Monday, May 6, 2024

What Colours Work BEST in Resin

Mixing and playing with colours in resin is fun and enjoyable, and it adds an element of excitement to the creative process.

You can achieve stunning effects and breathtaking colour combinations. Think vibrant marbling, captivating mica powder swirls, and bold colour-blocking - each more exhilarating than the last!

You can mix and match opaque tones with translucent hues to create your own unique colour palette.

With so many colour choices available, let's explore what types of colourants work well in resin.

Resin Colourants - Colours Made for Resin

So firstly, what can you colour resin with?
A selection of colourful resin pigments, dyes and mica powders sitting on a white tabletop

The BEST colourants are those designed specifically for resin. 

Resin pigments and dyes might be more expensive than other types of artists' colourants but with good reason:

  1. They are formulated to WORK with resin. When you use resin pigments and resin dyes, you can relax knowing they won't react with the resin, so the resin will cure properly.
  2. They are highly concentrated, so you only need to use a small amount, making them more economical in the long run.
  3. They give you consistent, reliable colour. No hit-and-miss results, so you won't waste your expensive resin.

There are two types: 
Resin pigments, which are typically opaque, and Resin dyes, which are translucent.
  1. Resin pigments are available in several forms:
    • powders
    • pastes
    • liquid
  2. Resin dyes are generally available as:
    • liquid
    • pastes
Resin manufacturers often produce a range of colours matched to their resin. If you're a resin beginner, it's safest to buy the resin with its matching colourants. That way, you'll have more chance of success. But let me tell you a secret: generally speaking, you can use colours from one brand with resin from another brand.

Other Types of Colourants

In addition to resin pigments and dyes, there's a whole world of artist colours that can be used in resin. 

You can also use gold leaf and glitter but they stay in suspension (or sink) rather than dissolving in the resin, so they are not true colourants.

Having said that, if you fill the resin with glitter or metal leaf (I mean, really stuff it full😜), it gives you the same effect as a colourant.
Round resin bangle filled with gold leaf flakes, sitting on a white cloth and balancing on partly obscured red and orange bangles.

Issues with Using Other Colours

Earlier, I mentioned how reliable resin pigments and dyes are.

It's a different story for other types of colours, though. Some of them will give you mixed results, so you need to experiment a little more with them. What works in one brand of epoxy, might not work in another, so you need to test them in a small batch of resin before embarking on a major project. 

Colour Fading

Sometimes, you'll have strange things happen... 

Have you ever seen the colour you're mixing into the resin disappear right before your eyes?


I dripped a couple of drops of purple alcohol ink into epoxy resin and mixed it in. And the colour disappeared into the epoxy. It was enough for me to do a double take. I know I added the alcohol ink... where had it gone?

So I added another couple of drops and stirred, and still, the resin was clear. The resin was bleaching the colour out! This is probably the most bizarre thing I've ever had happen with resin.

The strange thing is, I've used the other colours from the same range of alcohol inks in this resin, and they worked just fine. But for some reason, the purple didn't.

I've also seen alcohol ink bleach out overnight. Alcohol inks often fade over time, so it's good to be aware of that if you're selling your resin crafts. The last thing you want is an unhappy customer.

Clumping and Stringiness

Acrylic paints are easy to obtain, and the range of colours is huge. They're also budget-friendly. 

But sometimes, acrylic paints can do strange things in resin:
  • They can clump... 
  • or it can make the resin become stringy...
  • or not mix in properly. 
  • They can even drastically shorten the work time from the usual 45 minutes to under 10 minutes!

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try other art supplies. You just need to test them in small batches to make sure you get the results you're expecting: that the resin cures properly, without soft, sticky spots, and that the colour is stable and doesn't discolour.

If you want to avoid these types of compatibility issues, USE RESIN PIGMENTS AND DYES.

Understanding Opacity in Resin

One of the characteristics of clear epoxy resin is that it accepts colour really well and allows you to create different levels of opacity. But what is opacity?

Opacity describes the amount of light that passes through an object. In resin, you'll hear the terms opaque, translucent and transparent, and it can be confusing to understand what they mean, especially when it comes to translucency and transparency. This explanation might help. 

Think of a church or cathedral. 

There are doors, stained glass windows and regular windows.

  • The doors are opaque. You can't see anything through them when they are closed.
  • The stained glass windows are translucent. You can only see diffused light through them, but you can't see anything clearly.
  • Clear windows. These are transparent and you can clearly see through them to see what is outside.

And it's the same for resin...
3 square resin cuffs with different levels of opacity: clear with lace embedded in it; translucent green; and opaque burgundy, pink and cream stripes

You can use this knowledge to help you understand what happens when you add colour to resin.

OPAQUE colours are solid colours you can't see through, so you wouldn't bother embedding anything in them. But you can create interesting effects with them, like marbling and colour-blocking.

TRANSLUCENT colours have a glow about them. You may or may not be able to see through them clearly, but if you hold them up to the light, you can see light through them.

TRANSPARENT means clear. You'll be able to clearly see anything encased in the resin and even see right through it, so this is perfect for embedding or encasing objects inside.

This chart shows the opacity of each type of colourant you can colour resin with.

Colourant chart showing which types of resin colourants are opaque or translucent

Experimenting with colour and playing around with translucency and opacity offers endless possibilities for your resin projects. 

So try those OTHER colourants if you're feeling adventurous, but it is always safer to use colours that are specifically designed for resin. 

Regardless of which option you choose, colour will undoubtedly open up a world of creative opportunities for you.

Learn even more about what you can colour resin with.

Pin This!
Bottles of resin colourants and pots of mica powder in a range of colours sitting against a bright yellow background.

Happy Resining!

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Would you like to comment?

  1. I love how you explain things, always so clear and easy to understand! Keep up the great work!!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, France! Making resin topics understandable is always my goal, so I'm glad to hear that I'm hitting the mark. Your encouragement means a lot, and I'll definitely keep up the great work!


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