With so many seemingly similar products available, it can be tricky to find the best epoxy resin for your specific needs. Not all offerings are equal and it’s frustrating when you have to throw out bad materials because they just don’t work right. There are a few elements to consider when narrowing down your selection:
- Work time
- Cure time
- Mixability or ease of mixing
- Protection from UV rays and yellowing
- Potential odors and fumes
- Casting or doming
- Type of finish
Here we discuss five of the more popular items on the market and the good and bad about each one. Note we do not receive any referral credit or commission if you decide to purchase anything on this page. Our only goal is to produce an objective, unbiased article to help you pick the best epoxy resin for your next project.
Epoxy Resins for Crafting Reviewed
Craft Resin Epoxy Resin Kit
Craft Resin’s epoxy resin kit for art comes in a wide range of sizes from 17 oz. to a little over two gallons. The resin is self-leveling, resists heat up to 200° F when cured, and mixes in a 1:1 ratio of resin to hardener. The company claims a working time of 40 minutes at 70° F and a cure time of 24 to 72 hours depending on thickness. A cure time of 21 days is needed for maximum temperature resistance.
The formula includes UV stabilizers which help prevent your project from becoming yellow from light exposure and comes with a stirring stick and gloves. Additionally, the materials are non-toxic, non-flammable, and free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and solvents. The company has verified these products are in alignment with ASTM D4236 safety standards.
When buying direct, Craft Resin’s products are backed by a 30-day return policy with refunds issued at their discretion and the buyer is responsible for return shipping. Some retailers like Amazon have more buyer-friendly policies, which is always something to consider when shopping around.
In our experience, this resin dries extremely clear if the resin is at the right temperature. It seems to have a medium propensity to form bubbles despite the manufacturer’s claims, but bubbles can always be heated out with a torch or heat gun. You can hep minimize them by going slower when mixing your hardener and resin.
Take at least three, if not five, minutes when mixing. You can also wait a few minutes after mixing before pouring. It is imperative to follow directions closely with this one as you may end up with a final product that won’t harden all the way if you don’t use the correct ratio. Don’t eyeball it.
Use accurate measuring tools and combine resin and hardener by volume, not weight. You will also want to pay particularly close attention to temperature. This was a very low viscosity resin and leveled-off relatively quickly at 78°.
Overall: this may be the best epoxy resin for those who actually read directions and don’t mind paying a bit more. You must mix very slowly to avoid air bubbles and you’ll want to keep it close to 1/4″ layers as per Craft Resin. Worth noting is that we had the ambient temperature at 78° and noticed a realistic working time of closer to 30 minutes, so that’s something to consider if you have a lot of intricate plans. This is a great resin kit if price is not a concern.
Teexpert Epoxy Resin & Hardener Kit
Next up is Teexpert’s kit, which comes in 8.8, 16, 32 oz., and one gallon sizes. This is another self-leveling product that mixes easily in a 1:1 ratio by volume. According to the company, work time is 40 minutes and cure time is 24 hours. Layers should be kept to a maximum thickness of a half inch and about 4-6 hours should pass between layers.
Teexpert states that their formula features anti-UV technology, but they are very light on the details. They recommend applying an acrylic-based polyurethane coating as protection for items that will be exposed to direct sunlight. The built-in UV protection is supposed to mitigate yellowing for at least six months worth of exposure.
You don’t have to worry about VOCs, BPA, or toxicity either. Totally cured items can come into contact with food without the worry of contamination. The odor is far from overpowering and is really only noticeable when stirring the mixture.
This kit arrives with resin, hardener, mixing sticks, measuring cups, gloves, and a set of instructions. The manufacturer is very forward about its money back guarantee and states that it issues full refunds in as little as 24 hours. There is no readily available company return policy, but customers have reported that the company is responsive and keeps its word regarding refunds.
Bubbles weren’t really an issue with this one, though we did take special care to mix slowly and thoroughly. We also kept the room above 75° F and made sure not to pour too thick. These things can cause microbubbles to be trapped beneath the surface. Anything that did appear was easily torched out.
Our test projects were a desk decoration with fillers and some traditional silicone molds. Everything was left to dry overnight and demolded easily as we used release spray before casting. Actual work time at our room’s temperature was about a half hour. The finish of the cured product is not quite as clear and glossy as we hoped for, but this may an insignificant issue for your purposes.
