Monday, October 10, 2016

Marble-ous Resin - How to Create a Faux Marble Finish

My niece recently celebrated her 30th birthday and as the family crafter, I scored all of the wooden numbers that decorated the tables that night. What a treasure for a compulsive crafter! 

As a thank you, I promised to make one specially decorated "30" for the birthday girl to keep as a memento of the occasion. 

She left it in my hands to decorate it in any style I wanted but she did stipulate one thing.... that it be in her favourite colour... 

I knew immediately what I wanted to do - give the numbers a FAUX MARBLE FINISH USING RESIN

I know I said I was making these in pink, but they turned out so well, that I also made some in purple so you'll notice throughout this tutorial that there are purple ones too!
Wooden numerals (30) marbled with pink, silver and white resin for a 30th birthday.

This faux marble technique looks hard to do...
but I promise you that it is SUPER EASY and gives marble-ous results!

Here's what you'll need:

Can you Colour Epoxy Resin with Acrylic Paint?

A selection of different brands of acrylic paints
The short answer is, YES, you can. But...
Not all acrylic paints work well in epoxy resins. Each resin has its own formulation, as does each acrylic paint and they're sometimes not compatible. But the large colour range available makes it worth trying them out.
Before colouring all the resin you've mixed, test your chosen colours in a small amount of resin first. If any of the paints don't mix into the resin properly and you get granules of undissolved pigment through the resin, then make a note (keep a journal of what you've tried). It doesn't necessarily mean that those paints don't work in epoxy, it just means that they didn't work in the brand of epoxy that you used. Keep in mind that those same paints might work marvellously in a different brand of epoxy. 
In general, I've found that the more expensive artist quality paints have worked really well in epoxy resin. But I've also had success with some, but not all, of the cheaper craft paint brands.

Prepping the Wood

Cover your workspace with the painter's drop sheet because this is a messy project!

Before you begin measuring the resin, you'll need to prepare all your pieces of wood. Wood has a cellular nature, so if you apply resin straight onto its surface, it will expel air into the resin. Sometimes it even fluffs up, leaving fibres poking through the surface of the resin. 

You can avoid this by sealing it first with regular craft paint. Choose a colour that will work with the colours you've chosen for the marbling. This base colour will give the marbling colours a little more oomph as well as place a barrier between the wood and the resin so that the wood can't outgas.

Paint the front and side edges of the numbers and leave them to dry completely, overnight if possible so that there is no moisture left in the paint.

The second step is to tape all the back edges so that any resin that drips down the sides will collect on the tape where you can easily deal with them once the resin has cured. 

Tip: Choose a quality tape like Scotch or 3M because with some of the cheaper paper tapes, the resin will penetrate the paper and glue it permanently to the wood. 

Cut short strips and overlap them. It's OK to have them extending past the edges.
Short strips of masking tape being applied to the outer edge of the number zero

Now, trim the tape as close as you can to the edge. 
Trimming the overhanging tape around the edge of the painted wooden number.

Elevate the numbers on the Painter's Pyramids.
Painted wooden numbers elevated on painter's pyramids

Mixing and Colouring the Resin

From here on in, wear your gloves

Measure out the two parts of resin in equal quantities. For numbers of this size, you'll need approximately 90ml (3oz) of mixed resin. 

It might seem like a lot of resin for a small project but to achieve the marble finish, you need twice as much resin as you'd normally use.

Mix the two parts together until you don't see any swirls, scraping any unmixed resin off the sides of the cup a couple of times.
Stirring the resin to mix it thoroughly.

Before adding colour to the resin, make sure you read the note about using acrylic paints in resin at the beginning of the tutorial.
Pour 7.5mls (1/4 oz) of mixed resin into a small cup and 15mls (1/2 oz) into each of the other two small cups. Add a small squirt (just a few drops) of colour into each one. 

Only use as much paint as it takes to make the resin opaque. If you overdo the paint, the resin will not cure properly.
See how to clean your cups for re-use in your next project here!

Adding drops of acrylic paint into each cup of resin.

Mix the paint into each cup of resin thoroughly.
Stirring the silver acrylic paint into mixed resin.

