I made an inexpensive epoxy resin river table. This project uses skills you may already have, but I'm sure you can learn some new ones. This project does take a fair amount of time, but it has a fantastic end result. Overall, the materials are cheap, it takes some time to make, and it has an amazing end result.
Some of the materials I used were (not including common household items):
- Epoxy Resin (10oz)
- Wood Slice
- 16" Hairpin Legs
- 3/8" Screws
- Wood Stain
Some tools I used were:
- Electric Planer
- Dremel with Polishing Tip
- Orbital Sander
- Hammer and Chisel
- Belt Sander
- Painters Tape
- Pencil and Tape Measure
Step 1: Sketch the Cut for the Wood
This first step is to design your table and sketch some cut marks for your wood. This step is necessary so you can estimate the amount of epoxy you will need later. I used a pencil and lightly drew it on so I could sand it out later. Try to not have straight lines and make an organic shape. Once you have drawn your lines, use an electric planer to flatten the other side.
Step 2: Cut Wood
Once you have drawn your cut lines, you can grab your jigsaw and start cutting. Use proper safety equipment to ensure you don't get hurt. Here are a few tips for you to use when cutting your piece:
- Use the wood blade (large teeth) and not the metal blade (small teeth)
- Clamp your piece; doing this reduces noise and vibration
- Use at least two clamps to make sure your wood will not rotate
- Go slow; make sure your cuts are curvey and organic
Step 3: Make the Barrier for the Epoxy Pour
Now we have to space out the pieces and put tape around them so the epoxy doesn't leak. I used painters tape, but in the future, I might use aluminum tape. Spend some time on this step. I did not smooth my tape down long enough and it leaked from the sides. I recommend you put a piece of tape going all the way around the wood to make a better seal. After the tape is on, you will need to flip it over. You may find you can't do this without a board underneath because the pieces will come apart. You can put a scrap piece of wood under the table and that will help to flip it. You can then take it off and you are ready to move on.
Step 4: Mix and Pour the Resin
Once you have sealed up the edges, you can pour the epoxy. To find a rough estimate of how much epoxy you will need, you can multiply the height of your wood, the thickness of your river, and the length of your cuts together. You can then multiply your cubic inches (l*w*h) by 1.805 to get your fluid oz. Now mix up your epoxy. I used the double cup method, which is when you mix the epoxy in one cup and pour that into another. Mix it again and you're ready to pour. This method ensures that you don't get any unmixed resin or hardener in your river. You can add food coloring if you want it to be translucent and pigment if you want it to be opaque. Now, pour in your epoxy and let it dry for 48 hours. Make sure your epoxy is fully cured before moving on to the next step.
Step 5: Sand and Polish
For this step, I sanded with 120, 220, and 240 grit sandpaper on the orbital sander. I then moved to hand sanding with 800 grit sandpaper. I also sanded the edges with a belt sander. After that, I got out my Dremel and used the polishing tip and compound on the river part of the table. Don't worry if your river is not shiny, it will become shiny when we apply the polyurethane.
Step 6: Resize Legs (if Needed)
This step may change depending on your design, but I needed to cut down my hairpin legs so the would not stick out from the edge of the river table. I used a sawzall for this, but you can use a hacksaw if you would like.
Step 7: Attach Legs
Once you have gotten your legs to fit on your wood, you can align them and mark the holes. I recommend double checking the length of the screws. I wasn't able to use the one that came with my legs because they were too long for my cut of week. I used a drill bit to make the pilot holes, which I marked with a piece of tape, so I would not go too far down into the wood. After that, I used a screwdriver to get the crews in. I did not use a driver or a drill because I did not want to overtighten or strip the screw.
Step 8: Apply Stain and Polyurethane
I am now able to apply the stain and polyurethane to the wood. The stain will bring out the grain in the wood and the polyurethane will protect the wood over time. I recommend testing the stain, if you decide to use it, on the bottom of the wood. To apply the stain I used an old t-shirt. I did light coats because it is easier to add more. After the stain was dry, I applied 2 coats of polyurethane. I used a disposable paintbrush for this. The polyurethane made the epoxy shiny.
Step 9: Done!
This project was a blast to make and turned out to be an amazing end/side table. It is big enough to put things on it but not so big that it takes up a lot of room. This project involved multiple skill and it is also customizable. If you make this, your friends will want it for themselves!