What can you do with leftover resin? From time to time, you may have a little extra resin left in your mixing cup after you’ve poured. The last thing you want to do is waste it, so we're sharing our top 10 ideas for putting leftover resin, resin skins, and cured resin to good use so you never have to throw it away again.
We’re going to show you how to re-purpose clear resin, tinted resin, resin that’s too thick to pour, and even cured resin scraps to make brand new pieces of art.
Many of these ideas came from YOU, our community of artists and we're going to share some the work that inspired us too!
What to do with leftover resin?
Only Pour What You Need
The easiest way to avoid leftover resin is to only pour the amount that you need for your project. If you’re unsure how much that is, ArtResin has a couple of calculators to help you out: simply enter the width and length of your piece into our Resin Calculator and it will tell you exactly how much resin you’ll need and even which kit you need to get.
If you’re working on a circular piece, use ArtResin’s Circle Calculator and enter the diameter instead.
Things to do with leftover resin
1. Use Extra Resin On A Small Project
The best way to use up clear, leftover resin is to pour it on another piece of artwork. If you resin regularly, keep small projects close by whenever you’re working with resin.
⚠️ TIP: It's important to note that you’ll be well into the 40 minute working window by this point, so make sure the project is prepped and ready to be resined. Now isn't the time to look for a project - your resin will be too thick to pour by the time you find it. Instead, have some small pieces that are ready to go: paintings have dried, prints have been mounted, the project has been sealed … whatever you need to do first to get your art prepped for resining should be done already.
Here are a few ideas ...
You can use leftover resin on small paintings or collages.
You can use leftover resin on small prints or photographs mounted onto wood panels.
Brush leftover resin onto painted rocks to seal and protect them.
Use gloved hands to apply small amounts of resin to a 3D object like driftwood.
Pour a little leftover resin onto a wood slice to make an easy, beautiful coaster.
Apply leftover resin to ceramic tiles with an alcohol ink design on them. These are perfect ways to use up leftover resin over time - you can create a whole set to gift (or keep for yourself!)
2. Create Alcohol Ink Coasters
Another great way to use up leftover clear resin is to make alcohol ink coasters, also known as petri dishes. You’ll need a coaster mold and some alcohol ink and enough resin to pour into the cavity: 1 coaster requires approximately 2 fl oz of ArtResin.
💡TIP: If you’d like to learn more on how to make alcohol ink coasters, we’ve got a great video about it here: How To Create Petri Dish Art.
3. Brush On Small Amounts
If you only don't have enough resin left in your cup to pour, you can re-purpose small amounts of extra resin using a foam brush.
You can use it as an adhesive, say if you’re creating a collage, or even on repair projects around the house.
You can apply a small amount with gloved hands to use as a sealant on wood boards or coasters. Sealing wood is important because it creates a barrier to prevent the wood from releasing air bubbles into the resin.
Use a foam brush to apply a little resin to the back of a stretched canvas you intend to coat with resin. This will to provide it with some strength to support the weight of the resin and prevent sagging.
You can also use a little resin to give a shiny finish to something matte. Say you’ve poured something into a mold not realizing it has a matte finish: simply brush a coat of resin on top to restore the gloss.
Restore the clarity to sanded pieces by brushing on a thin coat of resin. This works equally well on resined pieces that have been cut with a saw.
Leftover Tinted Resin
4. Make A 3D Collage
One of the best ways to use leftover tinted resin is to pour it into a mold to create a brand new piece of art. You can get molds in so many different varieties online; it’s a good idea to keep them on hand in case you end up with extra resin.
Pour leftover tinted resin into a multi-cavity mold at different levels, in different colors that go well together.
Once cured, remove from the mold. Keep filling the mold with leftover resin over time until you have a collection of similar sized pieces.
Assemble the cured pieces on a panel to make a 3D collage in any pattern you like best.
5. Make Resin Crystals
Pour clear or tinted leftover resin into a mold to make your own crystals for geode art. You can buy crystal molds online or make your own custom mold using Mold Making Material.
💡TIP: Read more about how to make your own crystals in our blog How To Make A Resin Crystal.
Pour in clear or tinted resin - or use both for a two tone effect!
Use the resin crystal to create your own piece of geode art.
