Introduction: Ultimate Rainbow Dried Flowers & Resin Coaster Set
The cool thing about this rainbow coaster project is that the rainbow forms when you put all the coasters together. I wanted a set that works together, but has different color coasters so people always know which drink is theirs when they set it down. Each coaster is a rainbow segment with a blend of 2-3 colors, making each coaster unique. I had a lot of fun designing and making this colors-of-the-rainbow, hippie-dippy, LGBTQ, just plain beautiful, coaster set and hope you have fun with it too!
2-Part epoxy resin
Silicone coaster mold set
Dried flowers and leaves
1 sheet of blank paper
Kitchen scale or measuring cup
Kitchen torch or lighter (optional)
Parchment Paper (can substitute wax paper)
Something to protect surface
Lots of ventilation
Disclaimer: I do occasional freelance work for IntoResin and they send me some supplies for free. I only use items I like for my instructables and I include the links so you can get the same things if you want. I don't make ANY money from these or any other links. You should buy whatever you like best!
Step 1: Dried Flowers
Generally speaking, you can use either artificial flowers or dried natural flowers for resin projects. But whatever you choose, the flowers must have NO moisture or your project may be ruined.
I personally prefer natural flowers. Dried natural flowers have many advantages over artificial flowers, but you should be aware that dried flowers can be very delicate until they are encased in resin. They also need to be 100% dry before you begin.
Many kinds of dried or pressed flowers can be purchased online or from craft stores, in which case moisture won’t be an issue. These look beautiful and are ready, right out of the package to add to your resin project. I used mostly dried flowers from an online store for this project, but I also dried some of my own leaves and flowers by pressing them in a heavy book. It was easier to get the rainbow colors I wanted with the purchased flower sets.
Step 2: Prep
Before you mix or pour any resin, take one coaster and trace around it onto a piece of paper 4 times to make a template with 4 coaster-sized circles. Set this aside until you get to the flowers.
Next, since this project will result in clear coasters with embedded flowers, we want to make sure the coaster molds are as clean as possible. Remove any bits of resin from previous projects and then wipe the molds with alcohol to get rid of any old dyes or debris.
Note: I’m going to give you the instructions for the coaster holder at the end of this tutorial (STEP 10), but you should make the holder while making the coasters because you’ll use all the same materials. Just remember to mix enough resin to include the coaster holder.
Step 3: Begin Casting
To begin, you’ll need enough mixed resin to cover the bottom of each coaster mold, plus more for the coaster holder. An ounce of mixed resin per mold should be enough, but you can use an epoxy resin calculator to be more accurate.
Now, using a measuring cup or scale, mix up a batch of 2-part clear epoxy with equal parts of resin and hardener. Mix well according to package instructions. Let the mixed resin sit a few minutes so some of the bubbles can come to the top and pop.
Step 4: Pour
Next, pour equal amounts of mixed resin into each coaster mold. The resin needs to cover the entire bottom surface and be about 2-4 millimeters thick. This will end up being the clear TOP of your coaster. Let the resin sit a few minutes, and then briskly run your torch or lighter over the resin to pop the bubbles that rise up. Wait 10-15 minutes and repeat popping bubbles. If you don’t have a torch, pop bubbles with a pin or toothpick.
Let the first layer of resin thicken to a “cold honey” consistency. Basically, you want the flowers to sit on top of the resin and stick to it. How long this takes depends on your room temperature and humidity.
Move on to the flowers while the resin thickens.
Step 5: Arrange the Flowers - Planning
Here’s the part where you get to be really creative. While the first layer of resin is setting, take out your dried flowers and paper coaster template and plan your coaster designs. You will need to work on a flat surface, in a place with no wind or drafts so the flowers don’t blow around. Someplace that’s also near the coasters would be ideal.
Now start forming the rainbow. (There's a sketch above.) Each coaster will have 1-2 colors blending into one another in the following order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple (ROYGBIV).
Step 6: Add Flowers to the Molds
When the first layer of resin has started to set it’s time to place your flowers.
You will gently pick up the flowers from your template and lay them UPSIDE DOWN in the thickened resin one at a time. The dried flowers will float on top of the resin and stick in place. You can use tweezers or your fingers to place the flowers where you want and recreate your template design. If needed, carefully pat down the back of each placed flower so all of it touches the sticky resin. If the resin hasn’t set fully yet, you can adjust the position of the flowers by gently pushing them around with a toothpick.
Here's a Video of Me Placing Flowers from the template.
Step 7: Set
When all of your flowers are moved from the template to the molds, leave the molds undisturbed to cure until the resin is firm. Cover your coasters with a box if they’re outside. Curing time will vary with environmental conditions. The resin doesn’t need to be fully cured before the next step, but it can be. You can even come back a day or two later if you want.
Step 8: Back to Casting - 2nd Resin Layer
Using a toothpick, gently poke the first layer of resin to make sure it’s firm. It can still be sticky, but not liquid. Then mix a new batch of resin following the instructions in the first step. You will need more resin this time since you will be filling the coasters the rest of the way.
Slowly pour the mixed resin over the cured layer. If your flowers are exposed and fragile, pour off to the side and let the resin flow over them. This will keep the flowers from getting damaged and allow trapped air to escape. It’s best to pour some resin into each mold and let the resin spread over the flowers first. When everything is covered, go back and add more resin to each mold until all the molds are filled. Then briskly run your torch or lighter over the resin to pop the bubbles that rise up. Wait 10-15 minutes and repeat.
Leave the molds undisturbed to harden until the resin is fully cured. Overnight is recommended. Cover your coasters with a box if they’re outside to keep out dust and debris. Remember, curing time will vary with environmental conditions.
Step 9: Unmold
Now comes the exciting part. First, make sure your coasters are fully cured. They shouldn’t be at all sticky or bendable. Next, gently pull a mold away from its coaster and then pop the rest out. Turn it over and see your dried flower creation! Now repeat with the rest of your coasters and you have a gorgeous set of rainbow flower coasters.
Step 10: Making the Coaster Holder
As you work on your coaster molds, you can also create the coaster holder. Here are the parts of the instructions that are different for the coaster holder:
- When you pour the first layer of clear resin in the coaster molds, also pour some of the mixed resin into the holder mold. Pour the resin down the sides about ⅓ of the way up. Let this resin thicken just like the coaster molds.
- Plan a rainbow of flower colors to circle the holder while you wait.
- When you top off the coaster molds with the second layer of mixed resin, fill the holder mold up the rest of the way with resin as well.
- Now add your rainbow flowers to the holder. Gently pick up one flower and slide it into the wet resin down the side of the holder. Make sure the FRONT of your flower is facing the OUTSIDE. The flowers will be stopped by the hardened resin, so they won’t go all the way down. You will end up with a band of flowers around the base of the holder.
- If the flowers float up too far, poke them down with a toothpick.
- Wait overnight and remove the holder from the mold.
Step 11: Have Fun!
I love all things rainbow and shiny, so I love the combination of vibrant dried flowers and clear resin. This coaster project is perfect for this combination, but you can use the same instructions for any molds you like. And as you gain comfort with the techniques described in this tutorial you can also expand your palette by experimenting with additives such as colorants and glitter. The sky’s the limit!
Second Prize in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest