Resin has become such a popular medium for creating absolutely gorgeous pieces of art such as jewelry, resin pour paintings, bookmarks, geode resin art, coasters, tumblers, cups & mugs, cutting boards, jewelry boxes, even sculptures, tables, and countertops!
There is a lot you should know before taking the plunge into the world of resin though, such as how to work with epoxy resin safely and the risks of choosing not to protect yourself. We will cover both resin safety topics in this article.
We are first going to talk about the resin safety and the safety precautions you should consider when working with resin, and then we will go into some of the associated risks of working with resin when you are not wearing resin safety protection.
Of course, these are safety recommendations and it is your own personal choice and responsibility to look into what you personally need and want to use for your personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with resin, and each brand and type of resin has its own recommendations as well. Be sure to read your resin labels, safety data sheets or material safety data sheets for the brand you will be working with.
We will talk about the general safety precautions for epoxy resin and the proper resin safety gear we recommend throughout this resin safety article.
Get your notebooks ready! We are about to dive right in!
So let's get into the resin safety precautions and resin safety tips you can use to work safely with resin! The following is a list of safety precautions, safety equipment and personal protective equipment to wear when working with resin including respirators, epoxy tents, proper fans, the proper gloves, and more.
*Continue reading this article further to learn the details of each item, why you would want to consider using it as well as many more safety items to consider when using epoxy resin.
AREA TO PROTECT
*details on each product are in the article below
|SAFETY PRECAUTION OPTION 1||SAFETY PRECAUTION OPTION 2|
Epoxy Resin Safety EYE PROTECTION
|Goggles with vents protect eyes from splash + won't fog||Goggles without vents protect eyes from splash + fumes|
Epoxy Resin Safety LUNG PROTECTION
|Half face mask with a respirator and organic filters protects lungs||Full face mask with a respirator and organic filters protects eyes + lungs|
Epoxy Resin Safety BODY PROTECTION
|Kevlar sleeves help protect arms||Tyvek suit helps protect body + clothing|
Epoxy Resin Safety HAND PROTECTION
|Nitrile or vinyl gloves help protect hands||A barrier cream helps protect hands (can be used under gloves for further protection)|
Epoxy Resin Safety FUME CONTROL
|An epoxy tent protects by controlling and containing fumes *If using, remember you MUST properly vent fumes out||Fan and proper ventilation for room size to vent fumes out of a room or epoxy tent|
A full-face mask with a respirator will offer you the best face and lung protection out there when you are working with resin. It covers your eyes so you don't need to wear goggles with it, and the air is filtered. Also, it won't let the resin fumes directly hit your eyes.
What full face mask do you want to use for working with epoxy resin safely?
When looking for a full face mask to work with epoxy resin, you are looking for one that is safe, which means it is the proper mask for epoxy resin fume protection, as well as one that feels comfortable on your face. You will need to find a respirator mask that has an organic vapor respirator with organic filters. Also, the proper full face mask will have an N95 or N95 equivalent rating, which means that it will block at least 95% of small particles; small meaning around the size of 0.3 microns.
To put this into perspective, the cross-section of an average human hair is between 50-75 microns, and a human red blood cell is 5 microns. So 0.3 microns is microscopic protection for an epoxy resin respirator.
This respirator mask has filters that are rated N95 equivalent and they filter gasses and organic vapors. This safety mask also ticks off the boxes for comfort (as best a full face mask respirator can!) as it has a 'flex-fit' head harness, which means it stays in position once you adjust it to your head. It is silicone-based around the nasal area, so it is as comfortable as it can be. It also has 5 very easy to adjust straps which can be tightened with just one pull.
I personally recommend purchasing your Parcil PD-100 Respirator directly from the manufacturer, as it comes with a 1-year factory warranty. You can purchase directly from Parcil on their website right here.
If you are looking into buying yourself a full face mask, I would suggest buying some extra organic filters to have on hand as well.
Read more about wearing respirators when working with resin:
You may also want to read more about whether or not you should wear a respirator mask when working with resin. Check out our article, The Proper Respirator Mask For Working With Resin, where we talk about why you should consider wearing a respirator, what the risks are if you do not wear a respirator, how comfortable one is, and how much you should pay for one.
How to clean your respirator:
Once you have finished your project, it is a good idea to fill your sink with some warm, soapy water and use a disposable dishcloth to wipe your mask down with, whether you decide to wear a half face mask or a full face mask. You don't want to dunk the respirator mask in the soapy water and you don't want to get the filters wet, but a clean wipe down after use will ensure there is no residual residue left.
