Introduction: DIY NEON RESIN PLANK TABLE - How to Make Your Own Using GlassCast® 3 Clear Epoxy Resin
This zingy Neon Resin Plank Table would make a dramatic statement in any home, office or in fact just about anywhere! It's also surprisingly short on actual working time and amazing results can be achieved with minimal woodworking experience and a low cost for a table of this size.
We created a dining table that would comfortably seat 6 using basic wood planks, GlassCast® 3 clear epoxy coating resin and neon tinting pigments, then completed the look with chunky industrial black legs from the Hairpin Leg Company
The style and techniques applied in this project could easily be applied to creating different sized tables, headboards or bar-tops, using different colours to tint the resin or laying the planks at different angles. The possibilities are endless and your imagination is the only thing holding you back!
As always we've produced a video tutorial and an eBook for in-depth instructions which you can download free of charge, all links can be found throughout the project.
Hope you enjoy it and please post any questions and comments and we'll be happy to answer them ...
Step 1: INTRO
The eye-catching resin plank table will be created using easily sourced planks and the GlassCast® 3 clear epoxy surface coating resin which will be pigmented with neon yellow. The GlassCast® 3 resin is specially formulated to be self-levelling and will cure to leave a stunning smooth, glossy surface which requires no flatting, polishing or further finishing. The resin is self degassing and has an easy to work with 2 to 1 mix ratio by weight.
To create this stunning piece the planks must be completely encapsulated within the resin. This can be achieved by splitting the pouring process into four steps and once fully cured finishing the edges to the same high gloss finish as the surface.
Step 2: Step 1: What You'll Need: Preparation & Materials
Clear Epoxy Surface Coating Resin - we used GlassCast® 3
Pigment of your choice - we used Neon Yellow
Baseboard - we used polypropylene sheet
Timber Strips - to act as barriers
Tile Spacers - at the width you wish your gaps to be (ours are 8mm)
Abrasive Paper - various grits
Legs for the Table
Wooden Planks of your choice - we used redwood planks
Wood Stain - water based
Buckets, Resin Spreader, Mixers
Spirit Level and Screwdriver
Safety Equipment - Gloves, Mask, Goggles
It's very important that the environment you are working in is a dry, heated space with an ambient temperature of around 20°C throughout the process.
The Resin also needs to be at room temperature - so if it's delivered cold or it's been in the garage you will need to raise the temperature to 20°C before use. Any damp or cold conditions will affect the end result and the room needs to be as dust & dirt free as possible - we made a cover to be used during curing times.
Step 3: Step 2: the Wood
We used some basic smooth planed redwood timber planks which we brought from our local timber merchant. These are also available from DIY stores and can often be purchased in different widths and lengths which is just what we were looking for. We cut some of our lengths into shorter sections making sure that they were all different as we wanted a random staggered pattern to create more interest to the table. You could have different plank depths although this will require more resin.
You could use pallet wood or wood with more interesting edges but we wanted to make a table with clean lines and a modern feel so opted for the planed planks.
The most important thing about the wood when you are preparing is to make sure that the planks are smooth, flat and dry before you begin. So, depending what sort of wood you use, you may need to put more work into the preparation of the planks.
Next you need to lay out all of the planks in a random pattern leaving your choice of gaps for the resin and a border - for the table in the project we used an:
8mm gap between the planks and a 12mm border around the outside of the planks.
You can then work out the total table area. Remember if you have bigger gaps between the planks you will require more resin per square metre of table.
We also wanted to create contrast between the planks and we achieved this by lightening and darkening some of the planks, use masking tape to mark up which ones to change. To lighten some we brushed on white (water based) wood dye and in some cases applied two coats to give a lighter shade.We then darkened a selection of the other planks using a blowtorch by passing the flame over the plank which brought out the natural grain in the wood.
Once you have prepared the planks lay them back out to make sure you are happy with the variation in the colour and layout before you begin - it's a good idea to draw a plan of where your planks go in the layout so you can lay them back in the resin with ease.
Step 4: Step 3: the Baseboard and Barriers
Our baseboard is a piece of polypropylene sheet. This is the ideal surface for this type of job as it will not stick to the epoxy resin, it can be reused and will give an excellent finish for the underside of the table without the need for finishing.
