Updated: Dec 2, 2022
Not all colour media are suitable for use in resins, especially water based ones. Water based colourants (if too much is used), can cause the resin not to cure correctly, get lumpy or cause dull spots.
All the colourants we have in our store, are able to be used with resin when directions are followed.
Please open all colourant containers carefully, and over a protected surface. You may choose to have gloves on in case any of the colourant gets on your hands during opening. Some people use a paper towel or wet wipe when opening as well. Allow pastes & powders to settle prior to opening the jar, as contents maybe on the interior of the lid. Stir epoxy pastes prior to use.
Volume &/or weights in containers often differ from colour to colour, due to different densities and weight of the pigments themselves.
Epoxy pastes are formulated for use with Epoxy Resin only. They mix really well by adding them to the mixed resin (A+B). Epoxy pastes wipe off easily with isopropyl alcohol if needed.
PLEASE NOTE: epoxy pastes from any of the brands may solidify (appear hardened) upon arrival, (more so METALLIC & PEARLESCENT pastes).
Epoxy pastes are easily restored to a more paste like state by warming them up. This solidifying occurs partially due to the high volume of pigments, and the various binders, and from going from a warm climate to our colder climate.
You can set the pastes on something warm like a hot water bottle, heating pad or seed matt with a sheet of parchment or wax paper to protect surfaces. Or you can place paste jar in a bowl of hot tap water (for about 10 minutes), being sure water line is well below lid opening level, and take care to dry container off thoroughly. Careful to not allow any water to get inside container.
Here is Suzanna Dancks, owner of Le'Rez Expressions showing this method....
Another method often used, is to carefully use a heat gun, on low heat setting, then heat paste 10 seconds, stir, & continually repeat until no longer solidified. Be extremely careful not to overheat the plastic jar with heat gun or you can warp the jar (that’s why it’s recommended in only 10 second intervals to avoid warping container. If that occurs you will need to store jar in a Ziplock bag or other container). If you’d like to see how the pastes can be warmed up, using a heat gun, there is a YouTube tutorial showing that, on our website.
****Here is a YouTube video from the manufacturer of Le’Rez Expressions showing how she warms up the pastes to help them unsolidify.....
Le’Rez Angel White Epoxy Paste is often used for ocean wave lacing.
Pour a line of white resin where you'd like your wave to be, then carefully spread (*manipulate) the white resin, over water area (some people also like to add a clear line of resin beside the white line in direction of manipulation - both ways work) using a heat gun to blow it into wave shapes. Then add a light torch. Then leave it alone. It will start to lace on it’s own. Be careful not to over-manipulate it, or it will lose ability to lace.
The Colour Passion Top Cell White Paste, can be used as a basic white, but if desired it also creates beautiful lacing (same technique as above for waves) and cells on top of your work when *manipulated over other colours. This is commonly used when trying to achieve the ocean wave (lacing).
The Colour Passion Base Cell White Paste, can be used as a basic white, then if desired, other colours can be *manipulated over top of it to help achieve cells. The cells will be white, and the colour over top may possibly lace (opposite of the top cell white).
*Manipulated can mean using a heat gun or blow dryer, or swiping method (palette knife, paper, silicone spatula or other tools), to move colours gently over each other, followed again by light torching, or heat gun. It often takes a bit of practice, but these epoxy pastes lace/cell quite easily once you have some practice. Be aware thinner (lower viscosity) resins, may not hold/keep the cell/lacing in place. Sometimes a thicker viscosity resin is more suited to achieving and keeping the lacing/cells in place once achieved. Do not overheat or overwork, or you may lose your desired results, and can not get them back. It would need to be done on a new layer.
To mix epoxy pigment pastes with resin, start with a tiny amount, as you really don't need much since pastes tend to be very concentrated. Some metallics, pearlescents, iridescent, or more transparent pigments will often need more added. Always start with a small amount, about 2-3%, (dip stick on the end of a popsicle stick for example), and add slowly as needed. Only add up to a maximum ratio of 10% colourant to resin ratio. Try to stay under 6% where possible. Any amount over 10% can affect the sensitive balance epoxy resins need to cure.
