Introduction: Bubble Wrap Coaster

About: Come spend some time in the shop. I'm a hobbyist woodworker and professional computer geek in Northern California. I guess my projects will vary widely, and I have no clue what I plan to make next...

Bubble wrap is so much fun to pop! So, what if you couldn't pop it?! This idea started out as simply as that. Is that evil? Maybe just a little...

Step 1: Casting Bubble Wrap

I rarely make the same thing twice, so my molds are normally just cobbled together for the project. This mold is nothing more than a laminate shelf cut down to 12" by 12". I then cut some 1" strips from the same material and super-glued it around the edge. Viola, a 12" resin mold!

Next we mix up some resin. I'm using Easy Cast resin here. It is a simple 1:1 ratio. 1 ounce of each will give us a decent sized base for this casting.

After thoroughly mixing pour your first layer into the mold. The majority of uncured resin is a result of poor mixing. There are other factors like temp and ratio, but if there is step you cannot overdo, it's mixing.

Apply some heat to the resin to break up the bubbles on the surface, then add your casting material and then walk away. Depending on the temp and humidity the curing process can take from a few hours to well over 24. For me, I picked this project up the next day.

Step 2: Second Resin Pour

The next day I mixed up more resin, just like before, but used 6 ounces total. (3 ounces of resin and 3 ounces of hardener)

Again, pour, hit the surface with some heat. Now I had to be very careful here with my torch as it could actually melt the plastic and pop the bubbles I WANTED to keep! I've used a heat gun in the past, but I don't like it as well as it tends to create waves in the epoxy an move it around too much.

Nothing left now but the waiting.

Step 3: Cutting Coasters!

After another 24 hours it was hard as a rock and ready to be removed from the mold. The mold was broken apart with just some prying and the casting freed. I think my final thickness was around 1/4" thick or so.

Next I taped off the sheet into quarters and used a coaster I liked for a template. (I think it was about 4" square) Once I had sketched a pencil line around each area it was off to the band saw.

If you love your band saw, or don't like cleaning your band saw blades, you might not want to do this... (you've been warned) Cut to the line, but not on it. The resin can be brittle and will tend to break apart. If you get too close you could have a fracture that crosses your line. Sanding will take longer, but it is less risky,

Lastly I took the coaster to the disk sander and sanded them to the pencil line.

Step 4:

Here is were things took an unexpected turn. The bottom of the coasters de-laminated and the bubble wrap came free. May folks have said that bubble wrap is made of cellophane and apparently epoxy will not stick to it. I had no idea that would happen. I presumed that with all the cavities and wrinkles there would have been more than enough surface area for adhesion.

As it happens, it was a good thing. I think they have a much cooler look and texture to them as they are, rather than how I envisioned them!

Thanks for looking!