Resin Beach Wave, Beginners Guide
Updated: Mar 6
Creating an Ocean or Water's Edge Beach Wave
Scene, Beginners Guide
Many people love the calming look of waters edge beside a beach. It is most certainly therapeutic in person, but even having artwork of it is often desirable.
There are many YouTube videos out showing how, but for those who prefer to read & have resource to written directions, here is some helpful information for you.
Get your supplies ready, your substrate ready, your workspace area ready, and you ready first. 😉 Before starting any resin project, always have everything ready first, and keep it handy by your work area.
1. ICoat CT60 or Medium Viscosity countertop/art resin - Suggested total amount for an 8x8” wood panel is 2 oz (1oz of hardener with 1 oz of resin). I often suggest when learning to use a bit more so that as a beginner you get proper coverage. If you you’re using a different size panel, see the Resin Calculator page to determine total amount of resin needed.
2. Clear plastic or silicone measuring cup for mixing Resin (get a larger cup than amount needed, so for 8oz total of mixed resin, use at least 10-12 oz cup). Measuring cups available on our website.
3. Cups – need 4 cups to set under wood panel/canvas while working, plus more cups to mix individual colourants with Resin in. Plastic solo cups under the project can be reused over and over for other projects. For colourants, you can use small plastic cups, paper cups (they are economical & can be squeezed easily for pouring strips) or silicone cups. You will need one cup per colour being used on this artwork layer. We have one size of Silicone cups available at Artworks Resin Canada (for convenience) on Accessories tab.
4. Long sticks for stirring and spreading resin (can use popsicle sticks or plastic or ideally silicone stir sticks suited for size of project). .
5. Disposable NITRILE gloves (latex, vinyl & rubber are not suitable since they’re not chemical resistant. Nitrile gloves available at many places including grocery stores, Costco, hardware stores, pharmacies, Walmart & many paint stores).
6. Paper towels
7. Some type of cleaner to help remove resin off items if needed. Clorox Wipes work great (if you can find them), or Isopropyl alcohol or Windex sprayed on paper towels. Kirkland make-up wipes or Huggies baby wipes.
8. Propane torch, or butane chefs torch. (propane torches available at hardware stores & butane chefs torch available at kitchen shops & both might be available at Canadian Tire stores)
9. Optional: Heat gun &/or blow dryer is often used to create effects in resin art. If an extensions cord is needed have it plugged in & ready before you begin.
10. Birch wood or hardwood panel, 8” x 8” size is a good beginner size to start with (available at many artist supply stores in their canvas sections, or available online). When working with resin art, we do not typically recommend canvas, as it can sag in the middle from the weight of the resin, plus there is often issues with resin pulling and not covering nicely along the edges. Some people do still use canvas, and if you choose to, you need to do extra steps to reinforce it on the underside so it will not sag & pull to the middle. Some people resin the back side and once cured it is more stable (but resin is kind of expensive to use on the backside). Some people place a box or foam to fit the back and support it, so it is perfectly flat. There can be no ridges or bumps from the support underneath, or it will transfer to an uneven piece.
11. Primer/sealer for wood (minimum one day prior to resin work). You can prime with one coat of an artist grade primer sealer if you have it. If you don’t have that, many people also use Kilz2 Primer/Sealer or Zinsser Bin Primer/Sealer or Krylon (or whatever options are available at your closest hardware/paint store), plus one coat of a semi-gloss paint, or some people just do two coats of primer/sealer. Lightly sand then clean between coats. Recommend that you do NOT use Rustoleum products (whites or clears) for any parts of priming or sealing with resin related projects (as according to some artists, they have been known to cause yellowing in projects). We stock iCoat Urethane 2112 that is a primer/sealer, that cures quickly and you can resin over it an hour later.
