Epoxy resin has become an extremely popular medium for creating pieces of art such as DIY resin jewelry, resin paintings, bookmarks, geode resin art, resin coasters, resin tumblers, resin cups, cutting boards, jewelry boxes, river tables and resin countertops.
When making any kind of resin art, epoxy resin artists need to know what to use in terms of resin safety, and often ask many questions such as:
There are also many resin artists who experience what they think is an allergic reaction to resin when actually, they are experiencing resin sensitization from resin exposure without proper resin safety gear on.
Be sure to watch (and like and subscribe) to our YouTube below where we talk about resin safety and then show the difference between mica, alcohol ink and acrylic paint as resin colorants:
We are going to share all of the protection options you can use when working with resin, and the best safety options that are highly recommended to use every time.
Resin safety involves knowing all of the safety precautions one should take when creating resin art, as well as the potential risks to the body if working with resin when not using proper resin safety equipment.
Resin safety includes wearing a respirator for epoxy resin, proper gloves, having the right ventilation with fresh air exchanges and more.
When using resin, there are areas of the body that should be safely protected from the possible effects of resin, and these include:
Let's get into some more details about resin safety.
Of course, these are safety recommendations and it is your own 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 the resin labels, safety data sheets or material safety data sheets for the brand you will be working with.
The following is a list of resin safety precautions, equipment and personal protective equipment to wear when using resin including respirators for epoxy resin, epoxy tents, proper fans, 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
|RESIN SAFETY OPTION #1||RESIN SAFETY OPTION #2|
Resin Safety: EYE PROTECTION
|Goggles with vents protect eyes from resin splash + won't fog||Goggles without vents protect eyes from splash + fumes|
Resin Safety: LUNG PROTECTION
|Half face respirator mask with organic filters protects lungs from resin fumes||Full face respirator mask with organic filters protects eyes + lungs from resin fumes|
Resin Safety: BODY PROTECTION
|Kevlar sleeves help protect arms from resin||Tyvek suit helps protect body + clothing from resin|
Resin Safety: HAND PROTECTION
|Nitrile or vinyl gloves help protect hands from resin interaction||A barrier cream helps protect hands from resin exposure (can be used under gloves for further protection)|
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|
This is the most important epoxy resin safety tip we are offering, and that is to always wear a respirator for epoxy resin. Some respirators will protect you from resin fumes and some will not, so we are going to share the best respirator mask for epoxy resin with you here.
First, a full-face mask with a respirator will offer you the best face and lung protection out there when you are working with any 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.
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 around 5 microns. So 0.3 microns is microscopic protection for an epoxy resin respirator.
Here is the best respirator mask for epoxy resin: this PD-100 Full Face Organic Vapor Respirator by Parcil Safety, who is based in the USA, checks off all of the boxes for resin safety.
This respirator mask for resin work offers:
Here is a Pinterest video taken at the DIY Craft Club studio where we share our thoughts on this full face respirator. Notice how well it fits with the adjustable straps. Check it out, and click "save" to pin to your own resin board on Pinterest.
We recommend purchasing your Parcil PD-100 Respirator directly from the manufacturer, as it comes with a 1-year factory warranty when purchased this way.
If you are looking into buying yourself a full face respirator mask for resin work, we would suggest buying some extra organic filters to have on hand as well.
These respirator masks for epoxy resin are very popular and quite often sell out. Here are the other masks we recommend from Parcil Safety that will also be perfect for resin work:
Listed below are more respirators from Parcil Safety that will properly protect the user from resin fumes, as well as one specifically made for people who wear glasses:
How to clean your respirator mask for resin:
Clean your respirator mask once you have finished your project by gently taking your filters off and storing them in an airtight bag, filling your sink with some warm, soapy water and using a disposable dishcloth to wipe your mask down.
Do not dunk the respirator mask in soapy water and do not get the filters wet, but a clean wipe down after each 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 if you prefer that to a full-face respirator for resin fumes. A half-face respirator for resin will not protect your eyes; only your mouth, nose and lungs as that is the protective area it will cover.
Whichever respirator you choose to go with, whether it is a full face respirator for resin or a half-face mask with goggles, it must use organic vapor filters to properly protect your lungs when using resin.
