Introduction: How NOT to Make a Wood and Resin Light

About: A wife, mom, and maker, making heirloom quality wood artwork for the bold home.

This resin and wood light, started out with the best of intentions, it quickly turned to a project made up of “learning opportunities”. So, this is all about how NOT to make a wood and resin light.

Step 1: Wood Prep

The wood I chose to use for this light was a spalted oak wood cookie slab that was approximately 4 inches thick with the center rotted out. I figured it would make the perfect desk or end table light. So, to get the wood prepped, I first made a flat surface for the light to stand up on with the miter saw, cutting one side of the wood cookie.

Next, I needed to remove any of the remaining soft and rotted wood from the center where I would be pouring the resin into. I used my mini grinder to remove all of this material. Last but not least, I put painters’ tape on the “bottom” of the cookie to seal it before doing the pour.

LESSON 1: I should have done two things differently; first, I should have flattened both sides of the wood cookie to make sure there were no uneven areas that would allow opportunities for the resin to leak through. Secondly, I should not have rushed and went straight to using silicone for sealing.

Step 2: Resin Pour X 2

Alright, I wanted a sea or ocean type of vibe for the light, so I mixed some resin with just a translucent blue tint and then I mixed a smaller portion with a glow in the dark gel. I wanted to have the glow in the dark gel be just in the middle and swirl out into the blue. To try and attempt this, I rolled up a small silicone matte to make a cylinder and placed it inside the opening. Then, I poured the resin with the gel inside it.

LESSON 2: Because I had not really securely stuck the bottom of the matte to the bottom of the pour, the resin with gel just leaked straight out of the cylinder and into the wider void. Not sure how to stop this one from happening.

Next I poured the blue tinted resin into the void. I pretty much poured all of the resin before I noticed that it was coming out the back of the cookie, the tape had failed to create a full seal.

LESSON 3: Basically, look at lesson 1, don’t use painters’ tape!

Okay, so at this point I basically just walked out of the shop. I needed to let the resin cure, would make it the easiest to clean up. After the resin had cured, I planned on using hot glue to glue the wood cookie down to a piece of melamine.

LESSON 4: Hot glue does not work!

Alright, attempt number 3 at sealing the bottom of the wood cookie. I finally went with clear silicone to secure the cookie down to the melamine as well as to put around the outside of the cookie to make sure nothing leaked out. It worked.

I mixed up more epoxy, using again Ecopoxy Liquid Plastic at a 2:1 ratio, that is 2 parts of part A and 1 part of part B. Again, I mixed blue tint into part of the resin and the glow in the dark gel into the other part of the resin. I poured both buckets in at the same time. No leaks this time, YAY. With using the 2:1 ration mix, it takes about 36 hours to cure. So, I left and planned on coming back at 18 hours to mix the two together and create some swirls and patterns before it finally cured. However, when I returned at 18 hours, I found it hard and cracked.

LESSON 5: I called Ecopoxy and discovered that the 2:1 ratio can only be poured 3 inches deep, and this pour had been 4 inches deep. So because I had poured it too thick, it overheated and cured super-fast, causing the cracks. If you want to pour more then 4 inches deep at once, you need to use the 1:1 ratio.

I decided at this point the project was a bit of a loss. I did not want to remove all of the resin and pour it again. So, I kept it with the cracks.

Step 3: Shaping the Light

I used both my 4.5-inch grinder and mini grinder with an assortment of attachments to carve the light. I narrowed the top of the lamp, while keeping the base thicker. I sanded it to 320 after final shaping and then applied a very thin coat of the glow in the dark gel to the outside of the hardened resin on the side all the gel had sunk to when it cured.

Step 4: Finishing

After the gel cured, I applied a very thin layer of UVpoxy just to the cured epoxy areas. After that cured, I sprayed on a few coats of lacquer. Lastly, I drilled some holes through the wood in the bottom until I reached the resin area. This left an area to place an LED light puck in to shine up through the resin.

Step 5: Conclusion

After it was all said and done, I learned quite a few lessons with this project. And though the cracks were unintended, they do create quite a cool effect and looks a bit like icebergs on one side. Just goes to show I suppose, that even those unplanned mistakes can turn into something beautiful.