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Color plays a pivotal role in so many aspects of life. Color can bring an event like a wedding together, it can cause you to fall in love with an outfit, color can cause you to buy a car that falls well outside your budget, color can even make other colors pop. In terms of resin casting, by adding color you can create a massive aesthetic impact on your item. But you may wonder how to color resin? Can you for example, use food coloring in resin? And if so, what else can be used to color resin?
Table of Contents
Can Food Coloring Be Used in Resin?
Before we begin, you must know that food coloring has not been formulated to work with resin, this is why there is an assortment of coloring agents available for resin and other epoxy products. Food coloring, as it says in the name, has been designed for use with food products and does not work well when added to more viscous materials such as resin.
On the other hand, you can add some food coloring to resin if it is your first time working with coloring resin. Food coloring is also a great option if you are working on a budget as resin dyes can be quite pricey, particularly the high-quality options. Yes, but in terms of ease of use, and the interest of quality, it should not be your go-to option when adding color to your epoxy resin items.
How to Color UV Resin
If you do not know what UV resin is, here is a simple description before we look into coloring it. UV resin is a particular type of resin that cures and dries when it is exposed to natural or artificially created UV radiation. This product is unfortunately no more so resistant to the negative impacts of UV exposure, but it does mean that if you are working on a time-sensitive project then UV resin will dry a lot faster than standard resin.
But how to color UV resin? Does food coloring work in resin formulated as such? Yes, but when working with UV resin we recommend using oil-based food coloring. This is due to the two materials binding together well, thanks to their similar consistency.
A water-based food coloring will still do the job, but oil-based food coloring will provide you with better results. This is due to the oil-based food coloring having a consistency that is more like the UV resin, than the water-based food coloring’s consistency.
Is Food Coloring Lightfast?
Before we address the answer, we need to clarify what lightfast is. Lightfast is when a substance (in this discussion food coloring) fades when exposed to direct sunlight for long periods. Another way to refer to lightfast is UV-resistant, which means that material or object will not receive damage when exposed to UV rays or direct exposure to sunlight for long periods.
Is food coloring lightfast? Sadly, no, food dye’s coloring will fade quite quickly if it is exposed to sunlight for long periods. Taking this into consideration, we suggest you do not leave your resin castings in direct sunlight if you have decided to color your resin using food coloring.
Food coloring as the dye is, therefore, an “indoor” only option for coloring your resin casting when you are on a budget, or if you do not have any other resin dye available.
What Types of Food Coloring Are Suitable for Use With Resin?
Does food coloring work in resin? Yes, but is this true for all food coloring? Not actually, it all depends on the type of resin that you are working with, and are hoping to color. Next, we will go into more depth regarding the types of food coloring that work in resin casting. In addition, we will outline a few other materials that you can use to incorporate color into your resin.
Conventional Oil-Based Food Coloring
Ordinary food coloring can be used to dye epoxy resin. Unfortunately, you will not get the most vibrant color, but if you do not have another option, it will give you decent results once you get the hang of it. When using food coloring as a dye for resin you need to keep an eye on the ratios. Begin by adding an opaque color to your resin before you incorporate the food coloring. This will ensure that the color has a base to work against, much like you use a white canvas when painting as opposed to a transparent canvas.
When you have finished adding the opaque color and it has been mixed in thoroughly, you can add one or half a drop of food coloring and start mixing. As you are mixing you will initially notice a few small spots, but continue to mix until these disappear completely and you have created a solid color.
Gel-Based Food Coloring
As previously mentioned as a beginner using food coloring to color your resin is a wonderful idea, as you can control the hue much better than when using dedicated dye agents. As a beginner we suggest you use gel food coloring as it is inherently light when added to any substance, meaning you can darken the color slowly, as required.
We suggest you do not add more than two or three drops, as gel-based food coloring tends to create streaks in the resin if you have added too much. Keep in mind there is a consistency difference between the dye and the resin, so you will not achieve intense color, in comparison to using an oil-based dye.
Professionals like to use gel-based food coloring to create lighter shades that are relatively transparent. If you have chosen to use conventional food coloring, you can add half a drop into the resin, and using a toothpick stir the color in, until you achieve a consistency you are happy with.
Positives and Negatives of Adding Food Dye to Resin
Can you use food coloring in resin? Yes, but it is important to understand how effective and viable it is as a solution. We have put together a list of positive and negative aspects when it comes to using food coloring to color your resin.
What Can I Use to Color Epoxy Resin Besides Food Coloring?
What can I use to color epoxy resin? If you find yourself in a situation where you have no food coloring, but you still need to color your resin, we have put together a few alternatives as follows. You may even find you prefer one of these options over using food coloring.
The best option to color your resin is dedicated colorants. This product has been specifically formulated to offer the optimum consistency and color when added to epoxy resin. Dedicated colorants are liquid dyes and mica powders in particular. There are literally thousands of dyes available in varying color ranges, prices, and intensities for you to select from.
An old trick is using acrylic paint for resin, it is an affordable and simple way to dye resin that works quite well. There is a trick you need to use when dying your resin with acrylic paint. Should the paint be more than 10 percent acrylic, it can result in the resin taking longer to cure or potentially not curing at all. This is one situation whereby using the cheaper product is better, thanks to them being less concentrated.
Another old trick is to color your resin casting using eye shadow. This is a great option should you be in a pinch, thanks to eyeshadow being easily available, and you do not even have to use expensive eyeshadow. Eyeshadow will add a stunning shine to the resin that competes well when compared with mica powder. Eyeshadow is also simple to use.
Chalk is an effective and affordable option to use to dye your resin. Again, do not use the pricey chalk as it could potentially mess up the consistency of your resin. Chalk is simple to use, all you need to do is crush up some of the chalk and combine it with the resin. Mix it well so you are not left with any clumps of chalk floating in the resin.
While resin and alcohol do not mix well, you can take a small amount of alcohol ink to add a tint to your resin casting. It will only add a subtle coloring, but it will potentially give your resin a stained-glass look, which is beautiful.
What Not to Add to Resin
While it may seem as if the list of things that can be added to resin is endless, there are materials and substances that will cause a chemical reaction if they come into contact with resin as it cures. So, while it is always fun to experiment with new combinations, always check with the experts first, or do a small test in a safe environment, before adding anything unusual to your epoxy mixture.
Now that you are aware that food coloring can be used in resin, which types of coloring can be used with epoxy, the positives, and negatives of using food coloring as a dye for your resin, and what other substances are available. Why not try out your new knowledge and color your next resin project. Keep in mind there are some affordable, alternatives, that do work, but the best option is to use liquid dyes and mica powders which are dedicated colorants to dye your resin.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Color UV Resin With Food Coloring?
If you are wondering how to color UV resin using food coloring, oil-based food coloring is the best option. When using food dye to color your resin, ensure you stir it in well until it has been completely absorbed. If you were to use water-based food coloring you will end up with a streaky finish as the water will, unfortunately, displace the UV resin’s base component.
Can I Use Paint to Color Resin?
A great alternative to epoxy dye is to use acrylic paint to color resin. Remember that the color consistency between epoxy dye and paint for resin varies a lot. You should have a good idea of the finish you are looking to achieve before trying either option.
How to Color Resin With Food Coloring?
To use food coloring to dye resin, all you have to do is add a little food coloring to your resin and mix it in thoroughly. You will need about half or a full drop of food coloring. We recommend using either gel-based or oil-based food coloring when trying this.