Make sure the surface you are making the table on is completely flat using a spirit level and that the baseboard is large enough to accommodate the table (complete with gaps and border) and the barriers.
Stick the baseboard down using double sided tape and press down firmly.
Next create the side barriers using timber batons - you may choose to use something else, just remember to use a material that epoxy resin will not stick to.
To make the batons non-stick we applied flash/release tape to cover the baton and leave an overhang on the tape which would create a tape 'hinge' to stick it to the baseboard. Once all the sides are stuck firmly in place use the tape to seal the corners - it is very important that the base and barriers are completely water proof and will not allow any resin to leak out.
Step 5: Step 4: the Resin
Now that the barriers and baseboard are set up it is time to prepare the resin for the project.
Working out how much resin and hardener you'll need for a resin plank table is a little bit complicated because you need to allow for the resin underneath, in the gaps and on top. So if you're going to be creating a table around the same as the table in the project you should allow for around 10kg resin per square metre of table.
This table is 1.28sqm so in total we're using just under 13kg of resin in total.
To work out the amount of resin required for your project use this useful resin calculator.
We calculated how much resin and hardener we needed, the GlassCast® 3 has a mix ratio of 2 parts resin to 1 part hardener by weight and it's easier to pigment the resin required for the whole project in one go to ensure consistency in the colour throughout the project. Pour out the required amount of resin into a clean bucket.
Following some experimentation prior to the project we worked out that around 3.5g pigment per kilogram of resin gives this bright but still translucent effect that we wanted. For a project this size we used just over 45g pigment in 13kg Resin.
REMEMBER at this stage you are only pigmenting the resin (not the hardener).
Thorough mixing is essential to make sure the pigment is dispersed through the resin. Make sure you scrape the sides and bottom of the bucket and mix until a consistent colour can be seen through all of the resin.
To encapsulate the planks properly and prevent any air bubbles we need to break down the resin pours into 4 stages - it's really important to follow these instructions to get the best results in the finished table.
Here's how we broke the process down:
- Pour a 3mm base layer and allow it to partially cure
- Pour a thin sealing layer - to sit the planks in and seal all open wood and allow it to partially cure
- Pour a fill layer - to bring the resin up to the top of the planks and allow it to partially cure
- Pour a 3mm surface layer and allow to fully cure
Step 6: Step 5: Pour 1 - the Base Layer
IMPORTANT for each of the pours the pigmented resin will need to be mixed with the correct amount of hardener. The calculation will be included in each step - although your calculation will be specific to your project.
Accurate measuring and mixing is essential, any unmixed resin will not cure properly and will leave soft tacky areas in the project. Use digital scales to make sure you are as accurate as possible.
Weigh out the correct amount of resin and hardener into a bucket and mix thoroughly using a mixing stick for approximately 3 minutes. Then transfer the mixture into a 2nd bucket and mix again for 3 minutes - this is called double-potting and - if you follow this procedure for each stage you should not have any problems with unmixed resin.
Pour 1 - The Base Layer
- The base layer will have a 3mm depth
- 3.84 can be approximated to 3.84kg
- 2:1 mix ratio means we need 2.56kg resin and 1.28kg hardener
- Follow the mixing and double potting method
Then pour the mixture onto the baseboard and disperse evenly with a spreader. You can use a heat gun to disperse any air bubbles if required although GlassCast is very good at self degassing. Then allow this stage to cure to the B-stage.
The B-stage means that the resin has started to become firm but still has a tackiness.
To tell if this stage has been reached - with a gloved finger, touch the resin and if it leaves a mark but does not stick to the glove it has reached it's B-stage and you need to prepare part 1 of the pour.
If you allow the resin to cure past the B-stage then the resin will not chemically bond to the next layer so will need to be keyed all over with abrasive paper to create a bond with the new layer - you will need to allow the resin to reach the B-stage after pours 1,2 and 3.
In an ambient room temperature of around 20°C the B-stage will be reached in approximately 12 hours (using GlassCast 3) keep checking with a gloved finger to ensure you pour the next layer at the correct time.
Step 7: Step 6: Pour 2 - the Sealing Layer
Repeat the weighing and mixing process for the 2nd layer - 1.5mm will be sufficient.