Overall: if you are looking to get into resin crafting and would like to save some money, this could be the best epoxy resin for you. As long as it is mixed correctly, bubbles should’t be an issue and this is definitely one of the lower-odor options. It is thin enough to flow through a pipette in case you need to extract resin. Unfortunately, our finish could have been a bit more transparent and shinier. The bottom line is that, for many projects, this is a solid kit for the lowest price on our list.
PuDuo Epoxy Resin Kit
PuDuo epoxy resin is manufactured in China but ships from the US. The kit, which contains resin, hardener, four measuring cups, three sticks, and a pair of rubber gloves, comes in sizes from 8 oz. to one gallon. This one is self-leveling, mixes 1:1, has a claimed work time of 40 minutes, and cures fully in 24-72 hours depending on your pour.
Demolding time is about eight hours according to the manufacturer. It’s a doming resin with higher viscosity and surface tension than regular casting resins, meaning you can use it to pour domed or curved surfaces. When using it as a coating, the recommended maximum pour depth is 1/4″. There is no recommendation for pouring molds, but users have reported casting depths of up to six inches.
This formulation allegedly resists yellowing. Since there has been insufficient time between our project and now, we can not comment on this from experience. Many customer reviews mention a yellow tinting that forms as the product cures.
This could be due to reactions between the resin and any pigments added or the result of oxidation from prolonged air exposure. We did our test about eight weeks before this article was written and no yellowing occurred during that period. If you really want to avoid yellowing, it is best to avoid direct light exposure and/or coating your item with polyurethane to help seal out any potential damage.
When you’re trying to find the best epoxy resin, it is important to know that the manufacturer stands behind their product. PuDuo doesn’t publish a return policy nor does it explicitly offer any guarantees. However, reviews of their customer service are largely positive and the company advises purchasers to contact them or Amazon for any refund requests. We had no reason to try this ourselves.
There were no issues with excess air bubbles, though we used a plastic stick to mix instead of the wood ones provided in the kit. Some say this makes a difference. The product indeed seemed to live up to its promise to dry crystal clear. We cast a pendent with a domed bezel and mica powder and the color seemed to mix well and visually pop when the product was fully finished. Since we were working in a 76 degree room, we didn’t quite get the 40 minute work time that you would in cooler temperatures.
Overall: this is kind of a middle-of-the-line offering in all ways and is cheaper than many other options at $17.99 per 16 oz. kit. What makes this one unique compared to others on this list is its thickness, which allows for curved surfaces and makes it the best epoxy resin for certain pieces. It also nicely absorbed color pigments, left a clear finish, and gave off zero odor.
Dr. Crafty Epoxy Resin Kit
Like many others, Dr. Crafty’s offering is manufactured in China, but your order will ship from the domestic US if you order from Amazon or Walmart. The combination of resin and hardener comes with two mixing cups, two plastic stirring sticks, and two spatulas and comes in 16 oz., 64 oz., one gallon, and two gallon sizes. It mixes 1:1 like other casting resins and has a preliminary cure time of 24 hours.
A full cure is reached within 72 hours in most cases. This is a low viscosity resin, which means you can pour deeper and air bubbles will have an easier time escaping compared to thicker mixtures. There are no manufacturer recommendations for pour depth.
They claim that this is a non-yellowing product and we cannot comment on this because we immediately exposed our project to direct sunlight for testing purposes. That said, a quick scan of Amazon reviews reveals multiple cases of customers being let down by yellowing. A color change is going to occur over time with any unsealed resin, but evidently it comes on a bit faster and more intensely with Dr. Crafty’s product.
You must make sure not to mix in a cold setting as this will make your epoxy dry cloudier, generate more air bubbles, and take longer to cure. It will not harden fully and will be sticky if temperatures are too low. The ideal operating temperature for this resin is 77° F. If it is significantly colder than this, you may want to place the resin and hardener containers in a warm water bath for a bit to warm up.
We didn’t have to test out the company’s return policy, but others have. The company has a reputation of supporting their product, which is good. Unfortunately, this happens somewhat frequently according to other reviews. If nothing else, you may be covered by the retailer’s return policies just in case you have problems with the product.
There was only a minor odor present, but it seemed to have the strongest scent out of the products we tested. It is always best to work in a well ventilated area. This product is in compliance with ASTM D-4236 standard, which means any hazardous materials need to be listed on the packaging. Since nothing is listed, there are presumably no VOCs present.