You can see that the colour in these four pots is only just opaque. You don't want to add any more paint than necessary. But if you're colours aren't quite opaque enough, just add a little more, one drop at a time.
Four cups of coloured resin: white, silver, light pink and dark pink.

Creating the Faux Marble Effect

Pour the base colour across the numbers. You want the resin to flow over the sides.
White resin drizzled diagonally across the pink painted number 3

Drizzle the main feature colour across the numbers at an angle.
Drizzling the light pink resin diagonally across the number 3

Use a wooden stir stick to drizzle thin strands of the two highlight colours across the numbers diagonally.
Drizzling the dark pink resin across the number three with a wooden stir stick.

Very lightly draw the acid brush across the surface of the resin randomly. This will open up and soften the marble patterns in the next step.
Drawing a disposable acid brush lightly through the resin on the number 3.

Now comes the best part - creating the marbling. It's messy.... but fun!

Pick up the numbers and tip them sideways so the colours begin to run into each other and drip off the edge. 

Then, tilt the number in a different direction to give the marbled pattern more movement. 

You can continue tilting the number in any number of directions until you are happy with the look. I only tilted the numbers in two directions. If you don't like the look you've achieved, you can start again by adding more of each of the colours.
Picking up and tilting the number 3 with gloved hands to allow the resin to flow over the edge, creating the marbled effect.

Use the paintbrush to wipe away the drips underneath. Use the excess to paint resin onto the sides and underneath.
Brushing away the resin that has dripped underneath the number 3 with a disposable acid brush.

Pop the Surface Bubbles in the Resin

Spritz the surface lightly with rubbing alcohol to pop any bubbles that have surfaced. 

If using a gas torch, pass the flame briefly across the surface of the resin to pop any bubbles.
Spritzing tne surface of the marbled resin with rubbing alcohol to pop the bubbles.

Removing the Resin Drips and the Tape

If you didn't tape the back of the numbers, you'll need to keep wiping the drips away for a couple of hours. Then set the numbers aside in a dust-free area to cure for 24 hours. The manufacturer's directions tell you how long it will take according to the temperature in your workspace.

Once the resin has completely cured, you can carefully remove the tape and then apply a coat of paint to the back for a really neat finish. 
Removing the tape and the resin drips from the back of the wooden number.

I'm sure you'll agree, this is absolutely marble-ous!
Glossy, marbled resin in shades of pink, silver and white on wooden numbers, 3 and zero.

Number 30 marbled with purple, silver and white resin

Like this technique? Pin it!
Wooden number marble with purple acrylic paint mixed into epoxy resin.

Pink marbling how to sheet

Happy Resining!

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Would you like to comment?

  1. This is one of the most professional presentations I’ve seen. The methods and advice not only worked on this project but will greatly assist this neophyte in planned projects.

    1. Glad it's been of help to you. Enjoy your journey into the world of resin!

  2. So beautyful. Is that epoxy resin ab clear ?

    1. Thank you :). Yes, it's a clear, 2-part epoxy resin. EnviroTex Lite is a coating resin so you get a nice thick coverage with it.

    2. Loved your instruction.You answered so many of my questions. can't wait to try this. one Question,how do you clean your resin measuring cups?

    3. Glad you found the post helpful.
      I have a blog post that will answer your questions about cleaning your resin cups. You'll find it here:

  3. Thanks for the educational tips. But details are important. What kind of "rubbing alcohol" did you use and way what concentration? Isopropyl or ethyl alcohol (or something else) and 70% or 90% commonly found in pharmacies? popping has is usually due to carbon dioxide, not heat, so your alcohol application is new to me. The more expensive artists paints (versus student paints) have more and higher quality pigments in them, the most expensive component of the paint, which is why they work better. Metallic colors are usually bronze or mica and each mixes differently. I appreciate the post.

    1. Rubbing alcohol breaks the surface tension and that's why the bubbles pop. It's just standard isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol), nothing special about it. I use 64% and it works well, so you should have success with either 70% or 90%. You'll find that the alcohol will evaporate quickly without leaving a trace.


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