Introduction: Pallet Wood Epoxy Covered Bottle Cap Coffee Table

About: College Student. Runner. Wood Hobbiest.

We are house of college runners who have a lot of downtime during the offseason, so we all decided to make a coffee table for our living room! Being college students, we don't have a lot of money, so we had to think of other means of acquiring materials to create this table. We found couple of old pallets in the back of some deserted parking lots and two old storm panels being laid out for garbage, so we now had somewhere to start.

Materials Needed:

  • 2 Pallets (Free)
  • 2 Window Panes (Free)
  • Box of 1.25" screws ($5)
  • Box of 3" screws ($5)
  • ~500 Bottle Caps (Free if you do it right)
  • 1 Gallon Table Top Epoxy ($30)
  • 1 Qt of Minwax Semi-Gloss Polyurethane ($10)
  • Sandpaper 80, 120, 220 grit ($5)

Tools Needed:

  • Cats Paw
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Circular Saw
  • Rotary Sander
  • 4 paintbrushes
  • Level

Step 1: Acquisition

  • The first step was finding a way to conjoin these two panels together without showing any screws or nails. So, we screwed some long 3" screws into the rails of each panel and then framed the panels together with some cheap moulding we found around the house. Surprisingly, that actually held the panels together pretty well! But obviously we weren't satisfied!
  • Next, separate all the pallet wood. We used a plain old cat's paw and hammer and pried all of the nails out and finally got everything all separated.

Step 2: Brainstorming

  • Based on the materials we had, we figured it would be a good idea to make 2 18"x13"x27" crates. It was the perfect length for the panes to lay upon and we could also fit a sufficient amount of stuff under it if we really wanted to.
  • Being as these windows were transparent, we decided that it would be really cool to put something in the panels and then cover it in an epoxy resin AND WHAT BETTER DECORATION TO USE IN A COLLEGE HOUSE THAN BEER PARAPHERNALIA.
  • The next challenge was to find a cheap/free way to get our hands on ~500 bottle caps for this table.
    • Methods of acquiring included...
      • Asking around at parties
      • Stopping at bars on slow nights
      • Ebay

Step 3: Building Process

  • The Construction of the Crates

Step 4: Finishing Process

  • Staining and Finishing the Crates
    1. We did not have a huge amount of stain laying around so we thought it would be cool to have an alternating pattern with naturally colored wood and stained wood.
    2. The majority of the pallet wood we had acquired was pine but we did get our hands on some oak and cedar which showed to be great additions to the project.
    3. After staining, we waited about 24 hours and applied a coat of Semi-Gloss Polyurethane.
      • We wanted this table to LOOK rustic but we didn't want it to FEEL rustic and splintery.
    4. After about 5 hours, we lightly sanded with some 220 grit sandpaper and repeated with the Poly.
    5. We continued this process about 4 times and ended up two EXTREMELY smooth crates.
  • Staining and Finishing the Table Top (Window Panes)
    1. When we picked up these panes, they were in rough shape.
    2. First, we slapped some 80 grit sandpaper on it and got rid of the original stain, lacquer, and some water damage that had accumulated over the years.
    3. Next, we stained it with a rich, dark walnut which gave it the regal yet rustic look we were looking for.
    4. We repeated the same finishing process with the crates
      • Note, we made sure to be careful with the panes and having stain and polyurethane drip down into the panes. It would be a good idea to tape all of the sides to protect the inside.

Step 5: Bottle Caps and Epoxy

  1. Now that the table itself was finished, it was time to start decorating it.
  2. Here are a couple tips if you are looking to make a bottle cap table...
      • You can use a number of things. i.e. rubber cement, super glue, hot glue.
      • We used hot glue which worked fine.
      • If you do not glue them down, your caps will float to the top during the pouring process and your project will be ruined.
    • The less dented a cap, the better.
      • Ideally, you don't want any epoxy running under your cap so the flatter it is to the surface, the better.
  3. After you are satisfied with your pattern, you are ready for epoxy.
    • Note. Curing epoxy is a chemical process which requires the environment to be very warm. If it isn't sunny and 75 in your area for the next week, it is advisable to do this part inside.
    • Also Note. Being as you are dealing with chemicals, make sure you are in a well ventilated area and are wearing gloves and a respirator.
  4. We were somewhat novices with epoxy but the process was intriguing and very fun to take part in.
    • We used ProMarine Table Top Epoxy. It was a 1:1 ratio and we would mix about 12 oz at a time for around 5 minutes until the liquid was pretty much transparent (minus the bubbles which come out)
    • We did 3 flood coats of about 1/4" each.
      • Warning. While the epoxy is curing, do not touch it!!
      • If the time duration between flood coats exceeds 10 hours, you will need to lightly sand the surface so the next coat has something to grab at and hold.

Step 6: Addons

We had some extra epoxy and a metric ton of bibs lying around the house so we filled the remaining panels with these bibs, yet we still managed to still show off the beautiful wood pattern from under the tabletop.

  • We also ended up putting speakers underneath with a small amplifier and we used the other crate for blankets and such.
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017