12. Blue painters’ tape or Green Frog Tape, (available at hardware stores & paint stores, (dollar store tape doesn’t work great with resin art). Pre-tape your panel/canvas along bottom edge of birch wood panel to catch drips. Then tape along the sides, right up to top edge of the panel as well. Be sure to burnish tape (press it into the substrate by rubbing over top of it with the back of a spoon or popsicle stick) so it’s attached thoroughly to area (to prevent any leakage).
You have a choice for your artwork sides. You can either tape off the sides of your birch panel (to leave what is referred to as a clean edge, and you can paint sides later with a complimentary colour), or you can let resin drip over the sides of the panel. For beginners, it is less stressful to have to worry about covering sides fully while trying to work within time frame of resin, so ideally, plan to tape the sides, then you only have to focus on coverage of the surface area.
13. Colourants. You can use a huge variety of colourants in resin art. Some colourants will produce better results than others. You can use resin pigment pastes, resin tints, pigment powders, mica powders, acrylic paint (higher pigmented ones work better), acrylic inks, india inks & more. ArtWorks Resin Canada has a selection of over 400 colourants for resin art.
For this project with beach scenes, you will need to pick
- A sand colour - many choose a light beige/buff, tan, or off-white.
- A white for the waves,
- And a couple of blue/teal/aqua/green colours for the water. Some choose a lighter blue or aqua for the water along the beach edges, then a darker blue for the water are further away.
If you have acrylic paint that has been previously mixed with water or other additives, it can NOT be used with resin. Resin & water don’t mix, nor does oil & resin. Alcohol inks (not colourfast) are used for certain techniques in some types of resin art, but that is separate thing all together & requires different information (not covered here).
ArtWorks Resin Canada has many great colourants available for beach wave scenes. There will be some colour combinations suggestions at the bottom with links to them if it’s helpful. If you are choosing to use other types of colourants, they are available at any artist supplies & craft supply stores and online as well.
14. Optional – sand & seashells or any other embellishments desired. Some people like to use sand or shells brought home from vacations, or others they’ve collected over the years. Some like to use small rock pebbles to look more like a lake or rivers edge. You can also purchase them at Michaels craft stores, Walmart craft area and dollar stores. You can purchase miniature sea creatures, boats and other items online as well to place on your resin art piece for extra texture and appeal.
15. Plastic sheet to protect work surface area. Put all items on top of plastic sheet. I like to cover the whole table surface in the plastic, and the floor near me. Then I also add parchment paper over that in the area where I'm working, and mixing. (Heavy Duty plastic sheets work best for Resin jobs. Cured resin will peel off it easily. Available at ArtWorks Resin Canada (one type of heavy duty sheet is often in stock in our store for convenience), hardware stores, paint stores, dollar stores, etc).
16. Tweezers, to remove dust, hair & other items that love to land in your Resin. Wipe resin off with alcohol sprayed paper towels or wipes (like Clorox or Kirkland Make-up wipes or Huggies baby wipes ) between each use.
17. Level – use a level to check that your substrate (wood panel/canvas) is level prior to pouring resin.
18. Optional – disposable paint coveralls (I reuse them until the zipper quits working or they’re ripped). I have ruined many of my clothes from resin. Resin cannot be removed from your clothes. Regardless, my main reason for wearing painter coveralls, is to help prevent items from your clothing (such as hair, yours or pets, or fuzz, & dust), from falling off your clothes into your project. It really helps!!! (available anywhere house paint is sold).
19. Wear a cap/hat to keep your hair away from your resin work, and if your hair is long, tie it back. (many of us learned this the hard way).
*If working in a non-ventilated area, or using epoxy resins at home, organic vapour respirators are often suggested for regular usage with any resin (artists discretion much like spray paint, alcohol inks and numerous other mediums). More info on this available on website.
Ensure your substrate (panel/canvas) is free of any oils from hands or other items that may have touched it, as resin repels from oil, and it will create fisheyes or other issues if there is oil or other contaminants on your substrate.