Our recommendation is to invest in a full respirator like the one mentioned above as number 1 of this resin safety article, as many resin artists often start with the half mask and goggles and find them uncomfortable and end up purchasing the full face mask for resin further down the road anyways.
Of course, this is your own decision, but it is something to think about before making a purchasing decision.
What do you need to know about using a half-face respirator for epoxy resin?
This last point is the most important one for resin safety as you would hate to go and buy a respirator mask for resin 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 Safety is our top pick for a half-face respirator mask when working with resin. We have personally used this mask and can say that it is comfortable and fits well (adjustable straps) 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 Safety.
Many resin artists like to set up their working area outside, where the abundance of fresh air keeps potentially dangerous fumes well-dispersed.
However, creating a safe, outdoor space to work with resin 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 any kind of 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 resin safely, many artists use a portable, designated epoxy tent. These are mostly popping up in the form of hydroponic grow tents with fans attached exchanging fresh air with resin fumes.
An epoxy tent is a portable, easy to set-up room typically made out of canvas or a similar, sturdy material. Most people are purchasing grow tents and making them into epoxy tents, and these work very well. 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 as an epoxy tent, 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 in while working with resin. BUT make sure that you are venting the fumes to the outdoors for safety.
Have a look at this hydroponic growing tent on Amazon by Vivosun. This future epoxy tent comes in the size of 96" x 48" x 80". In feet, that would be 8ft x 4ft x 6ft8.
Describing this tent, Vivosun has this to say:
The top-quality 340g oxford is tear proof and double stitched for perfect light blocking; Lined with non-toxic PE material, [...] and the tent is supported by strong metal poles that are specially finished for smooth installation [...] [these] grow tents are easy to install even if you've never done something like this before: no tools needed!
If you check out the Vivosun store on Amazon through the link below, there are other sized epoxy tents available if you want something smaller, but this is the largest one they carry right now (check the link below to see if this has changed since the article was written):
After you purchase the grow tent you are going to use as an epoxy tent, you are going to need a fan to go with it for proper epoxy ventilation.
*YOU CAN NOT PURCHASE AN EPOXY TENT WITHOUT A FAN, OTHERWISE YOU WILL NOT GET THE SAFETY BENEFITS OF A CONTAINED UNIT WITH FRESH AIR.
Let's explore the topic of ventilation when using resin. There will always be fumes when you are working with any resin, even if it says it is non-toxic.
How much ventilation do you need when working with epoxy resin for it to be safe?
Even though you may not 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 from Amazon that would work well with the above-listed epoxy resin tent. 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.
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 don't want any of those resin fumes lingering.
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 mentioned in the above points.
The Vivosun fan from Amazon has a rating of 203 CFM.
To figure out what your room (grow tent, garage, room in house) or space needs in CFM for resin safety and air exchange, 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 (can Google that to find one online).
Here is an example: The tent from Amazon mentioned above, in the largest size of 96"x48"x80" which, measured in feet is 8'x4'x6.8'. Multiplying these numbers together = 217.6 CF.
Now, the general rule of thumb with resin is that the air should be exchanged at least 8 times per hour (of course, this depends on the product you are using so be sure to check with your specific resin brand by reading the MSDS, SDS or contacting the company to ask what the recommended air exchange rate for their resin).
*NOTE: If they say their resin does not require air to be exchanged because it is non-toxic or for some other reason, we would recommend switching resin brands. You will always need proper ventilation with any resin.
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 (217.6 CF). I will show you how to input these numbers into the formula above to figure out how many air changes per hour occur with the fan and tent I chose:
So that is a lot of air changes 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.
Resin full cure time refers to how long your mixed epoxy, UV or polyester resin takes to completely harden. Some artists refer to a soft cure time and some refer to a hard cure time.
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 when your resin is off-gassing, you still want to keep your ventilation going which may be until it is fully cured, typically after 72 hours.
Resin will off-gas the most upon first mixing the resin and hardener and the off-gassing will lessen as the resin 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 mixing and pouring resin would firstly be your fingers and hands, then your forearms.
If you notice above, the gloves I used to wear for resin felt bulky. My preference would be 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.
