Working with resin can be fun if you have the right tools. It’s a chemical substance that requires a lot of safety equipment and specific supplies to work with correctly.
So, what are all the tools you need to work with resin? The tools for resin include the actual resin, a respirator, gloves, stir sticks, measuring cups, silicone molds, a torch, toothpicks, and more.
While the exact tools you use will depend on how you use your resin, there are some that are required no matter what you’re making. Check out our complete list of everything you need to work with resin below.
If you’ve worked with resin before, then you know it’s not just one bottle, but two. It comes in a package of resin and hardener.
Before using resin, you’ll need to mix the two together in a plastic cup. Whether you’re making resin tumblers, canvas art, or jewelry, you’ll need the resin before you can do anything else.
It can be hard to gauge the amount of resin needed for any particular project, so try using a resin calculator to figure out how much you’ll need before purchasing.
Resin is widely known for giving off fumes that can be toxic if inhaled. That’s why it’s important to grab a respirator before starting.
A respirator will save you from inhaling any fumes that may cause physical discomfort, illness, or damage.
Some resin brands have begun making resin with low or no VOC, or volatile organic compounds. This means they’re not as toxic and are typically considered safer to work with.
However, even if you’re working with a low or no VOC resin, we still highly recommend working with a respirator at all times.
Another important part of your safety gear is gloves.
We recommend using nitrile gloves instead of latex gloves. You could use either one, but many resin crafters use nitrile gloves and prefer them for resin work.
Plus, if you have a latex allergy, then nitrile gloves will be your only option!
Gloves will protect the skin on your hands from coming in contact with this harmful substance, as well as make for easy clean-up when you’re done.
The final piece of safety gear you’ll need to get is an apron.
There are tons of work/craft aprons that can be found online, but we love this 2-pack from Syntus. They’ve been used by many resin crafters and are widely loved.
Your apron should be waterproof with a thick material to protect your clothes.
Resin can cause permanent damage to your clothes, so it’s best to work with an apron at all times.
If you need to get started with resin on the cheap and don’t want to invest in an apron, you can always use some old clothes that you don’t mind ruining.
5. Stir Sticks
Regardless of whether you’re mixing in any glitter or color, you’re going to need some sticks to stir your resin and hardener together.
We recommend popsicle sticks! They do a great job of mixing, come in large quantities for a cheap price, and can be easily disposed of when you’re done.
However, you can also purchase reusable plastic stir sticks for resin. These stir sticks can be used more than once, so you’ll minimize your waste.
Both products will work perfectly, so it’s all a matter of preference.
If you do choose to use the reusable plastic stir sticks, be sure to clean them thoroughly between resin projects and make sure they’re completely dry before putting in the resin.
Although you may not need a level for every resin project, it’s a handy tool to keep around just in case.
Resin is typically self-leveling, but it will always self-level according to the surface. If your resin project is laying on a crooked surface, all of the resin will run off your object and onto the table below.
Before pouring your resin, get your project set up and make sure it’s level. This would mainly apply to working with canvas art, though you may also want to ensure your table is level before using it for silicone molds.
A level will help you achieve the nice, smooth, even finish that everyone loves about a coating of resin.
A butane torch is highly recommended for anyone working with resin.
When poured, resin has a tendency to create small bubbles. The hot flame of a torch can help pop those bubbles, when used properly.
We recommend a hand-held butane torch, like one used in a kitchen, because it’s easy and safe to use. You can control the size of the flame and easily turn it on or off.
Always use caution when using a torch. Be sure to read your resin bottles’ safety labels to ensure there aren’t any warnings against heat.
When you’re wearing your respirator, you won’t be able to smell anything, so always remember to turn your torch off when finished. This will prevent it from staying on while you’re none the wiser, since you won’t smell the butane.
Also note that butane torches cannot be shipped in the same box containing butane fuel, so you’ll need to buy the butane gas separately. Double check that the butane fuel cannister is compatible with your torch before purchase.
Toothpicks are another tool that aren’t strictly necessary, but can be a huge help to have around!
They can be used for a lot of different purposes with resin. Usually, toothpicks are used to pop bubbles or stir around little pieces of decoration such as gold leaf or dried flowers in the resin.
They can also be used to pick out pieces of dust or hair that fell into the resin before it had time to fully cure.
Since toothpicks can be helpful in many ways for resin – and you can get such a high quantity for a low price – we highly recommend adding this to your resin tool list.
9. Shower Curtain Liner (Or Other Surface Protection)
One item that may come as a surprise is a shower curtain liner. These work great to lay down on top of your work surface to protect it from any resin that spills over.
You can use other types of plastic or vinyl drop cloths, or even a piece of cardboard, but we think using a shower curtain liner is the easiest way to go.
They come in a large size, so you’ll know your whole surface is protected. Plus, they’re typically pretty cheap, so it won’t cost much to grab one.