You can choose to protect your lungs from epoxy resin with a properly fitted respirator in the form of a half-face mask. Whichever respirator you choose to go with, whether it is a full face mask or a half-face mask with goggles, it must use organic gas filters to properly protect your lungs when working with resin.
My personal recommendation is to invest in a full respirator like the one mentioned above as number 1 of this safety article, as many resin artists often start with the half mask and goggles and find them uncomfortable and end up purchasing the full mask further down the road anyways. Of course, this is your own decision.
What do you need to know about a half-face mask respirator as protection from epoxy resin fumes?
A half-face mask protects your lungs by filtering fumes that come in through your nose or mouth, so you should look into getting goggles with it to add eye protection. When choosing the proper half-face respirator mask for epoxy resin safety, you will want one that fits well and one that has organic vapor filters. This last point is the most important one as you would hate to go and buy a mask and respirator and have it not filter out the substance you are planning on working with! You *need* organic filters on your respirator if using it for epoxy resin safety.
The N95 equivalent T-61 Half Face Respirator from Parcil Distribution is our top pick for half-face respirator masks for working with resin. We have personally used this mask and can say that it is comfortable and fits well and it has the organic vapor filters that you need when working with resin.
This half-face respirator comes with 100% money back guarantee and a 1-year factory warranty when purchased directly from Parcil.
Many resin artists like to set up their working area outside, where the abundance of fresh air keeps potentially dangerous fumes well-dispersed. However, this is not always an option depending on the season, the weather, the availability of outdoor space for safety and so many other reasons that may compel a resin artist to bring their craft indoors.
If you are planning on working indoors with epoxy resin, then you need to consider a safe place to do so with proper ventilation.
If you have a designated room with an open window, please make sure there is enough fresh air coming in and going out. You can read more about proper ventilation in point number 4.
If you don't have a proper space to work with epoxy resin, many artists use a portable, designated epoxy tent. These mostly are popping up in the form of hydroponic grow tents.
An epoxy resin tent is a portable, easy to set-up room typically made out of canvas or a similar, sturdy material. An epoxy tent will provide a resin artist with an enclosed space but should ALWAYS be bought in conjunction with proper air ventilation, which we will talk about more in the next point.
When considering buying a hydroponic grow tent to use exclusively for epoxy resin art safety, you will want to think first about where you are going to put it. This will determine the size you can buy. You will want to give yourself as much space as possible to move around somewhat comfortably. BUT make sure that you are venting the fumes to an outside window. We will talk about that more below.
Have a look at these hydroponic growing tents by Zazzy. These come in three different sizes for you to choose from: 48"x32"x78", 60"x60"x60" and 96"x48"x78". The poles are all steel, they are easy to set up and they have fantastic star ratings and some really great and informative customer reviews.
Let's explore the topic of ventilation when working with resin. There will always be fumes when you are working with epoxy resin, even if it says it is non-toxic.
So how much ventilation do you need when working with epoxy resin? First and foremost, you will need to exhaust the air out of the room you are working in. This will include a proper fan which we will explore more below, and it will need to blow the air outdoors. You will want to make sure you have fresh air coming in as well, and the amount of air movement depends on the size of the room you are working in.
This was a mistake I was making when I first started using resin. I would open a window and feel that it was enough since I really couldn't smell the fumes of the non-toxic epoxy resin I was using.
I now know that even though you don't smell fumes and the product you are working with says it is non-toxic, you still need proper ventilation with fresh air coming in and the fumes blowing out through a fan, and you want that fan going through the entire process from resin opening to pouring to curing.
Here is a 4" Inline Duct Fan by Vivosun that would work well with the above-listed grow tent in the largest size. It also has carbon filters and even a speed control, so this would be a good set up.
You will have to get some 4" ducting to vent the air from the fan to your window. You will also want to make sure the ducting fits perfectly into your vent hole in the window so none of that air will exhaust into your room. Send it all outside. You can find some options for 4" ducting here on Amazon, or you can likely find it at your local hardware store as well.
If you are using a room in a house or your garage to do your epoxy work, you will want to consider the size of the room in cubic feet (CF). Once that is determined, you will use that to decide on a fan that can adequately move enough air in and out of the room. A fan is sized in CFM which is cubic feet per minute. It refers to the measure of air volume moved in/out by the fan.
Let's explore the exact fan and grow tent I mentioned in the above points.
The Vivosun fan has a rating of 203 CFM. To figure out what your room (grow tent, garage, room in house) or space needs in CFM you will need to determine your room dimension in cubic feet (CF) (by measuring length x width x height in feet) and put that into an air exchange CFM calculator (Google that to find one online).
