Creating a Resin Geode with Fire Glass
Fire glass is gaining popularity for use in gas fire pits and fireplaces, but did you know you can also re-purpose it for crafting? The wide variety of available colors, shapes, and sizes make fire glass the perfect accent feature in resin artwork.
If you haven’t heard of it before, resin painting is a new art form that is quickly gaining popularity among artists worldwide. The hashtag #ResinArt on Instagram has over 1 million posts! One of the most popular trends right now for resin artists is creating abstract pieces inspired by geodes, minerals, and agates. These paintings are characterized by jewel-tones, metallic accents, and three-dimensional elements in the form of glass, stones, or crystals. Fire glass works so well in these paintings because it comes in gorgeous, bright colors, often with mirrored backs to add extra sparkle alongside the glass-like shine of resin.
Here’s how to make your own:
Resin art features gorgeous jewel tones, striking metallic accents, and unique three dimensional elements--such as sparkling fire glass.
- A 2-part resin & hardener set (specifically for art, not casting)
- Starfire Direct fire glass in 1/4" Clear, 1/2" Titanium Reflective, 1/4" Cobalt Reflective, 1/4" Azuria Reflective and 1/2" Azuria Reflective
- A primed cradled wood panel
- Painters tape
- 2 shades of blue acrylic paint
- 2 shades of gold mica powder
- White acrylic paint
- Gold, blue, and white craft glitter
- Cups and popsicle sticks for mixing resin and pigments
- A graduated measuring cup to measure your resin and hardener
- A hot glue gun and clear glue sticks
- Nitrile gloves
- An apron or old clothes you don’t mind getting messy
- A respirator (check your resin’s instructions for protective equipment requirements)
- A level or level app for your phone
- A plastic tablecloth
- A box or plastic bin
Tip: Plastic cups work fine for mixing and make clean up easier, but silicone cups are a great alternative to reduce plastic waste.
Make sure to gather your materials beforehand to keep the artistic process running smoothly.
Before you start working with resin, it’s important to prepare your space and materials. Resins have a limited work-time, so you want to make sure everything is set up beforehand.
First and foremost, find a well-ventilated work area, which could be anything from a garage to a picnic table outside or an art studio if you have one available. Resin typically works best in an environment that is 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit so that is important to keep in mind.
Cover your table with plastic. This step will not only protect your table, but will make clean up a breeze. Use your level or level app to make sure the surface is flat, otherwise your resin will spill off the sides of your panel and it will not turn out well.
Keep your panel off the work surface to avoid a sticky situation.
Set up a pour station. Place four cups of equal height in a box or plastic tub in a square formation the same size as your wood panel. You need to elevate your painting so as the resin cures it does not stick to the table. Placing your board on cups will allow resin to drip off the sides, and the box or tub will catch any excess for easy clean up. Note that resin will harden to whatever it touches and will not be able to be removed once it is cured, so you want to keep it contained. Set out all pigments, glitters, and fire glass for when you are ready to start your piece.
Important Tip: Before going any further, make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions that come with your resin. Most importantly it will cover safety instructions, but it will also go over the mixing time, ratio, temperature constraints, and instructions for use along with the work time before it hardens. Any resin with a 20+ minute work time should be sufficient for this project.
It might be tempting to jump right into the resin pour, but preparing your panel beforehand makes for a more refined piece and you will thank yourself in the long run.
Use painters tape to block off the sides and back of your cradled wood board. Make sure the edge of the tape is flush with the edge of the panel so none of the sticky part will come in contact with the resin. Rub the tape flat along all surfaces so that there are no gaps.
Use a pencil to sketch a light outline of the desired composition for your piece. Keep in mind that the resin will shift and change as it cures so the final product will appear slightly different. That’s part of the fun! You can also pre-paint the panel as a guide, but it is not necessary. If you do, be sure to let the paint dry completely before going any further.
ADDING FIRE GLASS
Make sure to sketch out your design before pouring your resin.
Be sure to wear your nitrile gloves when handling your fire glass. Use hot glue to place stones where desired, following your sketch guide.
MIXING THE RESIN
After you've drawn out your guide, feel free to improvise!
Many popular artist’s resins require mixing equal parts resin & hardener for 3-6 minutes, but be sure to follow the instructions exactly as described. For a 10x10 inch panel like used for this piece, mixing about 4 oz of resin should be more than enough. Stir slowly, but make sure you scrape the edges of the cup and get everything mixed together. If you stir too fast, you will create bubbles which you do not want.
Once mixed, separate most of the resin equally into 5 cups (one for each color of paint or mica powder), leaving a small amount of clear resin in the original cup. Add a few drops of pigment and matching glitter to each of these new cups, making sure to keep the mixture to less than a 10% pigment to resin ratio. Mix thoroughly until the resin is completely saturated.
After your colors are mixed, you are ready to start pouring.
POURING THE RESIN
Remember--resin will blend together as it cures.
Pour one color at a time following your guide. Remember that it will develop and blend together as the resin cures, so it doesn’t have to be exactly as you sketched out. Feel free to deviate from your plan and add extra sections or blend colors together if you feel inclined. Use the remaining clear resin to coat the fire glass. Doing so will make sure all pieces are adhered to the board and will give it a glossy look.
After you pour each section, use your heat gun to gently heat the piece and pop any bubbles in the resin. Be sure you don’t get too close (stay about 4 to 5 inches away from the painting) or hover too long as you could burn the resin.
When you are satisfied with your pouring and the full panel is coated, you will need to leave it alone to cure. Each brand of resin has its own cure time which can be found in the instructions. Most will be hard to the touch after 24 hours and completely solid within a few days. If dust or pet hair is a problem in your workspace, cover your painting to avoid contamination.
Once the painting is cured, it’s time to add your last details. At this point, you can go back and add another layer of resin if you are not satisfied with the way the first layer dried. Otherwise, it is time to remove the tape and add the finishing touches.
Tip: If needed, gently heat the tape/drips with your heat gun. This will make it easier to remove it. Be careful not to burn it.
If desired, use paint pens to outline the different color sections to add extra definition. Some artists enjoy doing this to enhance the geode/agate feeling of the painting. You can also feel free to paint the edge or back of the panel at this time. This step is a good opportunity to clean up any resin that may have leaked through the tape.
Pick your hardware and display your art piece!
Finally, the last step is to pick your hardware (saw tooth hooks, mini easel stands, etc.) and display your new stunning abstract art piece in your home!
Check out Samantha in action as she creates her resin art in this Youtube tutorial.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Samantha Mason Ludwitzke
Samantha is a mixed-media artist based in Baltimore, MD. She is currently exploring the world of fluid art with both acrylic paints and resin. She is a firm believer that there is no such thing as too much sparkle, a mindset that carries over into all of her work. When she is not creating art or filming new videos for her YouTube channel, Sam enjoys reading and playing board games.
Main Image: Samantha takes us step-by-step through her process for creating a Resin Geode with fire glass.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Starfire Direct is pleased to partner with guests contributors--who are experts in their field-- to offer our readers specialized insight, inspiration, and techniques for projects and designs that they can implement in their own homes and businesses. For details on this article's author, please see above.