Even better – they’re reusable! You can wipe off the resin and clean the liner with isopropyl alcohol, or wait until the resin cures and simply peel or scrape it off.
If you’d still prefer a regular plastic drop cloth to a shower curtain liner, you can use those too. Just make sure to throw it out after each resin session and replace it with a new one next time you work with resin.
10. Painter’s Tape
Painter’s tape can be a real help to those working outside of silicone molds. If you’re using resin to create custom tumblers or canvas art, then you’ll definitely need painter’s tape.
Use painter’s tape around the top of the cup on the inside to prevent the resin from curing along the top edge where the lid will go.
With canvas art, use it all along the bottom edge of the canvas. The resin will drip down the canvas onto your shower curtain liner or plastic drop cloth, but as it drips down, it will collect on the bottom of your canvas.
To prevent the resin from curing in rounded orbs and lines along the bottom of your canvas, just use painter’s tape. When the resin is cured, you can peel off the tape and reveal the smooth, clean lines on the back.
Although resin is typically self-leveling, it’s a thick substance that may need some assistance in spreading if you’re pouring it across a wide, flat surface.
That’s why you’ll need to add a resin spreader to your list of tools to use. They typically come in a square or rectangular shape with 4 different sides. Some have large teeth and some have small teeth, while one side will be smooth.
Use a resin spreader to evenly distribute your resin if pouring onto a big canvas, block of wood, or other wide, flat surface.
Be gentle with the spreader. Avoid putting too much pressure while you’re spreading, or you may drag lines with the teeth along your surface. This can mess up paint, if you’re working with a painted object.
12. Measuring Cup
In order to stir your resin together with its hardener, you’ll need to have a cup to put it in. You can’t just use any cup, because resin must be poured in exact measurements. You’ll need a measuring cup.
Now, you have a lot of options when it comes to your measuring cups. You can get one big, plastic measuring cup that you can reuse, like this 32-ounce measuring cup.
If you use a reusable plastic measuring cup like this one, then you’ll need to be prepared to clean it properly.
You can clean it while the resin is still wet by wiping it out with a paper towel and isopropyl alcohol. Just make sure the cup is fully dry before you use it again.
Your other option is to turn it upside down on your plastic drop cloth and let the resin cure. Once it’s cured, pick up the cup and pull the dried resin out of the cup. It’s ready to be reused!
For those looking for quick and easy with no clean-up, we recommend getting a pack of disposable plastic measuring cups. These can be used once and then thrown away when you’re done with that resin project.
13. Alcohol Ink Or Colorant
For those looking to make their resin fun and vibrant, you may want to use a colorant or alcohol ink.
Colorants will totally dye your resin, turning it from clear to whatever color you’ve added. These colorants can be transparent or opaque. Remember that a little goes a long way, so try adding just a few drops and stirring thoroughly before adding more.
If you want to go for a more dynamic look, you can try using alcohol ink, too. Alcohol ink will stay suspended in resin, appearing like splashes of color in the clear resin. These are best used when working with silicone molds.
Both sets of color additives are a fun way to add brightness and pops of color to your resin. Resin only comes clear, so if you want to add colors of any kind, you’ll need to invest in a set of colorants and alcohol ink.
Decorations like dried flowers or gold leaf are typically added to resin projects made in silicone molds, while glitter can be used in any resin project you choose.
There are other decorative elements you can add to resin, too, so be creative! Look around, check online for inspiration, and try to come up with things that you think would look great in resin.
15. Silicone Molds
Silicone molds come in many shapes and sizes. The type of molds you get will depend on the type of resin project you’re looking to make.
For example, you can get a set of silicone molds perfect for making coasters and a coaster holder. You could also get a set of silicone molds that have flat molds for thin resin décor, or full molds for bigger projects.
There are also silicone molds that have space for several same-shaped objects, like this silicone mold for deep rectangular objects.
There are endless options when it comes to silicone molds, so consider the projects you want to make and search for a mold in that shape.
Although you won’t need stands when working with silicone molds, they can be incredibly useful for people working with flat-surface resin projects like canvases or wood.
It’s recommended to use at least one stand at each corner, if not one supporting the middle of the object, too.
These stands will help prop up your flat object so the resin can run smoothly over the edges and coat the entire surface. Don’t forget to use your painter’s tape underneath!
17. Isopropyl Alcohol
Alcohol breaks down resin, so it works great to clean your surfaces (and any reusable plastic tools) before your next resin session.
Keep in mind that alcohol should never be used to clean your hands. It will break down the chemicals and can cause irritation or other issues on your skin.
Use isopropyl alcohol only to clean your surfaces and any molds, plastic measuring cups, or plastic stirring sticks you may want to reuse.
If you want more information on the best tools to get for working with resin, you can check out the video below.
This video does a great job of running through the list of every tool you may need when working with resin, so be sure to give it a watch and see how each tool can be used in action for the best results.