The present study reports two-step synthesis of a new resin, i.e. trifluoroacetylacetone (TFAA)-XAD (X) resin via Schiff's base reaction. Synthesized resin was used to treat cadmium-contaminated water. Before application to the real water system, a method for the removal of Cd(II) ions was optimized using design of experiment. A face-centred composite design (CCD) predicted 97.0% removal at pH 10; other optimum parameters were concentration of Cd(II) ion 10 mg l(-1), sorbent amount 82.0 mg, shaking speed 200 rpm and shaking time 63 min. Predicted removal was found to be in good agreement with experimental removal. Equilibrium data were good fit to Langmuir, Freundlich and D-R isotherms with a correlation coefficient (R-2) of 0.98, 0.97 and 0.98, respectively. Monolayer sorption capacity of X-TFAA resin for Cd(II) ions calculated was 403 mg g(-1). The sorption energy (E) calculated was 9.2 kJ mol(-1), revealed chemisorption of Cd(II) ions onto the X-TFAA resin. The developed method was applied successfully for the removal of Cd(II) ions in environmental water samples.