- Jessie Hutter discovered TikTok resin art after leaving London during the first COVID-19 blockade.
- It urged her to return to her creative roots and became a lucrative side hustle.
- As Stephanie Conway said, this is Jesse’s story.
This essay is based on a conversation with Stephanie Conway and has been edited for length and clarity.
During the blockade of COVID-19, TikTok became a light of creativity and hope for the community for me.
I lived in London and worked as a producer for an advertising agency for 5 years, but my life was so fulfilling that I didn’t have the time or the brain to do creative things outside of work. So, in 2020, after accepting a remote job, I moved to the countryside of North Devon to improve my work-life balance. At that time, I noticed that I was scrolling through TikTok.
In October 2020, alongside Sea Shanty and Dance Challenge, I found a video of someone making resin art.
Resin art video has become a big trend on TikTok. They show people who combine liquid epoxies with color pigments to produce unique patterns and textures that form durable plastics when dried.
The finished work reminded me of the colors I saw on my sea trips around the world. I was in awe of the videos where people pour and mix colors — I started consuming so much resin art content that I could lie down in bed thinking about it at night. It was common.
In less than a month, I started ordering a resin kit for beginners. I never imagined it would be a lucrative side hustle.
Creating resin art was harder than I saw on TikTok
Growing up, my artist’s grandmother taught me to paint, and I always enjoyed being creative and making things with my hands. TikTok’s resin art video inspired me to rekindle my childhood creativity that I lost while working in London.
But it’s more complicated than it looks.
Resin is a heavy liquid and cannot be completely controlled when applied. Colors can easily mix and combine, so the final product may look different than planned. Unlike painting, you need to give up control of the resin.
The resin should also be applied to a durable flat surface to prevent sagging, bending and accidental movement. I learned this during my first attempt when I accidentally worked from a biased table. This caused the canvas board to be too angled and the design quickly slipped into a puddle on the floor.
It was those difficult moments that reminded me of the artist’s grandmother, and our precious moments were spent painting together. Resin art was the way I honored her. I stuck with the need to rekindle my creativity.
My new hobby has become more expensive than I imagined
On average, epoxy resin costs 50 cents per ounce. It doesn’t sound like much at first, but most resin art pieces require a lot of resin. I usually use one mixed gallon (composed of semi-resin and semi-hardener) to cover 12 square feet with a thickness of 1/8 inch.
Environmental concerns have pushed prices even higher. I am passionate about reducing disposable plastics, so I use the finest non-toxic resins. You also need safety equipment to protect yourself from poisons such as protective clothing, breathing masks, and nitrile gloves, as well as additional tools needed to mold and mold the resin, such as molds, color pigments, and decorations.
As I developed crafts and continued to spend more money, I quickly realized that I couldn’t afford to maintain my new hobby.
It has evolved into a big part of my life since I started selling my art
After first posting a photo of my work on Instagram in November 2020, a friend started asking me for resin art. I started making the first batch for sale to the public and developed the resin art Instagram and website.
Sold out soon after uploading the first batch. Then the same thing happened in the second and third batches. Within a year, I made over $ 2,600 in website sales. By November 2021, I had my first pop-up display at a local cafe in Devon while doing a full-time job.
In December 2021, my Resin Art Instagram account received a direct message from the gallery curator inviting me to exhibit my work at an abstract art exhibition. I instinctively wanted to decline the offer, thinking I wasn’t enough. However, with the encouragement of a friend, I resisted impostor syndrome and took advantage of that opportunity.
Now, thanks to the creative side hustle I found on TikTok, I can see my work at the Brick Lane Gallery in London and I have no plans to stop making resin art.
If anyone wants to buy my work, I want to make it. I pour color into art from memories of beautiful places and hope her grandmother is proud that I chose a more creative life.
For more stories like this, check out Insider’s Digital Culture Team article here.