Make a Porthole Table - Cool Outdoor Decor!




Introduction: Make a Porthole Table - Cool Outdoor Decor!

About: My love of making things started young, with a mom who was always coming up with projects and a dad whose tool collection still gives me envy. I got my love of bright colors from mom and my love of working wi…

Some of our favorite DIYs are turning old, throw away items into something fabulous, and that’s precisely what we did here. After being obsessed with Flea Market Flip, we headed out on a road trip to find some discarded treasures to turn into something we would cherish. On that fateful day, we found an old, dirty porthole, a tarnished copper basin and a surprisingly sturdy base that all looked like they’d go perfectly together. So we hauled them back our shop and got to work making what is likely the world’s only Porthole Table with a Resin Ocean Art Insert.

We show you how we did it below!


Basic Materials (Amazon links = affiliate links):
Old Porthole

Metal Stand

Copper Basin

Scrap Wood


Acrylic Sheet:

Rubber Gasket:

Paint Stripper:

Paint Scraper:

Nylon Brush (stiff):

Nylon Brush (stiff):

Copper Polish:

Copper Polish:

Spray Paint Primer:

Aluminum Primer:

Metallic Navy Spray Paint:

Aqua Spray Paint:

Tools: (Amazon links = affiliate links):

Random Orbital Sander:




Measuring Tape:



Resin Supplies (Amazon links = affiliate links):

Pro Marine Countertop Epoxy:

Turquoise Pigment:

Medium Blue Pigment:

Dark Blue Pigment:

Foam White Pigment Paste:

Sand: The Beach

Heat Gun:

Bernzomatic Torch: +

Mixing Cups:

Mixing Sticks:


Plastic drop cloths:

Affiliate Notification
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Step 1: Find a Porthole, Basin and Legs/Base

  • An old porthole isn’t just something you can pick up anywhere, so we suggest searching online if you’re looking to re-create this project.
  • Once you’ve located a porthole, head on out to your local thrift store or flea market (or, of course, Amazon, Ebay, etc.) to find an appropriately sized basin and something that will work for legs.
  • Consider searching for a metal plant stand, which is what we ended up with (we think).

Step 2: Clean and Strip Porthole

Any porthole that ends up detached from its vessel is probably not going to be in the best condition. Ours was caked in layers of paint, degraded sealants and more unidentified substances - ha! So first, you have to get that porthole cleaned up!

Gather the following materials: porthole, scraper, nylon brush, drop cloth, gloves, and paint stripper.

Follow these steps:

1. Remove window from porthole. Ours was incredibly old, so the window came out easily.

2. Using a scraper and a stiff nylon brush, remove any loose dirt.

3. Put down a drop cloth.

4. Put on gloves!

5. Coat the front side of the porthole with paint stripper, following instructions on your product for working time.

6. Scrape paint off, paying special attention to the details.

7. Repeat until all paint is off of the porthole.

8. Repeat steps 5-7 on the back.

Step 3: Clean Basin

If your basin is like ours, it’s probably in needed of a deep cleaning. So it goes with discarded items. Our basin was made from copper and was tarnished all over.

If you're in the same boat (pun intended!), gather the following materials: basin, gloves, sponge, cleaner/tarnish remover, source of water (to rinse)

Follow these steps:

1. Wear gloves!

2. Soak a sponge in tarnish remover.

3. Scrub basin inside and out, following instructions on the bottle.

4. Be sure to rinse the basin often so chemicals don’t stay in one spot for more than a few minutes.

Step 4: Paint Base and Porthole

Now that it's all clean, the fun begins! Pick some fun colors for your stand and porthole and gather the following materials: spray paint primer(s), spray paint, drop cloth.

Follow these steps:

1. Spray paint a primer onto your base and porthole.


  • We used a standard spray paint primer for the base and a special aluminum primer for the porthole. Choose the right primer for the materials you’re working with.
  • Watch for drips!

2. Follow instructions on your primer for how long to wait before the next coat.

3. Spray paint base and porthole in chosen colors.

4. Apply a second coat, if desired, following instructions on your paint on how long to wait before the next coat.

Step 5: Cut a New Tabletop Insert

We opted to not reuse the original glass with this porthole, as it would be an outdoor table, and we didn't want the recessed placement of the glass to pool water and allow for mosquitos to flourish. ;) And since the table will live near a vinyl pool, we opted for acrylic rather than glass for a replacement.

