Resin table tops make good displays for pictures, trinkets or newspaper clippings. To make a do-it-yourself resin table top, glue or place objects in a pattern onto a plywood or MDF table top, then pour a polyester resin to seal the objects and create a hard surface. MDF is Medium Density Fiberboard, which is made from compressed wood fibres. It has a smooth surface and is often used in furniture making. Resin table tops are often found in restaurants and bars due to their durability. Use your imagination to create interesting items and designs to embed in the table top.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Wood trim or polythene strips
- Table saw
- Wood glue
- Table top
- Pneumatic nail gun
- Glue gun
- Box large and deep enough to enclose the table top without touching the resin
- Black paint
- Foam paintbrush
- Découpage paste
- Paper clippings, pictures, buttons or other trinkets
- Polyester resin
- Hardening catalyst
- Small bucket
- Stir stick
- Mylar sheeting large enough to cover the table top
- Round over router but and router
- Buffing cloth
- Stain or paint
Cut wood trim or polythene strips to apply to the side of the table to make a barrier for the resin. Use polythene strips if you want the resin to be exposed on the side of the table after curing.
Apply wood glue down the length of the strips, and then attach them to the table top with a pneumatic nail gun.
Turn the table over and run a glue gun over all of the seams.
Paint the box with black paint and set it aside to dry.
Turn the table right side up and place a level on it to make sure it is flat.
Cover the entire wood surface with a coat of découpage paste using a foam paintbrush. Apply découpage paste to the back of any pictures or clippings and place them onto the table top. Cover the tops of the pictures or clippings with the découpage paste. Place any other items on the table top, and arrange them to suit your design. Allow the découpage paste to dry until it becomes clear. It should be dry to the touch.
Determine how much resin you need for your project. To calculate how much resin you need, measure the top and one side in inches, then multiply these two dimensions together. For example, if a table top measures 30 by 30 inches, then it covers 900 square inches (30 x 30 = 900). Next, multiply that total area by the thickness you want for the table. If the table top will be one-half inch thick, multiply 0.5 by 900 to equal a volume of 450 cubic inches. One gallon of resin equals 231 cubic inches. Divide your cubic-inch measurement by 231 cubic inches to calculate how much resin you need. You would need to purchase 2 gallons of resin for this project (450 / 231 = 1.95 gallons).
Mix your resin and hardening catalyst with a stir stick into a small bucket, according to manufacturer directions. Mix one half-gallon for the first pour. This project will require four layers of resin, each one mixed and poured separately.
Pour the first layer of resin over the tabletop, and allow the liquid to self-level. Use a stir stick to push it into the corners of it does not flow that way by itself. Cover the table top with the black box, and allow the resin to gel for one hour.
Mix the second batch of resin according to manufacturer directions. Typically, less catalyst is needed in this and subsequent batches because of the heat generated from the first pour. Pour the resin over the table top. Cover the table top with the box, and allow the resin to gel for one hour.
Mix the third batch of resin according to manufacturer directions. Pour the resin over the table top. Cover the resin with the black box and allow it to harden completely in a warm, well-ventilated space for two to three days. Do not test the resin with a fingertip to check if it has hardened; use a stir stick in an inconspicuous location such as a far corner.
Mix a fourth batch of resin according to manufacturer directions. Pour the resin over the tabletop, and spread it with a stir stick, as this forth pour will not self-level. Cover the wet resin with Mylar sheeting to give it a glass-smooth finish. Cover the resin with the black box, and allow it to harden in a warm, well-ventilated place for two to three days.
Remove the polythene strips if you want the sides of the resin to be exposed. Round the sides with a round-over router bit. Buff the sides to make the resin shine. If you used wood trim, paint or stain the trim to your desired finish.
Tips and warnings
- The black box will help keep heat in the area to hearden the resin.
- Perform all steps in a well-ventilated area.
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