CREATE YOUR OWN: Rocky Waters Resin Art, A Step-by-Step Guide

Desert Hippie Arts Rocky Waters Resin Art 6 1

This resin art project was so much fun! I purchased rocks at our local Gem and Mineral show last year, and I have wanted to use them in something. I finally decided to “just do it,” and I am glad I did! I used colors in the design that would accent the rocks I wanted to use. I did not have a plan or design when I started this piece; I only knew I wanted to use the rocks. The combination of the blues, dark greys, and brown is very inspiring. It quickly transformed into an ocean scene!


With this project, I used a 12″x9″ cradleboard as my surface. It is a sold surface, and the resin did not pool to the board’s center like it does with canvas. It also has a solid frame around the sides which provides extra support for the hanging hardware. I really enjoyed working on this surface, and I will definitely make more.

The white color I used was perfect for forming the waves. Along with using heat on the white to create the soft white waves, I used layers of resin to create the dimensional foam.

I wanted to use the chocolate brown color but also a copper color to lighten up the brown. The copper creates a shimmer and pulls everything together. At the end, I added a clear layer of resin which also gives the water a dimensional look.

One thing I did not consider when starting this project was how heavy the design was when completed. Resin Art is heavy when finished, and this can be a surprise to beginners.

Before you begin, it is important to understand that Resin Art is worked in layers that give a dimensional look that is almost impossible to be duplicated with other mediums. Each layer will require approximately 24 hours to rest and cure between layers. This time frame will differ with each resin manufacturer, so it is important to read your manufacturer’s directions before starting.


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Creating with resin is fun but it is important to learn about how to use the resin safely. Believe it or not, safety is one of the most commonly overlooked steps when working with resin. I know I wanted to jump right in and start creating but I quickly learned that I needed to read up on the safety measures so that I could enjoy this medium for years to come. Here are a few basic safety guidelines to review before you start working with resin:

Erika DesertHippieArts small
  • Well ventilated area. It is crucial to work in an area that has good circulation and/or open windows. Some resins emit fumes that can be toxic.
  • Gloves. Yes, there is a thing called resin allergy. Wearing gloves is the easiest method to help with ongoing and prevent future skin conditions while working with resin.
  • Respirator. Protecting your lungs is a top priority. Wearing a respirator provides consistent protection to your lungs while working with resin. 
  • Clean spills immediately. Don’t let resin sit on your table or floor. Use paper towels to scoop up as much as possible then use denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol to clean up any remaining residue.
  • Safety goggles. Not only do goggles help prevent unexpected splashes from touching your eyes, but they prevent you from touching your eyes. If you are like me, you will touch your eye without thinking. Getting resin in your eyes is dangerous. If you do get resin in your eyes, flush with water repeatedly and seek medical attention immediately!
  • Apron. Aprons are great to help prevent resin from getting on your clothes and then absorbing and touching the stomach. When you are working, you can get easily focused on your process and not even realize resin has been touching your belly for 5 minutes or more!


HELPFUL TIPS: Take some time to plan your design. You will be working in layers that require some time to rest and cure. While planning, including how long you will need your workspace to be used, you will not be able to move your project until completed.


  • It is important to protect your table’s surface with plastic sheeting or even a plastic trash bag. Ensure there are no holes in it before placing it on your table.
  • Select the coloring additives you would like to use and place them on the table.
  • Place enough stir sticks and dixie cups on your table for coloring your resin
  • Have some loose paper towels available in an easy-to-grab location on the table in case of potential accidents.
  • Have some baby wipes or isopropyl alcohol on your table to help clean any spills as needed.
  • Tape the bottom of your creating surface (canvas, cradleboard, plywood, etc.) to help clean up the dried bumps when finished.


POWDER COLORING TIP: I have found an easy way to mix pigment powders! Place a small amount of clear resin with the full amount of pigment powder in the cup and mix. Once the powder has mixed with the resin, add the remaining amount of resin to the cup. This method helps prevent spills and excessive air bubbles.

Do you need help coloring resin? I have created a FREE eBook for you to download to assist you. Please feel free to use it and let me know what you think! How to Color or Dye Resin, A Step-by-Step Tutorial for Beginners


Remember: You will be working in layers where each layer is one days worth of work!

  1. Layer 1/DAY 1: Place rocks/gems and place base-colored resin layer. Let the resin cure 24 hours and then return for the second layer.
  2. Layer 2/DAY 2: Add more colored resin to the base layer and add the white for the “ocean wave” effect.
  3. Layer 3/DAY 3: Add more colored resin to the base layer and add the white for the “ocean wave” effect.
  4. Layer 4/DAY 4: Add any details with pens/glitter (optional) and add a layer of clear resin to coat the entire surface.
  • If you are using rocks or gems, place a small amount of clear resin in the areas you want to place them. The clear resin will act as the glue to hold the rocks/gems in place. Place the rocks or gems on top of the clear resin areas and then lightly drizzle with clear resin.
  • Start adding your colored resin around your surface and next to the rocks/gems.
  • Once you have covered your surface with the resin (colored or clear), double-check and make sure your sides are covered.
  • You will now let your piece rest. After 24 hours, add another layer of resin by repeating the steps above (as needed). For the “ocean wave” effect, I like to add white to the second and third resin layers. For my project, I added the white near the rocks and then applied heat. As the white heats up, the lacing starts to appear. You can push the white with your torch/heat gun into the water, creating the ocean water foam.
  • I recorded my process while creating my Rocky Waters piece to visualize how each step works.
  • Have fun with this! Use your imagination and get creative with the designs and colors.


What do you think of this piece? Do you like the rock placement and the colors used? I decided not to use pens or glitter on the final layer/day because I liked how this looks. What would you do differently? Contact me and let me know! I would like to hear what you think.


I recently became a contributing writer with the website. My first project was to write an article on How to Color or Dye Resin Step-by-Step. This is a beginners tutorial to resin and resin art. Although this was a very lengthy project I thought it was fun. I was able to research more on how to color resin, I learned what I don’t like to use to color resin and I have met some new artists along the way.

SheeleeArt15DHA Desert Hippie Arts

I thought it would be fun to create a downloadable guide to accompany the article I created. This guide contains all of the information included in the article and is 14 pages. I have made this a FREE guide available in my market: CLICK HERE!

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