Why Is My Resin Cloudy? Discover 6 Causes of Cloudy Resin

If you've ever found yourself with cloudy resin and you're not sure what caused it, this blog is for you. Cloudiness can occur in both in liquid and cured resin, but the good news is that there's usually a clear explanation behind it.


In this article, I'm going to explore 6 common reasons why resin might become cloudy. I'll also explain how to prevent it and, when possible, how to fix it for crystal-clear results.

How Does Cold Weather Affect Resin - Cold resin is thick and difficult to spread



Understanding The Resin Curing Process


First, let's get back to basics.
 Epoxy resin start with two liquid parts: a resin and a hardener. When the resin and hardener are properly measured, mixed and allowed to cure in ideal conditions, they undergo a chemical reaction and transform from a liquid into a solid. 
The result is a resin that's strong, hard, glossy, and clear.

However, if certain conditions aren't met, a variety of issues can result including sticky resin, bendy resin, a greasy film on the surface, and ... you guessed it ... cloudy resin. 

 

 

Common Causes of Cloudy Resin - Liquid


1. Cold Temperatures

Resin colder than standard room temperature has a cloudy, milky appearance once mixed due to thousands of cold-induced micro bubbles. You'll never be able torch these micro bubbles out - believe me, I've tried. Cold resin also has a thick, taffy-like consistency, which makes it difficult to pour, mix, and spread.

To prevent cold-induced cloudiness in resin: 

  • Use the product at standard room temperature or slightly warmer (no lower than 23ºC / 72ºF and no warmer than 30ºC / 85ºF.)

  • If the resin is colder than the recommended range, place the tightly sealed bottles in a warm water bath to bring it up to temperature before measuring and mixing. This is really important!  If you place mixed resin and hardener in a water bath, the warm temperatures will prompt it to flash cure.

  • Store tightly sealed resin and hardener bottles at room temperature.

How Does Cold Weather Affect Resin - induced micro bubbles
How Does Cold Weather Affect Resin - left with frothy looking areas due to microbubbles

 

2. Under Mixing

When you first mix the resin and hardener, you'll notice cloudy streaks as the two parts combine.  This is totally normal, and after the recommended mixing time, these streaks should no longer be visible. But if the resin is under-mixed, not only will these cloudy streaks remain, but you'll likely end up with sticky resin as well.





To prevent under mixing, follow the label directions and mix the resin and hardener thoroughly, scraping the sides and bottom of the mixing container as you go. You'll know the resin and hardener are combined when no more streaks are visible in the mixing cup.



3. Whipping The Resin 

It's important to stir the resin and hardener thoroughly for at least 3 minutes to ensure a proper cure. While mixing the resin, it can be tempting to beat or whip it, but this will create a cloudy, frothy looking resin, with far more bubbles than necessary.



To prevent excess bubbles, stir slowly and methodically, scraping the bottom and sides of the mixing container as you go, until the resin is clear and there are no more visible streaks.




    Common Causes of Cloudy Resin - Cured



    4. Matte Silicone Mold


    If you plan to pour resin into a silicone mold, pay attention to the interior finish because this will directly impact the appearance of your cured resin. Simply put, a matte mold gives a matte finish on your cured resin, while a glossy interior results in a glossy finish.

    Now, if your favorite mold has a matte interior, don't worry; you can still use it. However, you'll need to take an extra step for a glossy look. After removing the cured resin from the mold, either pour or brush on another layer of clear resin for a glossy finish. 





    5. Moisture 


    Moisture can cause resin to develop cloudy, white, or hazy areas, affecting its clarity and visual appeal. Moisture can be the result of several things including:
    • Paint, glue, or sealant on the substrate that hasn't fully dried
    • Wet inclusions in the resin, such as flowers or leaves
    • Contamination from water through wet tools or drips from a warm water bath
    • Moisture in the surrounding air as the resin cures



    To prevent cloudiness caused by moisture, make sure all your materials and tools are completely dry before introducing them to resin.
     

    Unfortunately, once cloudiness from moisture appears, it's very difficult to fix because it's usually deep within the resin layer. 

    In these cases, the only option worth trying is to carefully sand down as much of the affected resin layer as you can, followed by pouring a fresh coat of resin. Be aware that you may not be able to remove all of the cloudy resin, and you could damage the artwork below.

    💡 TIP: To learn more, see our blog How Does Moisture Affect Epoxy Resin?





    6. Humidity


    A high moisture content in the air can cause amine blush, characterized by a tacky or oily film and a cloudy appearance on the surface. To avoid this:

    • Maintain a consistent temperature and humidity levels below 80%, and preferably at 50%
    • Use air conditioning to help reduce humidity

    • If you live in a highly humid climate, run a dehumidifier the day before you plan to resin
    • If a dehumidifier or air conditioning are not an option, avoid working with resin in rainy or humid weather


    Amine blush must be removed before attempting to apply a fresh coat of resin. Here are the steps:

    1. Amine blush film clogs sandpaper, so remove it by wiping the resin surface with a soft cloth and warm, soapy water made with a grease-fighting dish soap such as Dawn. The sticky amines are water soluble and should wipe away easily. Allow to dry and inspect for any remaining residue.

    2. If the film remains, you will need to wipe with something more abrasive like a Scotch-Brite pad. Allow the surface to dry completely and inspect: the scouring pad will likely have scuffed the resin surface and you will need to apply a fresh coat of resin. 

    3. Use coarse sandpaper to rough up the cured resin surface, wipe away sanding debris with a clean, damp cloth, and pour a fresh coat of carefully measured and mixed ArtResin to restore the clarity.  Cover and allow it to cure.

     💡 To learn more, see our blog How Does Hot Weather Affect Resin?




    6 Expert Tips To Prevent Cloudiness in Resin


    For a clear and glossy resin finish, follow these best practices:

    1. Mix well:  Blend resin and hardener slowly for at least three minutes, scraping the sides and bottom as you mix.

    2. Use A Water Bath:
    If the resin is cold, bring it up to room temperature or slightly above with a warm water bath.

    3. Warm Temperatures: Maintain consistent curing temperatures no lower than 23ºC / 72ºF and no warmer than 30ºC / 85ºF.

    4. Dry Environment: Work in a low-humidity environment to minimize moisture contamination. Ideal humidity is below 50% however you can work in conditions less than 80% humidity.

    5. Avoid Moisture: Ensure all materials are completely dry before introducing resin.

    6. Pay Attention To Silicone Molds:
    Use a glossy mold for a glossy resin cure.



    These preventive measures will significantly reduce the chance of cloudy surfaces in your resin projects.

    How Does Cold Weather Affect Resin - temperature or you can try a warm water bath


    Fixing Cloudy Resin After Curing


    If you encounter cloudiness despite taking precautions, try these methods:

    1. Sand and Re-Pour: Sand out the affected resin layer as best you can without damaging the artwork below it and pour a fresh resin coat on top.

    2. Sand and Polish: Gently sand the surface and use a polishing compound to restore clarity and shine.

    Unfortunately, fixing cloudy resin may require multiple attempts or you may need to start over altogether, depending on the underlying causes and how deep the cloudiness is. Practice and experience will help you master the art of resin curing.

    About the author: Joanne Wright

    I'm Joanne, the Marketing Content Writer at ArtResin. Originally from Canada, my home is now Indianapolis, Indiana. My love of all things creative and my entrepreneurial heart means I’ve worn many hats over the years including fashion producer & stylist, retail store owner, t-shirt designer, and even vegan baker! I...