PIGMENT & MICA POWDERS:
When mixing mica & pigment powders with resin, a common ratio is to start with about 3-5% powder up to 10% (some more transparent powders may need a bit more) of pigment powder to resin ratio. If more colour is needed, add little by little. Keep in mind, if you add too much colourant you can create an imbalance in the resin ratio, and cause an imbalance which can cause premature exotherm issues and can effect the resin cure.
Occasionally there are dry pigment powders that clump & don't dissolve easily in resin. Some people like to mix a bit of powder with a bit of resin (Part A) prior to mixing the rest of the resin in, to help ensure it's all dissolved well, and colour mixes thoroughly first before mixing in full cup of mixed resin. Before we had epoxy pastes, people often added a tiny bit of isopropyl alcohol to their mica or pigment powders if it needed a bit of help dissolving powders, prior to adding to resin mix. If doing either of these, be very careful that it's only a tiny bit so you don't throw off the chemical balance of the mixed resin. There is also a premade binder from Le'Rez Expressions in our shop as well, if you'd like to mix your own epoxy paste with your dry pigment and micas. You can store in any air tight jar once mixed.
Pigment and mica powders are not one in the same. Pigment powders are often added to mica powders to give them more colour & depth. Mica powders are often added to pigment powders to give them some shimmer, sparkle or pearl effects. So when mixing the two, they're referred to as mica pigment powders. More details about that on this pigment and mica powder Blog.
Tip: Our Colour Passion Metallic mica powders can be mixed with metallic alcohol inks of same colour, to help create those vivid metallic edges you often see on the geode/agate inspired resin art pieces. Just add a bit of the metal powder into alcohol ink in a small cup, and use a paint brush to paint the metallic edging along the crushed glass on your piece. To clean the brush, just use isopropyl alcohol.
Liquid Epoxy Pigment Tints:
Some resin manufacturers have developed solvent based liquid colour concentrates that mix easily with epoxy resin. A little goes a long way. Epoxy pigment dyes/tints are paints specially designed for use with epoxy resin, and may be bit thicker in their viscosity.
These tints can help create added beautiful depth in resin. Transparent tints can be stirred in mixed resin, a drop at a time to reach desired depth of colour. If you only add a few drops, it will be very lightly coloured, if you add more you can achieve a darker transparent effect. As always, be careful not to add a ratio over 10% colourant to resin, or you can upset the resin curing.
Le' Rez Transparent Liquid Pigment Tints are very versatile. Besides using them in resin, they can be used in other mediums as well. These tints can be used as a type of water colour by adding drops of tint to water, or add tints to any paint directly to change colour, or add to acrylic or oil mediums to create paint, or add to resin (up to approx. 6% ratio), or add to any other non alcohol mediums. The possibilities are endless. To make them opaque, add to an opaque pigment. To turn them into a pastel matte colour, add white.
Note: Transparent tints do not work like alcohol inks and should not be dripped in like the petri style effect, as it will not cure properly if you do. But once stirred in resin, you can add a few drops of alcohol for achieving certain effects. Alcohol inks are not lightfast so often fade, however these transparent tints are lightfast, and do not fade like alcohol inks can.
ArtWorks Resin Canada has two lines of transparent tints:
Le'Rez Expressions Transparent Tints - approx. 24 colours … note: Le’Rez is discontinued their transparent tint line.
Colour Passion Gel snd Transparent Tints - approx. 12 colours
Glitter is not a colourant! It is more of an additive, inclusion or embellishment. When working with glitters, since they are not colourants (they do not colour the epoxy resin), you can break the colourant rule of adding more then 10% glitter to resin ratio, to get the desired thickness needed for each application.
Glitters can be used for creating lines on geode art, cheese boards, wall art and more. Once glitter is placed on resin art substrate, you don't want to move it around, so add it after you are done any manipulating. If you try to move it too much in coloured resin, you may loose the sparkle and end up with lumpy coloured bumpy bits instead.
