What is Acrylic Resin?

Simone Lawson

Acrylic resin refers to a group of thermoplastic materials derived from compounds such as acrylic acid or methacrylic acid. The acrylic derivatives are added to heated plastic to create a material that can be used for many purposes. The material that is created from the thermoplastic acrylic mixture has high heat and impact resistance, as well as good clarity and UV resistance. Not only are the various range of products containing these resins diverse, they are outstanding in terms of durability.

Acrylic resin is a durable material commonly used to produce aquarium glass.
Acrylic resin is a durable material commonly used to produce aquarium glass.

Polymethyl methacrylate, one of the more rigid variations of acrylic resin, was first marketed in Germany in 1927. A similar form known as Plexiglas® began to be manufactured in the United States in 1936 and quickly grew in popularity. Initially, the substance was manufactured for industrial and automotive applications, but it quickly became used in many commonplace applications. Products that were typically made with extremely fragile glasses were quickly replaced by the cheaper, more durable acrylic.

Cell phone display screens are produced using acrylic resin.
Cell phone display screens are produced using acrylic resin.

The use of these resins has continued to grow in popularity across the globe, and it is considered an affordable yet durable material for manufacturing various products. Versions of it are used to produce aquarium windows, cell phone display screens, and bathtub liners, as well as vehicle head and tail lights. They are also used as optical wave guides for LCD screens on televisions and computer monitors. The resins are used to create acrylic paint, which is a top paint choice amongst many artists. Jackson Pollock and David Alfaro Siqueiros were among the first popular artists to incorporate acrylic paint into their work.

Tail lights are produced using acrylic resin.
Tail lights are produced using acrylic resin.

Acrylic casting resins are pourable compounds that are used to cast parts and make molds for creating placed structures. These casting resins are used to make rubber and composite material in addition to epoxy and polyester. Acrylic resin is a major component in making masks, tires, or any product that requires durability with flexibility. The casting resins are also used to produce filler material such as fiberglass and aramid fiber.

Acrylic paint is created from acrylic resin.
Acrylic paint is created from acrylic resin.

Materials processed with polymers are used to create harder forms of acrylic-based products. These include plates, rods, shelving, and other forms of durable plastic. This type of acrylic also acts as the hard, protective coating on many appliances and automotive parts.

Acrylic resin has been used to produce tires.
Acrylic resin has been used to produce tires.

In comparison with other resin systems, acrylic adhesives are environmentally-resistant and fast-setting adhesives that are often superior to non-acrylic adhesives. These adhesives can be found in both emulsion and solvent-based variations. They are strong enough to be used for building construction, and a specialized variation is commonly used for bonding implant prostheses to bone.

An acrylic box.
An acrylic box.

Acrylic resins have become a key component in global manufacturing. They are widely used in the health and medical field, electronic productions, and appliance and automotive manufacturing. Some types of resins may also be purchased as a separate material for individual artistic or household needs.

An acrylic tube.
An acrylic tube.

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Discussion Comments


Some very impressive works of Art using resin are by Gail Knight in Scotland Arbroath.


My dad used acrylic epoxy resin while building model airplanes in his shop. I liked to watch him, but I hated the fumes!

Often, the smell would be so strong that he would make me go outside. He didn't want me experiencing side effects.

The resin held together really well. He did break parts a few times in crashes, but he fixed them with more resin.


@feasting – I love painting with acrylic paint. I won't work with any other kind.

Acrylic paint spills can be cleaned with water, and if you notice a mistake on the canvas before it has dried, you can wipe it completely off with a wet cloth. The only thing I ever have to mix with my acrylic paint is gloss gel medium, and the only reason I do this is because it makes the paint last longer in the container. You don't have to use it, though.

To me, acrylic paint can create a very realistic painting. You don't have to wait months for it to fully dry, either. Mine dries within a few hours.


I've noticed that acrylic paint tubes are cheaper than oil paints. Is acrylic paint easy to work with? I've only worked with oils, and they are a little complicated, as far as the mixing, cleanup, and dry time go.


My friend and I used clear acrylic resin to capture a couple of trinkets and turn them into jewelry. We each had these little plastic flowers that we wanted to wear as necklaces, so we bought an acrylic resin kit.

We had to pour the resin and the hardener together into a cup. We stirred them with a toothpick, and then we poured them on top of the flowers in the molds. After they hardened, they made oval-shaped pendants.

It was really cool to see our flowers floating in the middle of a clear piece of resin. This is probably the most unique piece of jewelry that I own.


I heard once that Europe produced the most products from acrylic resin casting than any other country. Second was Asia then the U.S. That's great news that the acrylic resin suppliers are going green since the world seems so dependent on plastic for it's durability and price structure.


I was watching the news the other day and they were talking about how manufacturers of acrylic resin coating and acrylic based paints are enhancing their contents to develop greener more eco-friendly products. I have to say, I think that's great, especially after reading this, since it's obviously used so much. It's good to see some real changes for the better finally taking place in the manufacturing world!

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