- Pour the mixture onto the part cured 1st layer and spread out
- Then using a brush, paint the resin on the underside of the planks before lowering them on to the base
- Gently tilt the planks whilst lowering to prevent air pockets being trapped underneath them until all planks are in the correct position
- Then paint the resin on to all exposed surfaces of the planks to seal them
- Then use tile spacers to consistently create the 8mm gaps all around the planks - it's really important to do this so the planks don't float around
- For the border around the outside use larger tile spacers or something similar to prevent movement
Now leave the 2nd pour for a few hours until the resin has begun to gel, then remove the spacers and packers. If you leave them until the B-stage is reached they will be difficult to remove.
Then leave the 2nd pour to cure to the B-stage.
Step 8: Step 7: Pour 3 - the Fill Layer
Repeat the weighing and mixing for the resin and hardener for the sealing layer for a 2.5mm depth.
In this 3rd pour we need to fill the gaps and border level with the top of the planks. The quantity of resin will depend on your table size and the depth of the planks.
Because the 3rd pour is the deepest, we poured half of the 3rd batch and then use the heat-gun to make sure no air bubbles are trapped before pouring the second part of the mixture and using the heat gun again.
Pay close attention to this stage to make sure no bubbles are clinging to the planks - if you sealed them correctly this shouldn't be a problem.
When you've reached the top of the planks leave to cure to the B-stage again.
Step 9: Step 8: Pour 4 -The Surface Layer
Pour 4 - is the surface layer and will be the final pour which will form the super glossy surface for the table.
The depth of the pour this time is 3mm to mirror the 1st pour.
Take extra care with the measuring, mixing and pouring of this last critical layer as this will be the surface of your table. Don't cut any corners and you will achieve perfect results - don't forget to put it safely under cover to protect it from dust and dirt during the full cure.
You will need to leave the table to cure for a minimum of 24 hours - but longer if you can, it will reach full strength after a few days. Remember to be patient and don't try and demould the table prematurely.
To check if the resin has fully cured you should be able to press your nail into the resin as hard as you can and not leave any marks at all.
Step 10: Step 9: Finishing the Table
Once fully cured you should be able to easily remove the barriers and baseboard and tape without any problems.
Now the table top is out of the protective barriers make sure to use a protective sheet when finishing the edges and fitting the legs.
You will need to remove the meniscus of resin and flat and polish the edges - the top and bottom of the table are already in their finished state.
- Using a planer carefully remove the meniscus and any rough edges
- Then using abrasive papers, wet sand the edges using the following good technique
- Work up gradually through the abrasive paper - 240, 400, 800 and finally 1200 grit
- It's important to use a block behind the paper to avoid radiusing the edges
- Only move on to the next grit of paper once all scratches are removed from the previous grit
- Frequently change water - between each grit as a minimum
- Now using a fast cutting polishing compound and a cloth, polish the table edges to achieve a full gloss by hand - you could use a power polisher for speed.
Step 11: Step 10: Attaching the Legs
Fitting the Legs
Once the edges are finished, fit your chosen legs according to their instructions - it will be very simple as you can easily drill through the resin and secure into the planks. The legs we chose were from The Hairpin Leg Co.
Step 12: The Finished Neon Resin Plank Table!
The Neon Resin Plank Table is now complete!
To start your project take a look at our video tutorial and free eBook.
The principles and techniques used in this Instructable can be transferred to any project your imagination can think of, and actual hands on labour time is relatively short with a low complexity level making it perfect for beginners as well as the more experienced makers!
GlassCast® 3 is the ideal epoxy resin for this amazing neon plank table and the techniques used to create this eye-popping table and could be used to create bar tops, table tops and headboards and the look can be changed very simply to give a totally different look to suit any style.
Variations on this process could be
• colouring the planks to be encapsulated with different wood stains or paints • stencilling or shading the planks • having larger or smaller gaps and borders
• changing the colour of the resin
• changing the layout of the planks to create a pattern - like herringbone
GlassCast® 3 is the ideal epoxy resin for the applications described above and any piece created this way could be the centrepiece for a designer apartment or modern office, needing little more than the GlassCast® 3 resin and neon pigment!
This resin is also suitable for use on Penny Floors and is compatible with the GlassCast Tinting Pigment range and Metallic Powders.
Hope you've enjoyed this Instructable - the table is amazing and the possibilities with this technique are endless!
Any questions or comments please ask and we'll do our best to answer them.
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