Latex is not the safe choice of material for protecting skin from resin.
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 us to two types of gloves to wear when using resin:
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 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 safety item that many resin artists out there use as a part of their personal protective equipment, is a barrier cream. Barrier cream can be applied to the skin and hands before putting on protective gloves and forearm protection.
Barrier cream is not typically used as a stand alone protection, but as an additional protection to those seeking a second barrier between their skin and their resin art.
A barrier cream provides an extra layer of protection to skin when you are in close contact 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 resin, Derma Shield has been a topic of conversation in many groups and websites and has been praised by many epoxy resin artists as a great added safety precaution to latex or vinyl glove use with resin.
If you wish to have further protection from resin exposure to forearms, we would like to suggest you check out the Kevlar arm sleeves to protect arms from resin.
Now, keep in mind that these sleeves are not made from a chemical-resistant material, these sleeves are made for people working with sharp objects so as to not cut their arms. What is nice about them though, is the added layer that stays tight against your skin and can be worn under long sleeves when working with resin, to further protect your skin.
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 any kind of resin.
One thing a few long-time resiners opt to use is a resin-designated bodysuit to cover themselves quickly and easily. One that has been all over the epoxy resin artist blogs is the Tyvek suit on Amazon by DuPont. These can be sold individually or in large packs.
Here is why so many resin artists are opting for these Tyvek suits:
These suits are great for protecting clothing from resin drips because there is no getting epoxy resin out of clothing!
There is no question that you need to wear protective eye gear when working with epoxy resin. If you are only wearing a half face respirator with epoxy resin, then consider wearing protective eye gear that has a strap around the head.
These are the goggles we recommend for keeping resin out of your eyes.
Here is why these Pyramex goggles are good for protecting your eyes from resin interaction:
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 want added resin fume protection for your eyes, we suggest heading back up to point number one and getting yourself a full face respirator for epoxy resin.
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 suggest you use reusable silicone cups for mixing, as well as silicone sticks and tools for stirring.
We prefer using silicone as the resin wipes clean from them, making them reusable. We also find that using wooden tools can often add unwanted bubbles.
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.
Here is a tip: If you plan on using these silicone cups and disposing of your used epoxy resin after it cures, leave a disposable mixing stick in the curing solution so you have something to pull the cured resin out easily.
If you do plan on doing this, you could take a black permanent marker and write right on the silicone mold FOR RESIN ONLY. Let's keep our resin tools for resin art and not for accidental 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 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 resin on your skin (we have been there before, yes, accidents do happen) You ABSOLUTELY do not want to use any chemicals or even vinegar to get that resin off.
Many resin companies say to use soap and water. Check with whatever 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 to get resin off of skin gently.
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 own set-up before starting some geode resin art at our DIY Craft Club studio.
I love the first piece I ever created BUT all I can see when looking at it, is that one long strand of dark hair peeking through waves of gorgeous gold mica-mixed resin.
Here is one trick that you are going to love and this makes the whole 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 it is 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 you can do while working 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.
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 using resin:
We love to fit Torani pumps on our Art Resin 32 ounce bottles from Amazon. 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.
Using these pumps on our resin bottles allowed our bottles to stay relatively clean, but it also allowed us to measure much easier: ArtResin has a 1:1 ratio for mixing.
Here is a video pin from our Pinterest account of us getting the Torani pumps ready for our resin bottles. Notice how we insert them slowly and pump the air out as we put them in so the resin doesn't overflow out the top.
Of course, which containers fit which pumps is going to be trial and error, but these Torani pumps do fit the 16oz Art Resin from Amazon, and that is a brand of resin we use quite often and like.
So now that you know about the safety equipment you may want to consider when you are mixing and using resin, let's end this conversation by talking about some of the associated risks.
Each company that sells 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.
What does a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), a Product Safety Data Sheet (PSDS) or a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) tell you, and why is it important to read before working with a product like resin?
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.
Now you can make well-informed safety decisions going forward with resin and now you know how to protect yourself properly 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
If you found this article useful or helpful, be sure to PIN any photo in the article or the designated Pin below now to come BACK to it later, and share away on your resin safety groups.
Thanks for reading :)
Have a safe, productive day!
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