How to Create Cells/Lacing in Your Resin Artwork
Love the look of crashing wave effects in resin but just can't quite seem to nail the technique? The ever-elusive crashing wave effect is what resin artists call 'cells' or 'lacing’, and it may seem difficult to achieve at first but once you know the secret, you'll be doing it in your sleep!
There are a few factors that come in to play when you're wanting to create cells - quality of your products, ambient temperature/humidity, and technique.
Products: First of all, you want to make sure you're using the right products to achieve cells; high quality epoxy pigments is a MUST. The reason cells happen in the first place is due to the different pigment densities interacting with each other. White pigment is a heavy density pigment, meaning that when you layer it over another colour like blue, black, or even clear resin, it will spread and sink through the other colours, thus creating cells. It will be near impossible to achieve this effect if you are using acrylic paint, ink, or mica powder, so it's best to stick to epoxy pigment pastes for your white pigment if you want to achieve lacing.
The second product you need to get right is the resin! We recommend using a 1:1 ratio craft resin to achieve lacing. This is because a 1:1 resin is a bit thicker in consistency and will cure and set much quicker than a 2:1 or 3:1 casting resin. Using a faster setting resin means your colours will have a lot less time to bleed together, meaning crisper, more defined lacing.
Beware of silicone oil! whilst this is used to create cells in acrylic pouring, silicone is resin's arch nemesis - resin will run away from anything with silicone (this is why it comes out of silicone moulds so easy!). Whilst silicone oil can be used in the smaaallllest teeny, tiniest amounts with resin to create extreme cells, it won't give you a crashing wave effect and it will create textural issues so be prepared to do a clear flood coat on top.
Temperature: If you've been doing resin for a while, you will know that room temperature can have quite an impact on your resin - if your room is too hot or humid this can make the resin less stable, meaning your cure time can be unpredictable and your pigments may not interact the way you're used to. Whilst creating cells is still possible in warmer conditions, it can just be a bit of a challenge as the heat can make your resin runnier and more difficult to manage.
Technique: The second most important step after getting your products right is getting your technique right! The main thing to remember is that you want to create a thin layer of white over the top of another colour/clear resin. There are a few ways to achieve this and it's all about finding the technique that feels right for you. One way is to use a large tongue-depressor stick - once you've poured your white pigment on, using the long edge of the stick, gently swipe this over the top of the white pigment and drag a thin layer over your other colours. You should start to see your cells popping out in a minute or two. You can even add some heat to accelerate the reaction. The second and quickest way is to use a hairdryer - on a medium speed setting, blow your white resin back over the colours. Make sure you angle the hairdryer low to the surface and be sure not to blow all the resin off the board! The third way is to just use your mouth or a straw to blow the resin - this gives you a little more control and precision than the hairdryer method.
If you want to see a video using these techniques, check out our Youtube channel where we post handy tutorials.
So now that you know how to achieve the crashing resin ocean of your dreams - what are you waiting for?! Time to get creating!
Grab a Drippy DIY Resin Art Kit to achieve the look.