Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Creating Water Effects With Resin

I'm in the process of designing a sculpture which will have either a water dragon or sea serpent as its subject. With the last serpent I created I used Apoxie Sculpt clay to model waves around the creature.

Another method of creating realistic looking water effects is to use clear resin. I first used resin on a project in the early 1990's. That sculpture depicted two men hauling a net full of mackerel into their dory. Unbeknownst to them a Mako shark had been zeroing in on that school of mackerel and breached right next to their boat.

The creation of that sculpture was detailed in an article I wrote about sculpting and mold making titled Mako Antics for issue 32 of Breakthrough Magazine Spring 1993 . The resin I used for that project is Polytranspar Artificial water distributed by Wildlife Artist Supply Company.

Unfortunately I don't have digital pictures to share of Mako Antics but here is a photo of a recent sculpture I did where I used similar techniques to create the resin water.

If you are familiar with the film The Old Man And The Sea you may remember this scene where Santiago is bringing in his catch lashed to his skiff.

This piece required sculpting clay waves around the skiff and Marlin. Making a rubber mold of the water. And casting tinted resin in the mold to get my resin waves.

Another product I find useful for creating water effects is Envirotex. If you've ever been in a pub and seen a coin embedded on the table top under a clear coat of material likely it was EnviroTex!

I prefer using it over resin to create still water. It doesn't give off the awful fumes that resin does. Another advantage over resin is the surface dries completely tack free.

In this sculpture of a Gorgosaurus coming upon a dead dinosaur in a burned out section of the forest I used EnviroTex to make the water in the shallow creek.

In the close up photo you can see the stones and moss that line the creek bed. After gluing everything in place I drizzled a thin layer of EnviroTex over it. When it cured I poured subsequent layers till I achieved the depth I wanted.

If you've ever wanted to add water effects to your work using resin I'd encourage you to go for it. Just be sure to follow proper safety precautions in using it. And expect to go through some trial and error experimentation before using it on anything important!

One tip I would pass along is to keep a work journal and detail everything. And I mean everything! Right down to the temperature and humidity on the day you make your resin pours. You'd be surprised how it can effect how the resin behaves.

And I can't stress enough to test the compatibility of everything that is going to come in contact with the resin. It can be nasty stuff and attack certain materials

I'd also advise you to keep a dated record of the age of your resin. It definitely has a short shelf life. For that reason I always make a point of mixing up a small test batch before adding it to my project. Trust me you don't want the hassle of trying to remove uncured resin from your project!


  1. Quel travail de minutie, de patience, de recherche et d'expérience que celui que vous réalisez pour mener à bien vos merveilleuses créations.
    Cela me paraît passionnant et j'aimerais bien être votre élève...

  2. Wow they are amazing and great tips.

    I use envirotex for water in my mini vases, ponds etc.

  3. The water effects are just amazing, it looks so real with the ripples. I've not seen that brand in the UK, but I would think we have something similar!

    I’ve heard resin can be tricky to work with, and it has rather lulled me into procrastination! I must have a go as I need to start using it for various effects and projects.

    Michelle :o)

  4. The first water one with the boat looks so real and amazing. I love stuff like that.

  5. WOW...your pieces are wonderful!!
    I've used that particular resin for so many projects over the past 10 to 15 years. A bit messy and sometimes a little tricky...but the results are fabulous!

  6. Wow, so glad you came to my blog and left a comment...your work is wonderful and I see why ETSY gave you some recognition. I'll be back to see more of your creations. Your water effects are top notch!!

  7. Thank you all! I appreciate your kind remarks.

  8. Oh wow, i love your blog! I've not had a chance until today to visit everyone and love your sculpture which are all amazing!
    Thank you also for sharing this really useful info and product details.
    Nikki xxx

  9. I forgot to say, i've not seen the film the Old Man and the Sea, but have read the book and this is exactly how i imagined. Beautiful book too!