Here is an example: I mentioned grow tents being used as epoxy tents in point number 1. The tent mentioned above, in the largest size of 96"x48"x98" which, measured in feet is 8'x4'x6.5'. Multiplying these numbers together = 208CF.
Now, the general rule of thumb with non-toxic resin is that the air should be exchanged at least 8 times per hour (of course, this depends on the product you are using). Please refer to the MSDS, SDS or PSDS for the resin you are working with, or call the company and ask 'what is the recommendation for how many times per hour the air needs to be exchanged when using your product?'.
Here is how you can figure out how many times the air will be exchanged with your grow tent or room in your house and your fan choice (hang on to your hats, we're getting a bit mathematical here!)
So the fan mentioned above (203 CFM) would work in the grow tent mentioned above in the largest size (208CF). I will show you how I input these numbers into the formula above to figure out how many air changes per hour occur with the fan and tent I chose:
Air changes per hour = 203 CFM x 60 min / 208CF Volume of large grow tent
Air changes per hour = 12,180 / 208CF
Air changes per hour = 58.6
So that is a lot when we need an air exchange rate of at least 8 full exchanges of air per hour, so you can be sure your space is well-ventilated. If you are putting the air fan in a window of a room, you will input the same calculations depending on the cubic feet of your room.
Epoxy resin full cure time refers to how long your mixed epoxy resin takes to completely harden. Some artists refer to a soft cure time and some refer to a hard cure time. A rule of thumb for non-toxic resins is that it soft cures, or hardens enough to touch after about 8 hours. A hard cure, or when it is hardened takes about 24 hours. The resin will be fully cured after around 72 hours. You can check the specific cure time with the brand of epoxy resin you are using to be sure.
While the resin is curing, it is off-gassing. Off-gassing is a term that refers to what happens when the gaseous byproduct produced by the reaction of a chemical process slowly disperses into the air. During the time which your epoxy resin art is off-gassing, you still want to keep your ventilation going which may be until is it fully cured, typically after 72 hours.
In general, as soon as your epoxy resin is mixed, it is off-gassing and will continue to off-gas until it is fully cured, which in general takes 72 hours but you can check with whichever brand of epoxy resin you are working with. Now, it will off-gas the most upon first mixing the resin and hardener and will lessen as it cures, but you can still expect off-gassing to occur until that full cure time is reached.
Once you have established a safe working environment for your resin, you will want to protect your skin by wearing the proper gloves. The area of highest exposure on your skin when working with resin would firstly be your fingers and hands, then your forearms.
If you notice above, I mention that the gloves that I used to wear for resin felt bulky. I prefer a tight-fitting latex glove, but I have learned that latex gloves do not protect hands when working with chemicals such as epoxy resin.
Latex is an excellent choice in the medical field as it protects hands against viruses and bacteria; however, when it comes to working with chemicals, latex just doesn't cut it.
When working with epoxy resins, many of the MSDS say to wear "impervious gloves". So let's talk about gloves that will protect hands from the chemicals in epoxy resin and that are still comfortable to work with. That brings me to two types of gloves: nitrile, and vinyl.
Latex gloves are flexible, comfortable, and are great for working in places of exposure to bacteria or viruses, but are NOT made for protecting from chemical interactions. Nitrile and vinyl gloves are the best options to protect your hands from chemicals in epoxy resin when creating resin art. If you are trying to decide which gloves will protect your hands best when using epoxy resin, you may want to try a box each of nitrile gloves and vinyl gloves to see which you prefer. Both nitrile and vinyl will protect your hands, it is a matter of preference for comfort when working with resin.
You can find nitrile gloves on Amazon here (pictured below), and you can find vinyl gloves on Amazon right here. Just keep in mind you will need to pick the size of your gloves to fit your hands properly. Some longtime resiners like to wear double gloves as well, but of course, this is all up to you.
Another thing that many resin artists out there use as a part of their personal protective equipment, is barrier cream. Barrier cream can be applied to the skin and hands before putting on protective gloves and forearm protection.
A barrier cream provides an extra layer of protection to skin when working with resin. Many resin artists use a barrier cream and say that it makes a big difference. This may be something to try with your gloves if you are looking for ways to further protect your skin when working with epoxy resin.
If you are looking for the best barrier cream when working with epoxy resin, Derma Shield has been a topic of conversation in many groups and websites and has been praised by many epoxy resin artists.
You can find Derma Shield on Amazon here.
If you wish to have further protection from resin exposure to forearms, we would like to suggest you check out the Kevlar Arm Sleeves on Amazon to protect arms from epoxy resin.