Prior to mixing Resin: Set up your workstation. Have all your supplies ready, and at hand in your work area. Once your Resin is mixed, you only have roughly 30-40 minutes work time (pot life) left, to create your masterpiece. So, it’s best to not have to go look for anything once Resin is mixed. Keep anything like cell phones, beverages, & other items away from work area. Have your colours you want to use already in their mixing cups. Use very little colour. Start with a tiny amount of colour 3-5% ratio to resin, and only add more if required in small amounts at a time, up to a maximum ratio of 10% colourant to Resin (more info on website). Resin in general works best in warm rooms, with a temperature between 72-78 F (more info about temps on website).
Directions for ICoat CT60 or Medium Viscosity countertop/art Resin.
Pour equal amounts of product (from each bottle part A and part B of the kit) into the clear plastic measuring cup. NOTE: it is important that they are equal amounts (1 to 1 ratio by volume not by weight with this resin).
Pour the Resin into the hardener and mix for 4 minutes scraping the sides & bottom occasionally as you stir, to ensure all Resin is mixed well. Stir thoroughly, but not vigorously. Stirring to quickly can create more air causing additional bubbles in the product. If cold, product will appear cloudy with bubbles. If you see striations behind your stirring, (looks like strings following your stirring in the resin), keep stirring until the striations disappear. If resin is cold, website has more info on how to safely warm Part A.
Be prepared, a Second coat/layer may or may not be required – up to the individual artist, and how first layer cures.
Once your 2 parts (Resin & hardener) are mixed for 4 minutes (or you no longer see striations), you can start adding the mixed Resin, into the smaller cups with colourant added in them. Note: once the 2 parts of resin have been poured together in to first mix cup, your pot life has begun. Please do not leave mixed resin to sit in cups.
When doing beach waves, you won’t need as much of the white mix (for the waves), so pour less of the Resin in the white colourant, and then you can use more of the Resin in the colours you’ll want more of (water & sand colours depending on desired finish). Mix the colours well with the Resin. Some people find it easiest to break it into thirds when beginning. A third of the panel covered in beach colour, then a third of it covered in the lighter water colour, then a third of it with the darker water colour.
Start at top of your substrate (wood panel), use your darkest water colour, & pour across substrate in natural wavey lines, then gradually thin out into the area where next lighter water colour is going.
Using your next lighter of water colours, gradually pour lines across the substrate below the darker colour. Save a few thin pours for colours sitting next to it (so it’s more a gradual fade into the next colour).
Then along bottom area pour your sand colour.
You will do the waves after, so the white has to sit a bit yet. You’ll need to work quickly so it doesn’t set and get warm in the cup (or it will not be usable).
Then using your stir stick/popsicle stick, or gloved fingers, start to move Resin side to side to fully cover substrate. As resin drips over sides (if you’re wanting to cover sides), smooth the resin on sides with coloured Resin using gloved fingers. Keep checking sides through process, to ensure full coverage.
Carefully add a line of white coloured resin along the shoreline (where water meets the sand colour). You can just go with the look of the one wave, or if you’d like you can add a few more partial white lines gradually getting much thinner as it moves further into the water area. Image below shows a bit too much white poured at shoreline. so try to pour a little less.
Try to do these in varying lengths & gentle small waves, as you go into the water area (if you do), for a more natural organic wave look. Try not to zig zag the white too much or it may not look as natural. Keep it a nice gentle flow. Once your white is down you will need to manipulate it to try to get the wave look. There are several different methods people do to achieve this. It is not as easy as it looks, and it does take some people many many tries, and a lot of practise so don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t occur the first time.
To get a wave look, which many resin artists refer to as lacing, a good viscosity resin helps. A thicker resin like iCoat CT60 countertop/art Resin helps keep & hold the design better than if it’s too thin a viscosity of resin, although it can be done. The other thing that helps a lot with waves/lacing is a good white epoxy paste (although it’s not set in stone either).
