alternative for epoxy resin that are cheap
Kristina Davis

Epoxy resin is quite popular, but because of its high cost, many people often look for a cheap alternative to epoxy resin.

The thing is that you can actually use many different things in place of epoxy resin. But, the important consideration is that not all of them are going to work the same.

So, is there a cheaper alternative to epoxy resin that works flawlessly? It seems there are quite a few actually.

Polyurethane is one fine epoxy resin alternative, but you can also consider liquid clay, varnish, polyacrylic, and many other unique options. 

Why Look for an Epoxy Resin Alternative?

epoxy resin alternatives

Many people look for an alternative because the epoxy resin is far more expensive than other resins. Moreover, the manufacturing procedure and the end product are intricate.

Also, the FDA has strict regulations that most epoxy resins must meet to ensure they are safe for use around food.

All of this contributes to the steep price tag, inspiring people to actively search for a low-cost alternative to epoxy resin. 

Different Uses of Epoxy Resin

Epoxy is commonly utilized because of the many different applications it can have. It can change from pliable to hard and back again, and it comes in both opaque and translucent varieties.

Used as an Adhesive

Epoxy resin is widely used as an adhesive because of its versatility and durability. In fact, it can be used as a structural and technical glue thanks to its high strength.

Additionally, it is frequently used in manufacturing cars, snowboards, airplanes, and bicycles. Yet, epoxy adhesives have many more uses than just in construction. 

Coating and as a Sealant

Epoxy’s anti-corrosion characteristics are another reason it is so popular.

Hence, it is used to protect many things, such as:

  • Acidic food containers
  • Paint containers
  • Metal storage boxes

Moreover, it is frequently utilized for flooring that is just aesthetic.

Epoxy resin is utilized in a number of flooring applications, including:

  • Terrazzo
  • Chip
  • Other aggregate floors

Epoxy flooring is becoming increasingly popular since it is a more eco-friendly alternative to conventional flooring, requiring less water and fewer pesticides.

Fact: It is possible to replace epoxy resin with various materials, including concrete and plaster. 

Finding One Effective Yet Cheap Alternative to Epoxy Resin

looking for cheap alternatives

Quite a few hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers use epoxy resin for their creative endeavors.

It is popular because it creates a glossy, long-lasting surface that is impervious to moisture, heat, and scratches.

But, at the same time, the epoxy resin may be rather costly, especially for massive projects.

Fortunately, there are a number of cheaper alternatives to the epoxy resin that can achieve essentially the same results. 


placing polyurethane

For a lower price than epoxy resin, transparent coatings made of polyurethane are frequently employed.

It creates a tough coating that stands up well to things like water and chemicals and can withstand being scratched or worn down by everyday use.

You can use a paintbrush, roller, or sprayer to spread either water- or oil-based polyurethane. 

Why Use Polyurethane?

It is worth mentioning that polyurethane has a few advantages over epoxy resin, one of which is its lower price.

Further, it dries more quickly, allowing numerous coats to be applied in less time.

Epoxy coatings are tough and resistant to impact, whereas polyurethane offers a more forgiving alternative. It is more suited for flexible substrates and has increased scratch resistance.

The flexibility of polyurethane also aids in sealing off concrete fissures that may otherwise let water through.

Nonetheless, despite its thinner build coatings, polyurethane offers many benefits, such as:

  • Gloss retention
  • UV resistance
  • Color stability
  • Impact resistance
Fact: Be careful when choosing polyurethane because sunlight can cause it to turn yellow over time since it is not as UV resistant as epoxy resin. 

Fiberglass Resin

a container of fiberglass resin

A resin substitute for fiberglass has recently been developed and has proven to be quite effective.

The polyuria resin used in the production of fiberglass resin replacement makes it both inexpensive and relatively non-toxic.

It dries quickly, usually in under a minute, and is completely cured in under an hour.

You can make parts, molds, or prototypes in a matter of minutes using fiberglass resin with a spray gun attached to a machine. 

Acrylic Sealer

putting acrylic sealer

When looking for a low-cost sealant, an acrylic sealer is another option to consider.