Now, keep in mind that these are not made from a chemical resistant material, these sleeves are made for people working with sharp objects so as not to cut their arms.
You could also use the Derma Shield barrier cream we mentioned above under these sleeves for added protection.
With arm sleeves overtop of barrier cream, your forearms will be better protected. Of course, these are all just options for you to explore out there and it is up to you which PPE you would like to wear when working with epoxy resin.
Something a few long-time resiners opt to use is a bodysuit to cover themselves quickly and easily. One that has been all over the epoxy resin artist blogs is this Tyvek suit by DuPont. These can be sold individually or in large packs.
These suits cover from the ankles to the wrists as well as neck and head area, excluding face. They have had positive feedback since they are so easy to put on over whatever the artists are wearing and then take off when done.
These suits are great for protecting clothing from resin drips because there is no getting epoxy resin out of clothing! If opting for the ease of full coverage with a bodysuit, keep in mind that you will still need hand protection and eye protection as well as proper ventilation (we will explore all of those below).
There is no question that you need to wear protective eye gear when working with epoxy resin. If you are not wearing a full face mask, then I highly suggest wearing eye gear that has a strap around the head so you don't have to adjust your glasses with epoxy resin-covered gloves.
These goggles are for keeping resin out of your eyes. I would also suggest finding a pair that won't fog up on you! You don't want to risk taking off your glasses when you are about to add the most gorgeous color!
You can try the Pyramex I-Force Sporty Dual-Pane Anti-Fog Goggles from Amazon. They have the adjustable head strap (with a quick-release button) and have anti-fogging on the inside and the outside. They are also scratch-resistant AND are a fantastic price.
These goggles will protect you from getting resin in your eyes. If you are looking for goggles to also protect your eyes from any fumes, most goggles have air vents in them (mostly to keep them from fogging!) and it can be hard to find goggles that completely seal the eyes from fumes unless you are trying on swim goggles.
If you wish to have further protection for your eyes; and I mean protection from both getting resin in your eyes and protection from fumes getting to your eyes, you may opt to try a full face mask, which I will talk about below.
When working with epoxy resin, or any craft that involves chemical compounds, you should have specific tools set aside just for working on that craft, and epoxy resin is definitely one of those crafts.
When we are working with epoxy resin, we use silicone cups for mixing, as well as popsicle sticks for stirring. If you are trying to create less waste you could also try using silicone mixing cups and let your epoxy resin mix cure in the cup after, peel it out, and reuse the cup.
Check out this 8 Piece Silicone Measuring Cups for epoxy resin from Amazon. Remember, these are smaller so they are perfect for mixing your accent colors in and pouring from.
Here is a tip though: If you plan on using these and disposing of your used epoxy resin after it cures, leave your disposable mixing stick in the curing solution so you have something to pull the cured resin out easily! Voila!
If you do plan on doing this, you could take a black permanent marker like a Sharpie and write right on the silicone mold FOR RESIN ONLY. Let's keep our resin tools for resin art and not for dinner prep.
This goes for any other reusable tools you will be designating for epoxy resin only.
When you are planning on working with epoxy resin, wherever you choose to do the work, make sure that it is a resin-only sort of workspace.
With this in mind, you will have everything that is designated for epoxy resin-only work on hand, and you won't risk having any cross-contamination by passing along residue onto your other art and craft supplies that you normally work with without gloves on.
Also, make sure you do not bring anything that would come into contact with your mouth into the resin room or area. If you need to take a break to eat or drink, keep those out of your epoxy resin working space for safety.
This is a good practice to get into and is just a good safety check!
If you do happen to get epoxy resin on your skin (we have been there before!) You ABSOLUTELY do not want to use any chemicals or even vinegar to get that resin off.
Many epoxy resin companies say to use soap and water. Check with whatever epoxy resin brand you are working with to know what to do if it comes into contact with your skin before starting to work.
What we have found, is that using a little baking soda with dish soap works really well. We listed that as one of our resin hacks in another article we wrote, called 10 Hacks For Working With Resin | Must Know Tips & Tricks. Be sure to check it out!
Plan out exactly what you are going to create with your epoxy resin. If you are doing geode resin art, lay out your colorants for tinting the resin, your cups for pouring, your stir sticks, your gemstones, glitter, and other resin-making supplies.
Think of everything you are going to do, step by step, and lay it out. This way, you won't be rummaging through a drawer or somewhere looking for that one color or glitter you want after you have started!