When using glitters in casting projects, you may need to let the thinner casting resins thicken up a bit. Some glitter cuts can be heavier, & will sink to the bottom of projects, so best to work in layers, and experiment with your type of resin to get the desired glitter volume & timing needed for each project. You may also just need to use more glitter to get it thick & pasty to where you almost have to scrape it. Ultra fine or fine (micro) glitter and polyester glitter may not be as heavy and sink as much. If letting resin sit to thicken, be sure to check how long your resin brand can safely sit. They are all different, and some (many topcoating resins) must not be left to sit in the mix cup or they'll overheat and go into premature exotherm. Keep an eye on your glitter cup, if it's getting warm use it quickly before it gets too hot to use. It may take some practice and experience.
ArtWorks Resin Canada has a variety of glitter & other multi media options:
German Glass Glitter - a few different lines
Colour Passion Glitters - fine, chunky, & others
Le'Rez Expressions Glitters - fine, holographic
Some epoxy resin manufacturers do not recommend acrylic paint as a colourant since it is water based. However, there are some acrylic paints (typically higher pigmented ones) that do work if used carefully and sparingly. If they are of higher water content or have any additives that do not mix well with resin, it will effect the resin cure. Best to test first.
Do not use any of the below options ever in your resin art. It will throw off the sensitive chemical balance of the resin. This info below is just provided for those who wish to use our pigment & mica powders in other mediums besides resin.
PIGMENT POWDERS & MICAS FOR ACRYLIC PAINT & FLUID ART MIXES (Once powders are mixed with other items/mediums below, they can not be mixed with resin. They can however be top-coated with resin after project thoroughly curing all the way through, 2-3 weeks dependant on mediums used).
For those who were not aware, you can use our micas/powders to make paint, and also home made mixes for acrylic fluid art. The powders should be dispersed in a clear fluid, then make your recipe from there. People often make a variety of their own acrylic paint mixes depending on how they intend to use them. There are numerous recipes online for pigment powders to make paint, but here are a few examples:
You can use any acrylic medium from an art store to mix with pigment/mica powders to make your own paint. The mediums come in a variety of textures depending on how thin or thick you like to paint. Golden GAC 800 with a bit of water (to desired consistency) works great for fluid art. Thick gels and impastos can be mixed for any texture style paintings. Check the Golden & Liquitex art sites under acrylic mediums, to see the huge varieties available and their best uses. Some people mix pigment/mica powders with an archival PVA & water to desired consistency for fluid art.
Some people will mix pigment/mica powders with Floetrol, (or Floetrol & water), but by itself, but this is not ideal for a few reasons. It takes forever to dry, and also will make your mix more transparent, causing your colours to run together more. For best results, adding a binding agent will be more helpful. Floetrol is not a binding agent, it is a paint conditioner (which is why it takes longer to cure). Store bought acrylic paints have binders already added, which is why Floetrol works well with them. But if your mixing pigment or mica powders, it is better to add an acrylic binding agent (or some will use polycrylic) added.
Glue All does slightly better then floetrol, due to the binding agents. But it, and many other glues are not archival. There is archival book binding PVA (if desired for cost savings), at many art supply stores or online.
For most common fluid art mixes (flip cup, puddle pour and regular pouring):
You can use 1/2 tsp powder in preferred pouring medium (art grade ones that are clear drying like Liquitex or Golden GAC 800 work great)
Once the powder is wet, add more pouring medium (1-2 tblsp) and mix well.
If more opacity is needed add more pigment powder. Mica powders tend to the more translucent side unless they have had more pigment added. (see our blog post explaining Micas vs Pigment powders).
For thicker fluid art mix (such as puddle pours or ring pours)
Use 1/2 tsp of clear untinted house paint with a gloss finish (from anywhere that sells wall house paint). It needs to be translucent with no white added or you will end up with pastels instead. Add 1/2 tsp of pigment powder and mix until is disolved. Then add 1 tblsp of the clear paint and mix to a consistency where it drizzles off the stick. If your mix is too thick you can add a few drops of water (distilled is better), but not more then 5% ratio.
Some people will add art grade gel gloss (as desired) for a thicker mixture.
Tip: If using water in any of these other medium recipes, distilled water will often give you better results because it doesn't have the minerals or water treatment additives.
There is more helpful information under selected products on the website, plus there are blogs on our website slowly being added in a variety of helpful categories.
Happy creating to you!!! Cheers 😊
ArtWorks Resin Canada Inc.