If you decide to replace the original glass, gather the following materials: measuring tape, scrap wood, sharpie, nail, jigsaw, circular sander and torch

Follow these steps:

1. Measure the diameter of the inside of your porthole.

2. Create a template in wood or cardboard that is the size of your porthole opening. To do this:

  • Create a circle jig out of a scrap piece of wood by drilling one hole near one end and other hole half the length of the diameter.
  • Insert a nail through one end of the jig and through the center of the wood or cardboard you plan to use for your template.
  • Insert a sharpie in the hole on the other end of the jig and spin to draw your circle.
  • Cut out the circle.
  • Test to be sure that your template fits in the porthole precisely.

3. Use template to draw a circle on your acrylic sheet.

Note: be sure that the plastic covering is still on both sides of your acrylic sheet.

4. Use a jigsaw and SLOWLY cut out the acrylic circle.

Note: put your jigsaw on the slowest speed possible and take lots of breaks. The friction from the saw can melt or warp your acrylic if you’re not careful.

5. Sand the edge of the acrylic circle.

6: Remove plastic film from acrylic circle.

7. Quickly, but evenly, fire the edge of the acrylic with a Bernzomatic torch to take off some of the dullness

Step 6: Create Resin Ocean Art Insert (optional)

When you look out of a porthole, what do you see? The SEA, of course! In this spirit, we opted to create a piece of resin ocean art to put in the bottom of the copper basin.

Gather the following materials: resin, resin pigments (we recommend three blues and a white), sand, level, wood disc, spray paint, heat gun, torch, drop cloth, sandpaper, and lots of gloves.

Follow these steps (it may be helpful to watch the pour in the video, starting at 7:42, before you begin)

1. Create Wood Circle for Pour

  • Either cut a circle out of wood, or search places like Michaels, Hobby Lobby or Amazon for wood circles, keeping in mind the correct dimensions.
  • Paint a basic three-color gradient for the ocean on the bare wood.
    • Note: This will ultimately be covered, so it doesn’t have to be perfect.
  • We paint the basic outlines so we can ensure that no bare wood shows through if the resin is a little more translucent than planned.

2. Set up Resin Pour

  • Ensure you are working in a temperature controlled environment for the actual pour (resin is finicky about temperature).
  • Place a drop cloth down on your work surface and raise your creation up with some scrap wood.
  • Level your wood disc before you begin pouring.

3. Pour Seal Coat

  • Mix clear resin and pour a seal coat - a thin coat of clear resin.
  • If you want to add sand to the “beach” area of your ocean circle, you can do that at this step.
  • Use a Bernzomatic torch to pop any bubbles.
  • Let resin cure overnight.

4. Pour Full Ocean + Front Wave

  • Sand only on the ocean part of the disc with 150 grit sandpaper. Wipe all excess dust off.
  • Level your creation again.
  • Mix three increasingly darker blue resin pigments and pour from lightest (at the front) to darkest (in the back)
    • Note: It may be helpful to heat the resin before you pour to give it more movement on the board.
  • Pour a thin line of clear resin at the front of the ocean, where it meets the beach.
  • Pour a line of white in front of the clear resin.
  • Use a heat gun to push the white back into the ocean, creating a wave.
  • Pop bubbles with the torch.
  • Let resin cure overnight.

5. Pour Back Half of Ocean + Second Wave

  • Sand only the back part of the ocean with 150 grit sandpaper. Wipe all excess dust off.
  • Level your creation again.
  • Mix two increasingly darker blue resin pigments and pour from lightest (at the front) to darkest (in the back)
    • Note: It may be helpful to heat the resin before you pour to give it more movement on the board.
  • Pour a thin line of clear resin at the front of the ocean, where it meets the beach.
  • Pour a line of white in front of the clear resin.
  • Use a heat gun to push the white back into the ocean, creating a wave.
  • Pop bubbles with the torch.
  • Let cure overnight.

Step 7: Put It All Together

You're SO close! Just a few more steps to have a one-of-a-kind porthole table!

Gather the following materials: rubber gasket, silicone sealant, clamps, scrap wood, towel, all parts to the table.

Follow these steps:

1. Add a rubber gasket to the outside rim of your basin to protect the contact point with the porthole.

2. Insert ocean resin art.

3. Add a single bead of silicone sealant around the inner lip of the porthole.

4. Press acrylic window into porthole opening.

5. To clamp while curing:

  • Place a towel on the window to cushion
  • Clamp for duration of cure time (check tube for timing).
  • Place a board on top

6. Put basin in stand/base.

7. Put porthole on top.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Voila! You now have an awesome, one of a kind, porthole table.

If you liked this project, please head over to for more tips, tutorials, back stories and more. And if you’re interested in checking out more of our video tutorials, check out our Instructables profile or head over to our YouTube channel.

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    2 years ago

    I like this, well done.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you! So glad you like it. :)