This sealant has a transparent, water-based formula and dries to a tough, glossy surface. Moreover, applying acrylic sealer with a brush, roller, or sprayer is simple and effective.

Not only this, it can also be used on a wide range of materials, including:

  • Wood
  • Concrete
  • Stone
  • And more!

The acrylic sealer has the advantage of not yellowing with age because it is unaffected by ultraviolet radiation. Furthermore, the product has a minimal scent, making it suitable for usage within a building.

The good thing is that, unlike epoxy, it can be installed quickly so that your productivity is not negatively impacted throughout the installation process 

Important Things to Consider

It is important to bear in mind that epoxy resin is extremely scratch- and chip-resistant, but acrylic sealer is not

Instead of being thick like epoxy, the acrylic sealer is more like a thin coat. Moreover, it will require more frequent refinishing because of its increased susceptibility to wear and tear. 

Liquid Clay

pouring liquid clay

Liquid clay is essentially a heat-curable polymer clay in liquid form.

When dried, most brands of liquid clay have a hazy appearance. Several varieties of liquid clay are transparent and glossy, making them a great substitute for resin.

A transparent and shiny surface can be achieved using fully cured liquid clay. However, curing the clay at a rather high temperature is required to get the desired result.

Nonetheless, the method is one that can be mastered, allowing for the production of breathtaking and remarkable works of art with enough effort. 

An Important Consideration

After spreading the liquid clay onto the clay surface, it is baked at a high temperature (about 300F) to harden.

Clearness can be improved with the use of a heat gun, but doing so needs a lot of practice and skill, especially when dealing with larger things.

Fact: Liquid coated pieces are likely to develop an oily surface but multiple coats may help resolve the issue. 


a container of polycrylic

Polyacrylic, a water-based finish, is an affordable alternative to epoxy resin mainly because it is:

  • Moisture-resistant
  • Transparent
  • Chemical resistant
  • Long-lasting
  • Scratch resistant

It can be applied to a wide variety of substrates, including wood, metal, and plastic, with just a brush or roller.

Polyacrylic is also advantageous because of its:

  • Low price
  • Wide availability
  • Fast drying time
  • Reduced tendency to yellow with time

Still, you have to bear in mind that it is not as durable as epoxy resin.   


brushing a varnish on a wood

Varnish can refer to the coating used on acrylic paintings or the varnish used on wood.

It penetrates deeply into the wood fibers to provide an extremely tough coating. Yet, it only leaves a very thin skin on the surface of your polymer clay.

Brush strokes and dust spots could make a flawless version of this finish challenging to create.

Always perform a test on a small area of clay to see if the varnish you plan to use will leave a sticky residue. 

An Important Thing to Consider

Varnish is like a second skin—it adapts to the clay’s surface texture and faults, making them more noticeable.

Therefore, you must ensure the surface is completely smooth before varnishing. 

Fact: Varnish is a good alternative but you would have to go with multiple coats to get results close to resin or liquid clay. 

Mod Podge

a container of mod podge

Decoupage adhesive Mod Podge is a popular and inexpensive substitute for epoxy resin. It is a water-based adhesive, so it is non-toxic and easy to work with, and it dries to a glossy sheen.

Sealing and protecting paper, fabric, or wood are just some of the many uses for this multipurpose product, which may be applied with a brush or sponge.

Mod Podge’s low price and ease of availability have made it a go-to medium for crafters of all skill levels. 

An Important Consideration

It is important to remember that Mod Podge cannot be as long-lasting as epoxy resin, especially if it is subjected to a lot of wear and tear or water.

Thus, while Mod Podge is great for a wide variety of craft projects, it might not be the best choice for everything. 


Finding a cheap alternative to epoxy resin can be a bit confusing, but you can make a choice based on your project.

Many interesting options are available, such as polyurethane, Mod Podge, polyacrylic, and even varnish. But, some of them are just not as durable as epoxy resin.

So, always keep those pros and cons in mind when picking something to use in place of epoxy resin.