How To Create A Black Resin Ocean With A Gold Crackle Shoreline

Black Resin Ocean Art Tutorial


Why stick to traditional blues when it comes to resin ocean art? Ocean scenes can look stunning in a variety of colors: in fact, black resin looks bold and modern, and creates a dramatic contrast against white waves. 

Sonja Arroyo is an accomplished artist based in New York City and known for her modern resin abstracts. In her video tutorial, Sonja demonstrates the process of creating a black ocean art scene using ArtResin. You'll learn how to create a mirror-like black ocean, complete with a crackled, textured coastline for added depth. Under Sonja's expert guidance, you'll also learn how to apply and seal gold leaf for a touch of elegance.

Whether you're new to the world of resin art or you're an experienced artist looking to refine your skills, Sonja's ocean art tutorial offers something for everyone. 

Here's Sonja to teach us how:

What You'll Need: 

  • a square wood panel, primed with gesso or painted white
  • a pencil
  • Etter Art XL Crackle Paste in black. Comes in 2 parts: a primer and a structure paste
  • a large and small spatula to apply the paste
  • metal leaf adhesive and gold leaf
  • small paintbrush to apply the adhesive
  • cotton gloves or a scrap piece of cotton material
  • angled brush with soft bristles
  • a plastic drop sheet to line your work surface
  • plastic stands to prop your work up on
  • a level
  • nitrile gloves
  • ArtResin epoxy resin
  • plastic mixing cup
  • white pigment paste or ResinTint liquid colorant
  • a small plastic cup and stir stick for the white tinted resin
  • a spreader
  • a heatgun
  • an Artist's Torch
  • dust cover large enough to cover your piece
  • metal leaf sealant and a small paintbrush 

1. Prepare Your Panel

Using a pencil, outline the coastline onto your panel to provide a visual guideline to work from.

Sonja Arroyo Resin Artist

2. Apply The Crackle Paste 

For this project, you'll need XL crackle paste in black. The paste comes in two parts: the black primer (which forms the base layer) and the top structural paste (which creates the cracks). 

black crackle paste for resin art

To start, spread the black crackle primer in a thin and even layer onto your outlined coast. This base layer of black primer will be visible between the cracks and will hold the top structure paste in place. 

Next, apply a generous layer of structure paste on top of the wet base layer: in order for the two parts to react, the structure paste must be applied while the black primer is still wet. 

Smooth out the structure paste in a thick layer over top of the black primer using a long thin spatula or an old butter knife.  The layer should be approximately 1/2" to 3/4" thick.

💡Sonja's Tip: the thicker you apply the structure paste, the bigger and more dramatic the cracks will be.

Allow the paste to dry and crack. Depending on the ambient temperature and the thickness of your layer, this could be anywhere from 1-3 days. 


3. Apply The Metal Leaf

The next step is to apply the gold leaf to the dried, cracked paste. Using a small paintbrush, apply the metal leaf adhesive on top of each crack or wherever you'd like the gold leaf to adhere.  Following the label instructions for the brand you're using, allow the adhesive to dry to the tacky stage (approximately 30-45 minutes). 


Once the adhesive is tacky, lay gold leaf sheets one by one until the entire surface is covered. 

Next, gently rub with your finger over each sheet of gold leaf, carefully burnishing it into the cracks and over the edges of the paste layer and sides of your panel. 

💡 Sonja's Tip: Wearing cotton gloves or burnishing the metal leaf with a piece of cotton fabric prevents the natural oils in our hands and fingers from discoloring the gold leaf. 

4. Brush The Metal Leaf

Using a dry, angled brush with soft bristles, gently go in between each crack. Use a gentle, dragging motion to open up the gaps and loosen the bigger pieces of gold leaf. If you brush too vigorously, you'll loosen up small pieces of gold leaf which will become airborne and spread everywhere.

Once the cracks have all been opened up, use a vacuum to remove the excess gold leaf pieces. 

Next, use your brush in conjunction with the vacuum to remove more loose gold leaf. This time, brush with a little more pressure, holding the vacuum in the other hand to suck up the gold leaf bits before they go airborne. 

💡 Sonja's Tip: While brushing with the vacuum, apply a little more pressure but not so much that the brush scratches or damages the gold leaf.  You simply want to remove the excess.

Continue until the gaps between the cracks are clean of excess gold leaf. If you desire a crisper look in between the cracks or you have a lot of gold leaf adhered in the gaps, apply a little black acrylic paint with a fine paintbrush. 


5. Paint The Board Black

Next, using a flat edge brush, paint the remainder of the panel with black acrylic paint, including the edges.  Allow to dry.


6. Prepare the Panel For Resin

If desired, tape off the back of the board with painter's tape to collect drips and ensure the piece is propped up off of the work surface with painter's pyramids or small plastic stands (plastic shot glasses work very well!). Finally, use a level to ensure that the panel is perfectly horizontal.


7. Prepare and Pour the ArtResin

Wearing gloves, measure the ArtResin according to the label instructions. If you're unsure how much you need, enter the length and width of the panel into ArtResin's Resin Calculator. 

Mix the resin and hardener together slowly for 3 minutes. For detailed instructions, please see our blog How To Measure and Mix Epoxy Resin and Hardener.

Portion out a small amount of resin into a separate cup and tint it white, leaving the remaining resin in the cup clear. Pour the clear resin over the majority of the black painted area, leaving a small gap in between the resin and crackle shoreline.   


Next, use a spreader to guide the resin evenly across the panel and over the edges.

Next, use a torch to remove the bubbles. 


8. Create Your Wave

Pour a line of white tinted resin along the edge of the clear resin.

With your heat gun on low, hold the heat gun on an angle and gently push the white resin over top of the clear resin, rather than holding it downward into the resin. Repeat this step until you're happy with the waves - just be careful not to overheat the resin. 


Torch the resin one more time to help create cells. Then, cover the piece and allow it to cure for 24 hours, until the resin is dry to the touch. 

9. Create Your Second Wave

Repeating the steps from the day before, but this time prepare only half the amount of resin. Set some aside in a small cup and tint it white. Pour the clear resin over the upper half only, above the first wave line.  Use a speader to spread the resin evenly over the panel. 


Torch to remove bubbles.

Apply a line of white resin along the bottom edge of the clear resin you just poured.


Using the heat gun to blow the white resin across the top of the clear layer to create a second wave.

Use a torch to remove any bubbles and to help encourage cells. 


💡 Sonja's Tip: You can always touch up the white resin if you desire a crisper line or if the white has disappeared and you want to blow it out again. Once you're happy with the waves, cover and allow the resin to sit for 72 hours until it has fully cured.

10. Seal the Gold Leaf

Once the resin has fully cured, the last step is to seal the gold leaf. With a small paintbrush and sealant made for metal leaf, apply a coat over all the areas that have gold leaf.  This will help to prevent oxidation and tarnishing and ensure the gold leaf keeps it shiny, lustrous appearance.


And there you have it!  Your own beautiful, modern ocean art that you can hang on the wall, gift to a loved one, or sell as part of your resin art business.

We hope you found this tutorial insightful and you're inspired to create a piece of black ocean art!  Please leave any comments or questions below.

For a complete list of materials used, please visit Sonja's YouTube channel. 

To see more of Sonja's work:
Visit her website:
Follow her on Instagram: @sonjaarroyoart
Watch her YouTube videos:


Do you want to learn more about resin art techniques. See below our how-to tutorials: 

ArtResin: Made For Artists, By Artists.

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...