How To: Geode Resin Art

Hi friends! I'm guessing you may be here from my pink geode video tutorial where I created this piece:
  
pink and purple resin geode art
       
This was actually one of the very first resin pieces I did - it was the second geode I had ever made, and honestly, is still probably my favorite piece I've made to date. I initially wanted to sell it, but I'm so glad I didn't.
  
I have a full tutorial for this painting over on my youtube channel, but I thought I'd give you a written overview for my "Geode" process in case you learn better that way.
  
Something to note - when I initially started making videos, I did it because there weren't a lot of geode tutorials online. I was sharing my experimentation process, not stating I was an expert by any means. Now, you can find some really wonderful tutorials - including some paid versions - all by artists who I would deem experts at making this type of work. I definitely recommend looking into a variety of resources before you get started with your resin paintings.
  
blue and gold geode
  
First and foremost, preparing before you start working is crucial. I learned this the hard way. Make sure you find an area that won't be disturbed by family members or pets while working or curing, and that there is adequate ventilation.
Before you start pouring, you will want to gather your materials. You want to have everything ready because resin has a limited working time, and you don't want to waste any of it trying to find things. I link to all of my go-to list of materials in this blog post, but here's a list of what to gather:
  • 2 part epoxy resin of your choice
    I made this piece with Art Resin, but I am now partial to Mas Epoxies or Counter Culture DIY because they have longer working times)

  • Pigments of your choice
    This piece was made with acrylic paints. You don't need fancy pigments to make pretty resin art, but I will say if you want lacing details or metallic shift, invest in some opaque pigment pastes (particularly white) and some metallic powdered pigments. If there's a color you love, use the acrylic paint! Whatever pigment you use, I recommend using less than a 10% pigment to resin ratio - otherwise, it might not cure correctly.

  • Mixing tools - measuring cups, cups for multiple colors, and stir sticks
    Silicone products work great because resin is easily removed from them once cured and cuts down on plastic/disposable waste.

  • Protective equipment - nitrile gloves, a respirator, and protective eye-wear. I'd also recommend an apron.
    Resin is a serious chemical - do your research and read the safety data sheets from each brand.

  • Cleanup tools - a plastic cover (old shower curtain, plastic table cloth, even a trash bag works) to cover your work surface, something to elevate your canvas/panel (solo cups work great) so it doesn't stick to the table, and a trash bag to clean it all up/clean up any spills as you go.

  • A heat gun or a torch to pop the bubbles as you go and create lacing effects.
    John thinks a torch is dangerous, so we stick to a heat gun in my house lol.

  • Painters tape to prep the sides and back of your canvas or wood panel so that you can easily clean up the project and remove any drips.

  • Embellishments - whatever you have handy!
    Seashells, crystals, fire glass, acrylic gems, tumbled rocks.... any and all embellishments will work! No need to break the bank - get crafty with what you have available.
 
blue geode diptych with gold and green accents
  
Once you have your materials ready and you have prepped your canvas, it's time to get started with your pour.
 
When mixing my resin, I like to use one large measuring cup, and then pour in smaller cups for each color I want to use. I always save just a little bit of clear in case I need it. To save some precious work time, I always set out the cups with my pigment before I start mixing anything. I will add just a small amount of whatever pigment to the cup, and then if I need more once it's mixed, I can always add more.
 
Make sure to follow your resin manufacturer's instructions. If they say mix for four minutes then change to a new cup - do that. If you don't follow the instructions properly, your resin might not cure, and then you waste your time and all the money you spent on those products. It's better to be safe than sorry!
  
I recommend stirring slowly - the faster you stir, the more bubbles will form. You want to make sure you get everything thoroughly mixed, but you mixing faster won't save on any time - you still need to mix for the time it says. If anything, mixing fast might just make your hands hurt, lol.
  
Another thing to note is most resin brands have a specific temperature they recommend - usually around 70 F. Make sure you check that - if it's too hot, it might cure too quickly, and if it's too cold, you may get bubbles or cloudy resin.
  
Pouring is the fun part!
  
I usually don't plan my composition ahead of time other than what colors I plan to use. Some people will mark out the sections with paint or hot glue, and while I've tried both, I personally like to just go with the flow. It doesn't always work out, but when it does - I love it.
 
When pouring geodes - I like to work in either a pattern radiating out from the focal point, usually an off-center bunch of crystals or embellishments. My preferred composition is usually working in rings, but sometimes I'll use a more angular design.
  
One of my favorite techniques is letting the colors blend together as they radiate out from the center and using the heat gun to bring out some blending and lacing effects.
   
turquoise geode and purple and blue geode
   
These are two of my early geodes - I love the way the crystals sparkle! I used actual quartz pieces on the purple piece, and used shell pieces on the turquoise piece. Look at how the white and blue interact  - these blending patterns were achieved by applying heat and allowing the "rings" to mix together. These were actually done in a single layer for each piece and almost entirely in acrylic paint.
When placing the embellishments - I try to follow the same shape I poured in to give movement to the piece. I will stick them right into the wet resin - no need to glue them ahead of time unless you want to nail down a composition before pouring.
    
Once I've poured my base colors, I will go back in with a metallic or one of the accent colors and add thinner stripes around the piece. As the painting cures, they will feather out and blend into some cool detailing.
 
Once I'm satisfied with the pour, I will leave it to cure for 24-48 hours. Resin will be cured to the touch at that point, but it can take a full 30 days for the cure process to be completely finished.
  
After it's cured to the touch, I will add my final details in the form of accent lines. I like to use Posca pens, because if I'm not satisfied with the final composition, I can wipe them off with a damp towel and redo them. They also dry smudge resistant (they will scrape off if forced) so you don't absolutely need a flood coat unless you want to do it.
   
Adding a flood coat not only seals your line detailing, but it also adds an extra shiny top coat to the piece.
   
Once I'm done with my last coat, it's time for cleanup. I will remove tape on the panel. The easiest way to do so is to heat it slightly with the heat gun, and then pull it off while the resin is flexible.
   
If any drips made it through the tape, an orbital sander can be used to clean up the edges as needed.
  
I always sign the back of my piece and apply hanging fixtures.
  
And, voila! All ready for hanging.
  
Here's the video in case you prefer visual learning:
 
 
 Also, in case you're interested, I have a bunch of resin tutorials on my channel. This is one of my favorites - here's my full resin lacing tips video!
  
Best of luck with your resin creations!!!
 xx Sam
 

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