stirring stick when adding the color to maintain the gradient look.

Swirls and accents

Adding colorants to only a portion of the resin creates swirling designs when poured. Spoon or drizzle the colored resin strategically onto the project before topping with a layer of clear. Torching or manipulating the piece will enhance the swirl effect. You can also use pens or tools to draw designs into the freshly poured resin.

Multiple colors

For projects with many colors, plan the design first and keep colors separated in smaller mixing cups. Layer the colors by pouring thin lines, alternating colors as you move across the surface. The resin will spread and bleed into itself for dazzling effects. Take care not to over-mix or the colors will become muddy.

Faux effects

Pigments can be used to mimic other materials like stone, wood, and tortoiseshell. For example, add brown pigment to imitate an amber tone or metallic copper powder for a weathered patina look. Experiment with layering and mixing complimentary colors for realistic faux finishes.

Choosing Your Colors

With so many color options available, planning your palette is an important first step. Here are some tips for selecting colors:

  • Consider the base color of the substrate you are coating, choosing accent colors that complement it.
  • Pick a color theme or scheme, for example monochromatic or primary colors.
  • Look at color combination charts online to identify pleasing coordinated palettes.
  • Vary opacity by pairing translucent, transparent inks with solid pigments.
  • Use an online color mixing tool to preview how different pigments combine.

Start out with just 1-3 colors for your first projects. Being strategic with color placement will allow the epoxy and pigments to do most of the work. Too many colors can become overwhelming and unattractive. Simple, well-planned designs often turn out best.

Recommended Colorants

With all the coloring options available, it can be tricky to know which specific products work best. Here are some top-rated colorants for tinting epoxy resin:

Type Brand Benefits
Liquid pigment Let’s Resin Concentrated, color fast, mixes easily
Mica powder Dr. Crafty Glimmering metallic and pearl shades
Alcohol ink Jacquard Pinata Vibrant transparent colors, unpredictable effects
Acrylic paint Liquitex Basics Affordable, versatile, premixed colors

Best Practices for Mixing

Proper mixing technique is crucial for coloring epoxy resin successfully. Here are some guidelines:

  • Always add colorants to mixed resin, not to the separate resin and hardener components.
  • Mix with a disposable stick or paddle to avoid color cross-contamination.
  • Combine colors thoroughly for at least 3 minutes to eliminate streaks.
  • Mix in small batches to allow adequate working time for the colored resin.
  • Wipe containers before reusing to prevent unintended color shifts.
  • Stir occasionally while working to maintain an even color distribution.

Going slowly and mixing thoroughly are the keys. test your colors on stir sticks before applying to your actual project. This will help identify any potential curing issues or undesirable color combinations.

Color Experiments

The best way to get comfortable using colorants is to experiment on sample projects. This allows you to see how the products interact with different resin amounts and substrates. Some fun experiments to try:

  • Combine various mixes of colors in individual molds to create color swatch samples.
  • Test opacity by coating different substrates like wood, glass, and acrylic sheeting.
  • Layer colors in a small clear cup or bezel to see how they develop.
  • Try out application techniques like dripping, spooning, and swirling colors.
  • Mix metallic powders into liquid pigments for a jewel-toned finish.

Analyzing the test pieces will reveal which colorants and mixes you like best. Taking detailed notes on the ratios used, layering order, and results will help recreate the designs for larger future projects.

Safety Precautions

Despite their versatility, some safety measures should be taken when working with tinted resin:

  • Wear gloves and eye protection when mixing pigments to avoid skin and eye contact.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area to minimize inhaling fumes.
  • Avoid mixing colorants with other chemicals like solvents which could cause dangerous reactions.
  • Clean spills thoroughly to prevent tracking pigments through your workspace.
  • Dispose of used mixing containers safely to prevent contamination risks.

Simple safety steps will allow you to focus on the fun, creative process of developing vibrant resin colors. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for additional precautions when using specific colorants.

Achieving Professional Results

With the right products and techniques, you can achieve stunning resin color effects that look professionally done:

  • Use opaque pigments for bright, high-impact colors that cover underlying surfaces.
  • Try interference and shimmer powders for a show-stopping shimmery finish.
  • Layer colors and textures for unique combinations and dimension.
  • Coat with a clear top layer to intensify the colors and provide a smooth gloss.
  • Plan out intricate patterns using tape or dams to separate color sections.
  • Practice flawless mix ratios and pour control for clean color delineation.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and dream big! With a willingness to experiment and a bit of practice, you can master the art of colorful resin.


Epoxy resin offers limitless options for adding striking colors to DIY crafts and home decor pieces. Liquid and powder pigments, alcohol inks, and acrylic paints can all be used to tint plain resin in any color imaginable. Choosing complementary palettes, mixing thoroughly, and layering colors allows you to achieve stunning designs. With safety and best practices in mind, you can let your imagination run wild and develop amazing colorful resin creations. Start experimenting with colorants today to take your epoxy resin projects to the next level!