Overall– this was the least impressive kit on our list, unfortunately. Although air bubbles were not beyond expectations, this resin produced unfavorable fumes and never did really cure all the way. Our crafts were bendy well beyond the 72 hours recommended for a full cure, even though the ambient temperature was kept ideal and our mix volumes were dead-on.
ArtResin Epoxy Resin
ArtResin Epoxy Resin is one of the more well-known products from a brand that has been around since 2009. Available in sizes ranging from 8 oz. to 10 gallons, the brand’s flagship resin product mixes 1:1 epoxy to hardener and self-levels. They claim a 45 minute work time, 12 hour dry time, 95% cured time of 24 hours, and a fully cured time of 72 hours. Heat resistance is relatively low at 120° F when fully cured.
It is natural for resin to suffer the effects of exposure to various light sources over time. However, certain additives can help drastically mitigate the process. This formula contains UV absorbers that protect against the harmful effects of ultraviolet light, as well as hindered amine light stabilizers (HALS) that deter yellowing.
You don’t have to worry about exposure to VOCs or BPA. Fully cured creations are certified safe for food contact. This is a non-flammable epoxy and there is no detectable odor. It is nontoxic, but it is always a good idea to operate in a well ventilated area when working with resin.
Unlike many other resin products, this one is made in the USA and was formulated specifically for use in art. It does not come with anything other than resin and hardener, but they offer a 32 oz. combo kit that does. The manufacturer accepts returns within 30 days of purchase but does not offer free returns. From our experience and the reports of other customers, it is unlikely you will need to make a claim.
Mixing the two ingredients together for a solid three minutes at a low rate of speed kept bubbles out. Our work time was about 40 minutes in a room that was at 76° F, which was more than enough time to pour two inch layers and set our miniatures. Remember that you may want to use a torch to get deeper bubbles out when you’re pouring deep layers.
If you are aiming for a finish that can really make colors pop, this is the best epoxy resin for you. It dries crystal clear and provides a super high gloss while deepening colors viewed through it. We covered a canvas painting in all five of the products mentioned on this page and ArtResin’s version provided the most vivid result.
Overall: it is just as easy to work with as any other and works well even with thick pours. This combination of epoxy and hardener provides the most beautiful finish of all products tested and it’s offered in large bulk quantities with free shipping. This, and the fact that it was designed by the company’s own chemists, is ultimately what made ArtResin’s kit our top choice.
To cut to the chase in case you couldn’t read the whole article, we found a winner between the five products we tested. ArtResin’s epoxy resin kit is available in bulk quantities, is formulated in-house, and provides the most visually appealing finish on the list. It is the best epoxy resin based on our hands-on review. You may assume that the more expensive options must be better, and Craft Resin’s entry was impressive, but you aren’t going to beat this one when you consider its more than fair pricing and stellar results.
Common Questions & Answers
Which is the best epoxy resin to buy?
If you put faith in the Amazon review system, PUDUO’s epoxy resin kit is the consensual winner, though maybe not by a large margin. There are currently just under 21,000 reviews for a collective 4.5 stars, which is tough to beat. This resin is easy to work with, has ample work time, is odor-free, and is backed by the company’s satisfaction guarantee.
How do I choose the best epoxy resin?
The best epoxy resins mix easily, provide you with enough time to manipulate them and to add your fillers, demold and cure in a reasonable time, resist turning yellow after UV exposure, resist forming bubbles during the mixing process, are not highly toxic, and dry to a clear, shiny finish. You also want to pay attention to whether it is a doming resin, as these are thicker than normal casting resins.
Once you figure out the products that meet those requirements, you can decide between them by dividing price by ounce of total product (epoxy plus hardener) to figure out your per unit cost. Choose the one that gives you the most for your money.
What’s the difference between resin and epoxy?
To be clear, epoxy is a resin. When we refer to epoxy resin on this website, we are referring to epoxy-based casting resins. These are different than epoxy resins used for coatings and commercial applications.
Coating resins are thicker, formulated for shallower pouring depths, and provide less work time. Casting resins have a longer work and cure time, are generally thinner, and can be poured in layers up to many inches thick in some cases.
How expensive is epoxy resin?
You can pickup a 16 oz. kit containing 8 oz. of each resin and hardener for around $18 on average from Amazon. Naturally, you can save money by buying in larger quantities like gallons, in which case you may pay closer to $0.50 to $0.85 depending on total volume purchased. If you want to go even bigger and don’t mind shelling out $750 in one shot, you can pickup a 10 gallon kit from ArtResin. That one calculates out to a cost of about $0.59 per ounce if you can swing it.