6. Pour Into A Small Mold
Molds are a great way to use up small amounts of tinted resin - just keep adding bits of resin over time until you fill it. You can get small molds for a multitude of projects from luggage tags to trinket dishes, from drawer knobs to hair barrettes.
Here's a keychain made out of leftover red resin. Once cured, it was painted with black and white Posca paint markers to make the ArtResin heart.
ArtResin customer @rowanroseresin uses small amounts of resin to create hair barrettes using a barrette mold. The barrettes can be clear with inclusions such as gold leaf or dried flowers, but they're also a perfect project to use up extra tinted resin.
Watch her pour here: https://www.instagram.com/rowanroseresin/reels/
7. Layer Your Leftovers
Here’s a really fun project you can make over time using leftover tinted resin. Every time you have a little leftover tinted resin left, pour it into a deep mold, layer by layer until the mold is full.
This soap making mold is brilliant because the silicone part fits inside a wooden box to keep the mold stable and maintain its shape.
You may need to sand the edges clean once you unmold it, but you'll end up with a long block of striped resin. You can machine it to make a variety of smaller projects such as jewellery or pen blanks.
Or you can slice them and create a contemporary sculpture like artist Lucy Peveto did.
Here's what it looks like if you layer your leftover resin into a square mold.
Slice the layered resin block with a chop saw or table saw.
💡TIP: Use a fine blade to avoid chipping the resin when you cut.
You'll need to sand down sharp edges and brush on a little resin to restore the gloss.
When you’re done, you’ll have a set of really fun, striped resin coasters.
What to do with Partially leftover Cured Resin
So up until now, we’ve been talking about resin that’s still liquid … but what if your resin has thickened up, or even cured?
8. Make A Trinket Dish
You may have seen a video we did with Carmen Darley on how to make trinket dishes using up resin that has thickened up in the mixing cup.
💡TIP: Watch Carmen's tutorial on how to make trinket dishes here.
Carmen scoops out thickened tinted resin in between silicone egg poachers, mixing the colours in no particular pattern, and then squeezes them together to form a little bowl shape.
24 hours later, she unmolds them and trims away any sharp edges while they're still flexible.
Once the pieces have cured, you can paint the edges with gold paint or a gold leaf marker.
You'll end up with a collection of little trinket dishes you can gift, made entirely out of resin that would have ended up in the garbage.
9. Make Art Out Of Resin Skins
Resin skins refer to thin, flexible pieces of resin that you often peel off of your work surface the day after you pour - if you’ve made flow art you’ll know these pieces of resin can be absolutely gorgeous! Peel resin skins from your work surface or make your own with leftover tinted resin in your cup.
Pour leftover tinted resin, spreading it out onto a flat sheet of plastic or parchment paper.
You can cut the pieces into the similar sized shapes, glue them to a panel and make an abstract collage piece.
If the resin is too thick to spread, scrape it out onto your sheet, spreading it out as best you can. The resin is soft enough that it will self level to some degree, but place another sheet of plastic over top and lay something heavy on top to help it along.
Allow it to cure for about 16 hours, until it's dry to the touch but still flexible. Cut it into whatever shape you want to create your own collage or design.
If you find a particularly beautiful area, you can cut it out and place it inside a pendant bezel to make a necklace.
You can make a re-usable gift tag with your resin run-offs, like artist @kristenkutayart did.
What to do with leftover Cured Resin
10. Embellish Your Art With Cured Resin Bits
If your resin run-offs have fully cured, you can cut them into bits and use them instead of glitter.
This idea actually came from one of the artists in our artist compilation series, Karen Lange, who made earrings and a tray using these tiny little resin bits.
Artist @lindaklippensteinart saves the cured resin drips from the back of her pieces and uses them to create texture in new pieces of art.
Even if you're not sure exactly what you want to make, many artists, like Lucy Peveto, keep their cured resin run-offs and scraps in a bin, to use in a new work of art whenever the inspiration strikes.
There you have it! We hope you've gotten lots of ideas on how you can re-purpose leftover resin to make even more art and, more importantly, so you'll never need to ever throw leftover resin away.
Do you have a favourite way to use up leftover resin that we didn’t cover here? Please let us know in the comments below!
ArtResin: Made By Artists, For Artists.