Just in time for Halloween! I have an etsy store filled with incredible cutting boards (Cutting Boredom), and i always try to push the envelope. This project is for a glow in the dark Cutting Board! Photoluminescent powder is really fun stuff.. when mixed with Resin and used to fill gaps in wood, it makes for some really fun results (perhaps you have seen tables or shelves use this same technique to fill in gaps or features?).
This project took me:
1. Walnut cutting board (i make my boards, but i selected a darker color wood so when the board is in full daylight, the milky white color of the resin will still be visible against the wood.
2. 1 oz Glow in the Dark photoluminescent powder (can easily be purchased on amazon. It IS non toxic)
3. 2 part resin (the same as used on bar surfaces) You can find small kits at home depot
4. Laser engraver or CNC router
5. Drum or belt sander
6. Mineral Oil (i prefer mineral oil mixed with beeswax)
Step 1: Engrave the Artwork
In this case, i used the hitchhiking ghosts from the haunted mansion. To go with my food pun theme, the tagline "Room for more?" was added. I used my 100w CO2 laser engraver to complete this step. You need to etch fairly deep to get the resin to get thick enough to hold steady in the wood and illuminate when charged up with light. This took me about 5 passes to reach a depth of about 1/4". If i did this again, i'd definitely use a CNC router for this step and speed it up (even though it wont do the same level of detail). I used a couple precision chisels to clean and even out the bottom, but now that its complete, i dont think that was necessary.
Step 2: Mix Resin and Glow Powder
To estimate the amount of resin needed, I actually poured water into the artwork and made note of how much i needed to "fill" the recesses. once you have that and the board is completely dry, follow the instructions of your powder and resin. In my case the resin was 1:1 part a+b. The powder had a chart of how to mix, and i basically mixed 1 oz powder to 2 fl oz resin. I mixed the powder into the part a of the resin before mixing the two. Stir vigirously. The powder is actually more like a sand, and wants to slowly sink to the bottom of the cup, so make sure it is well suspended before pouring into your artwork. I noticed that for small areas like the eyes or in the chain links of the 3rd ghost, i used a dental pick to pop the bubbles and get the resin to completely fill. I also gave it a once over along the edges to make sure all bubbles had surfaced and pushed around the resin with my stir stick to evenly cover everything. Again, the powder actually settled as it was hardening, so the higher areas are nearly clear. If you want a better suspension, i suggest you stir for a few minutes until the resin isn't so watery before pouring it on.
Step 3: Sand and Prep
The resin suggests 72 hrs to cure, so i left it for a few days to be sure it would be cured enough to sand. I have a drum sander, and was concerned that the resin would melt like plastic or something, but it was actually surprisingly easy and clean to remove enough to reach the bare wood again. I also ran a quick test and was quite pleased how it lit up when taken inside!
Step 4: Final Prep and Completion
I used 150grit paper on the drum sander, so now i just needed to do some finishing. First I chose to use a router and round off the edges and put handle grips on the edge of the board. I then sanded with a palm sander using 220g paper, and finishing with 320. I also added a 3/4" manila rope handle and then oiled it up with my mineral oil/beeswax and Voila! The resin may be a bit soft to use the front as a hardcore cutting surface, but as with most of my boards, the front typically makes an amazing display item while the backside can be used for the dirty work!
Step 5: Lessons
What would i do differently?
- First off, the results were great.. in the future, i think using artwork with a little less detail would actually look better when glowing.
- The bottom surface does not need to be perfect since the resin/powder is fairly opaque, but a CNC router would speed up the etching process.
- keep stirring the resin until it sets up a little to keep the suspension. (unless you want the 3d effect made by the resin drying clear at the top.)
- be sure to have a toothpick or dental pick handy so you can remove bubbles in the detailed areas of the artwork. Blowing on the top surface will pop the little ones that rise after it is poured.
Beyond that, i'm pleased! Hope you like it!
If you want to see more of my work, i'm on instagram and facebook as @Oliverstuff, or my etsy store "cutting boredom" has many, many more pun fueled designs! Thank you for checking this project out!