For manipulating the white resin to form the lacing (wave look), you can choose from one of the following methods, (also depending on the tools you have). There are other methods, but will start with these:
- Option 1 - Most people find success with waves (lacing effect) more often using a heat gun. Be careful with this method however, as you can make your resin too fluid, and loose control of it or overwork it. Which will cause the lacing to disappear quickly (and FYI once it’s been overworked, it doesn’t come back. It would have to be done on a new layer). You can put your heat gun on a slight angle, from front of white (at beach area), aim towards the water, and slowly and carefully, blow a bit of white into the water area, and move carefully along the shoreline in a pleasing angle.
- Option 2 – You can lightly torch the white resin to get it warm enough to move easier, then put low setting on a hair dryer with directional tip, blow white carefully in to water in a pleasing angle, and slowly move a long the shoreline until you’ve got much of the white line manipulated into the water area. Then do a light torch again.
- Option 3 – You can lightly torch the white resin to get it warm, then take small strips of parchment paper, and very very carefully swipe a bit of white resin into the water area on a gentle slight angle. Then repeat in small sections of wave forms along the shoreline. Once done, do a light torch.
Option 4 lay a thin line of clear, heat, slightly, then lay your white, blow over the clear, then torch, once, for extra cells.[mix white, then leave to thicken, before using.]
This one below was created in a workshop where we do not have access to heat guns or blow dryers to blow the resin, so we just used the parchment paper strips to pull the waves, then torch.
If you heat resin too much, cells won’t be able to form. Do not leave the heat gun or torch in one spot, or you can singe your resin. If that occurs, you’ll need to do a 2nd layer after the first cures (more info on that elsewhere). In all above cases, once you’ve manipulated the white a bit, leave it alone. Often times cells form on their own (when using epoxy pastes) after you torch and leave it. Do not over manipulate it… you are just trying to spread the white out over the next colour a bit.
If you’re adding real sand & or seashells, they need to be placed into the resin. Anything not touching resin, may not adhere to the piece. You can add more on 2nd layer (at a later date) if desired.
Once you have resin spread evenly & your waves in place, use a torch to pop any bubbles, keep moving torch slowly over substrate about 6-8” above, for just a few seconds. This will draw up any submersed bubbles in the Resin. The curing process started once the two parts are mixed, but adding heat can speed up the curing process, so just use enough heat to pop the bubbles.
If you see any dust, hair or other items that have fallen into your project, use tweezers to get them out.
After first torch it will help your resin soften a bit, and you can tilt your substrate a bit to add to the wave effects, or you can manipulate them with your popsicle stick or other tools. But be careful because you might also loose affects you already had there in doing this.
Babysit the piece for a bit, and keep an eye for dust, or hairs etc., that need to be removed before cure. It may require 2 – 3 light torchings to remove any bubbles that might rise up.
When you are torching, try to ensure the flame doesn’t hit the resin, or you can accidentally singe the resin, which can cause fisheyes/dimples & premature yellowing in your project.
Resin is a magnet for anything floating or flying in the air, so it’s best to cover your work with some type of container/box, to prevent air particles from landing in your cured work.
Use paper towel and alcohol or Windex (or Clorox alcohol wipes) to clean up reusable stir sticks and any drips right away (*spray Windex or isopropyl alcohol on paper towel and wipe any contaminated areas or tools). Never spray anything near your your masterpiece. Toss all non-reusable cups/gloves/paper towel, etc. Note: this product is difficult to remove from skin and impossible to remove from clothes …. wear disposable gloves and old clothes, or disposable coveralls. Never wash resin items in a sink, it will ruin your drains.
If you do get resin on your skin, you can use paper towel to wipe the bulk off, then wash with an automotive type of pumice hand cleaner like Gojo, or make a coconut oil/sugar, salt or coffee ground/dishsoap scrub to remove the resin from skin. The other gentle item that I found removes resin from skin well is Kirkland make-up wipes or Huggies baby wipes. Do not use alcohol or vinegar to remove resin from your skin as alcohol open up the pores, and you don’t want the resin getting into your pores.