Rafael Viñoly, 1944–2023. By Bill Griswold, Director and… | by Cleveland Museum of Art | CMA Thinker | Mar, 2023

A note of caution: Epoxy resin can be dangerous. Here are materials you should never add to epoxy resin

There are many mediums you can use to make art, including epoxy resin. However, there are some materials you should never add to epoxy resin. Here are some of them.


Art can take almost any form, from classic paintings to beautiful marble sculptures. A modern artistic medium is epoxy resin. Epoxy resin starts as a liquid that artists can cure into any shape and even mix with other mediums. For example, you can pour epoxy resin into a mold that shapes it into beautiful jewelry. You can also pour it into holes in wooden furniture and allow it to cure into a piece of mixed-media art. But there are some materials you should never add to epoxy resin because they aren’t safe or will cause problems. We’ll discuss them here.

Fresh Flowers, Insects, or Food

You can make almost anything art, including fresh flowers, insects, and food. However, you should not place these items into epoxy resin. While the resin will cure and harden, it is not a preservative. That means fresh flowers, insects, and food will rot inside the resin. You would have to cut down or break the resin to remove these rotten items. If you need these items for your artistic vision, dry and preserve them first. Once they’re preserved, you can place them into your resin without worrying about decay.

Most Plastic Products

While epoxy resin will stick to many things, allowing you to cast them, it will not stick to polyethylene plastic. Most plastic products are made from low-density polyethylene, such as toys and housewares. For this reason, you cannot place these items inside your epoxy resin and must find alternatives. For example, if you’re trying to use epoxy resin to preserve plastic straws, you will need to find an alternative. Consider painting a cardboard or metal straw to resemble a plastic straw.

Water-Based Colorants

While you can try to mix water and epoxy resin, the results will ruin your art. Epoxy resin does not react well to moisture, often refusing to cure or curing improperly. Improper curing will lead your art to crack and break. Watching what you mix is one of the epoxy resin safety precautions you should take. Take this precaution even if you’re mixing something you think is safe, like a water-based colorant. If you want to color your epoxy resin, do so with a powder such as mica powder or an alcohol-based colorant.

You should never add these three materials to epoxy resin if you want to create lasting art. Experiment with different mix-in materials to create the effects and colors you want without risking your art’s ability to last a long time and stay safe.

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