The Ultimate Guide to Surfaces Resin Won't Stick To

The Ultimate Guide to Surfaces Resin Won't Stick To

Feb 21, 2024

Epoxy resin is a versatile and adhesive material widely used in various projects for its strength, heat resistance, and chemical resistance. Whether creating stunning artwork, repairing household items, or crafting complex jewellery, epoxy resin has become popular for many DIY artists and professionals.

However, one common struggle with resins is finding the right surface for it to stick to. Nothing is more frustrating than spending hours on a project only to have the resin not stick to the surface you chose.

In addition, joining an online resin art course can provide valuable insights into working with epoxy resin on different platforms. In this blog, we will understand the limitations of epoxy resin adhesion on various platforms, which can help you prevent potential issues in your resin projects.

Surfaces Resin Won't Stick To

When discussing “surfaces resin won't stick to,” we refer to materials or substances with low surface energy or containing certain chemicals that prevent epoxy resin from sticking effectively. Epoxy resin requires good surface energy and compatibility to form a strong bond. Here is a comprehensive list of surfaces that epoxy resin typically won't stick to:

  • Polyethylene Plastics: Polyethylene is a common type of plastic used in various applications, including containers and packaging materials. Due to its low surface energy, epoxy resin struggles to form a strong bond with polyethylene surfaces.
  • Plastic Containers (Cups, Tupperware, Bowls): Most plastic containers are made from polypropylene or polystyrene, which have similar low surface energy properties as polyethylene. Epoxy resin may not adhere well to these surfaces.
  • Parchment or Wax Paper: Parchment or wax paper is often used as a release agent or barrier to prevent sticking. While it serves its purpose in cooking and baking, it also hinders epoxy resin adhesion.
  • Hot Glue (Used with Other Materials): Hot glue is commonly used in DIY crafts and DIY projects for its adhesive properties. However, the two materials may not bond effectively when combined with epoxy resin.
  • Silicone Moulds (for Small Items): Silicone moulds are popular for casting small items due to their flexibility and ease of use. However, their non-stick properties can make it challenging for epoxy resin to adhere properly.
  • Sheathing or Painter's Tape (Leaves Seams): Sheathing or painter's tape creates clean lines or protects surfaces during painting projects. However, the seams left by these tapes can affect epoxy resin adhesion.

Tips for Successful Epoxy Resin Application on Different Surfaces

When working with epoxy resin, it's essential to understand the value of proper surface preparation and the specific techniques required for successful adhesion on different surfaces. Here are some tips and techniques to ensure your epoxy resin application is smooth and long-lasting:

Surface Preparation

Before applying epoxy resin, it's crucial to prepare the surface properly. This involves cleaning the surface entirely to remove any dirt, dust, or grease that could interfere with adhesion. Use a soft detergent or alcohol-based cleaner to ensure a clean surface.

Sanding Cured Epoxy

If you are applying epoxy resin on top of cured epoxy, it's essential to sand the surface before adding new layers. Sanding helps create a rough texture, allowing the new layers to adhere effectively. Use fine-grit sandpaper (around 220-400 grit) and sand in a circular motion until the surface gets slightly rough.

Outdoor Epoxy Formulas

For artworks that will be exposed to sunlight or outdoor elements, consider using outdoor epoxy formulas with enhanced UV protection. These formulas are designed to withstand prolonged exposure to sunlight without yellowing or degrading. They provide durability and longevity for exterior projects such as outdoor furniture, decks, or sculptures.

Temperature Control

Temperature plays a crucial role in the application and curing process of epoxy resin. It's essential to work within the recommended temperature range specified by the manufacturer. Typically, the ideal temperature for epoxy resin application is around 75°F (24°C). Higher temperatures can accelerate curing time, while lower temperatures can slow the curing process.

Avoid Moisture

Moisture can negatively affect the adhesion of epoxy resin on certain surfaces. Ensure that the surface you apply the resin to and the ambient environment is dry before starting your project. If necessary, use a fan or dehumidifier to reduce humidity in the area.

Proper Mixing and Measuring

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for mixing and measuring epoxy resin accurately. Improper ratios can result in incomplete curing or weak adhesion. Use graduated measuring cups or a digital scale for precise measurements. Thoroughly mix the resin and hardener until fully combined, ensuring no streaks or unmixed portions remain.

Apply Thin Layers

It's best to work with thin layers rather than thick ones when applying epoxy resin. Thin layers allow for better air release, reducing the chances of bubbles forming in the cured resin. Apply multiple thin layers if necessary, allowing each layer to dry before adding the next.

By following these tips and techniques, you can ensure successful adhesion of epoxy resin on various surfaces and achieve professional-quality results in your resin projects.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Epoxy Resin Adhesion

When working with epoxy resin, it's not uncommon to encounter issues with adhesion. However, you can overcome these issues and achieve a successful resin project with the proper techniques and solutions. Here are some common problems that arise with epoxy resin adhesion and their respective fixes:

Sticky or Tacky Resin Surface

If your cured epoxy resin feels sticky or tacky to the touch, it could be due to improper mixing or insufficient curing time. To resolve this issue:

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper resin-to-hardener ratio and mix thoroughly.
  • Ensure that the curing conditions (temperature and humidity) are optimal for your specific epoxy resin.
  • If the surface remains sticky after adequate curing time, apply a thin layer of clear coat epoxy resin or a resin sealant to provide a glossy and non-sticky finish.

Bubbles in Cured Epoxy

Bubbles can mar the surface of your epoxy resin project, but they can be easily fixed:

  • Before pouring the resin, use a heat gun or blow torch to heat the surface of the mixed resin gently. This will help remove any trapped air bubbles.
  • Alternatively, a toothpick or needle can pop any visible bubbles during curing.
  • Consider using a pressure pot or vacuum chamber to eliminate bubbles before the epoxy cures for larger projects.

Uneven or Rough Surface Finish

Sometimes, epoxy resin may cure unevenly or result in a rough texture. Here's what you can do:

  • Sand the cured epoxy surface using progressively finer grit sandpaper until you achieve a smooth finish.
  • Apply more layers of epoxy resin over the sanded surface to create a glossy and even appearance.

Epoxy Not Curing Properly

Improper curing can occur due to various factors, such as incorrect resin-to-hardener ratio or unfavourable curing conditions. To ensure proper curing:

  • Double-check the resin-to-hardener ratio and mix thoroughly according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Maintain the suggested temperature and humidity levels during the curing process.
  • Consider using a heat gun or gentle heat to accelerate the curing process.


Epoxy resin is a versatile and strong element used for various projects. It offers a wide scope of possibilities for artistic and practical applications. Its adhesive properties make it an ideal choice for multiple projects.

It is important to note that resin may have difficulty sticking to certain surfaces due to its chemical composition or texture. By understanding which surfaces it won't stick to and how to properly prepare them, you can ensure a successful and enjoyable resin crafting experience.

If you want to get deeper into resin arts and crafts, Contact Us on Arts Shala today for online courses and workshops that provide comprehensive guidance on working with epoxy resin and exploring its full potential.
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