This means there will be less chance of epoxy resin carry-over onto drawer handles, doorknobs, etc. Plus, it is good practice to plan out what you are going to do before jumping in. Be well-prepared! (This was our latest set-up before starting some geode resin art at DIY Craft Club. I will link some of the products we used below)
Find ArtResin on Amazon here
Find Golden Fluid Acrylics on Amazon here
Find Sharpie Paint Pens on Amazon here
Here are some other epoxy resin safety checks you may not have thought about:
Tie your hair back so you don't get it in your face OR in your resin art! There is nothing worse than finding a hair in your art after it cures. Trust ME!!!! lol. I love the first piece I ever created BUT all I can see when I look at it is that one long strand of dark hair peeking through waves of gorgeous gold mica-mixed resin...
These plastic coil hair ties are my favorite for keeping hair off of my face when I am creating epoxy resin art because they hold every hair in place and I don't ever feel the need to tighten that pony or messy bun!
Here is one trick that you are going to love and this makes the whole epoxy resin art-making experience not only safe by keeping resin off of things but it will also add to the enjoyment of creating your art.
I have an Amazon Echo, and I have it in my craft room. Why? Because I just have to say out loud "Hey Alexa, play some music". You can also answer phone calls, set a timer, and perform so many more functions hands-free, which is great if you have resin all over your gloves!
Another thing I like to do when I am working by myself creating epoxy resin art is to listen to an audiobook. If you would like to try the Amazon Echo Dot, you can check the price on Amazon right here. You can also get the full-size Echo plus here.
I am also going to place a link below for you if you would like to try the Echo above (or this is good if you already have an Echo), you can get 3 months of free Amazon music (and set your calendar to cancel after the 3 months if you don't love it!)
I will also leave you a little link below here if Audiobooks are more your thing. Grab two free audiobooks on us :) You could even try both free trials if you want!
This brings us to our final point for resin safety, and you can consider this more of a tip since it makes your life so much easier when working with resin:
We love to fit Torani pumps on our Art Resin 32 ounce bottles. We were so thrilled when we discovered this one! Before we did, our epoxy resin bottles were covered from us pouring resin into containers to mix.
This allowed our bottles to stay relatively clean, but it also allowed us to measure so much easier: 1 pump to 1 pump! How perfect is that!? Of course, I am not sure which containers fit which pumps so that would have to be a journey of trial and error, but I can tell you the Torani pumps do fit these bottles.
And if you loved that tip, you might want to check out our article 10 Hacks For Working With Resin | MUST KNOW Tips & Tricks
You may also be interested in checking out our YouTube channel! Here is a video we did for a tutorial of geode resin art! (Notice our pink nitrile gloves for safety!)
So now that you know about the safety equipment you may want to consider when working with epoxy resin, let's end this conversation by talking about some of the associated the risks.
Each company that sells epoxy resin will have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), a Product Safety Data Sheet (PSDS) or a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) listed for each product you wish to use on their website. If that company does not have an MSDS, PSDS or SDS, you may want to consider finding the same product from another company and have a read over before buying or using.
An MSDS, PSDS and SDS sheet will provide you with instructions for safe product, material or chemical handling and use, as well as list the potential hazards associated with the material or product.
The MSDS, PSDS or SDS sheets also provide you with spill procedures as well as instructions in case of skin exposure, accidental inhalation or ingestion and what to do if the product gets in your eyes. These are important to know BEFORE working with a product or material.
Well, we hope you are leaving this article well-informed about working with epoxy resin! There is nothing better than arming yourself with knowledge when thinking of trying a new medium. Now you can make well-informed safety decisions going forward with epoxy resin and I hope you know how to protect yourself with your safety checks in place. Let's try to remember to keep a safe working space, healthy bodies, and clean breathing environments! And whatever you decide to do, go forward informed and be creative!
Other Helpful Resin Articles To Check Out
|Best GLITTER To Add To Geode Resin Art|
|Resin Art Supplies You Can Get Right On AMAZON|
|Gemstone Ideas For Geode Resin Art|
|Working With Resin: TIPS, Tricks & Hacks|
|Geode Resin Art TUTORIAL|
|How To Get Resin Out Of Your Mixing Cups|
|Best Geode Resin Art Tutorials|
|Meet Mrs. Colorberry: Geode Artist + Latest Resin Trends|
|Resin Colorant Guide: What To COLOR Resin With|
|How To Embed Dried Flowers Into Resin|
|Best PAINT PENS For Geode Resin Art|
|Best GOLDS For Resin Art|
|How To Get BUBBLES Out Of Resin|
|Make A DIY Faux Marble Backdrop With Resin|
|Best Epoxy Resin To Use For Tumblers|
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Have a safe, productive day!
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