With epoxy resin, you can easily bring nature into your home. And one way to do that is by making an epoxy resin river tabletop. This piece of functional art has a unique and durable high-gloss, glass-like coating.
More notably, you can use it to showcase your hobbies and interests. Also, these pieces are versatile, making them compatible with various interior design decors. Considering these benefits, you decide to make a resin river table for your living room.
But, do you even know how to make one?
Well its just a really really big resin coaster with legs
In this article, I’ll take you through the step-by-step guide on how to make an epoxy resin blue river tabletop from start to finish. So, let’s get started!
What Is A Resin River Table?
Resin river tables are becoming increasingly popular among many homeowners. Thanks to their ability to decorate any part of your living room, dining room, and bedroom. You can also put it in your office, apartment, or restaurant. But, what exactly is a resin river table?
As the name suggests, it’s a wood table that’s coated with epoxy inlay. In terms of dimension, the design of this table can measure 16” by 47” by 23.5”. However, you can customize it to fit the dimensions of a dining/ coffee table.
You should also note that epoxy tables can be crafted from various wooden materials. Regardless of the material you use, you’ll be left with an outstanding, luxurious table design. Besides, you can decorate them with resin paints to make river wave patterns. On top of that, you can embed decorative items like rhinestones, beads, and crystals.
Overall, a resin blue river table is a beautiful piece of an epoxy-coated wooden table. With that in mind, let’s have a look at the different types of resin tables one can make!
Types of Epoxy Resin Tables
As I’ve mentioned earlier, epoxy resin tables can have different styles. More importantly, each design is unique from one another. For that reason, you can use this technique to create tables to suit different spaces.
Some resin table ideas include;
- Coffee table
- Dining table
- Side table
- Garden table
Things You Need To Make A Resin Table
Before you start choosing the supplies you need, there are two things you need to consider. First, you have to choose the type of resin river table you intend to make. This is because some types will be cheaper as compared to others. Besides, you may not need all the materials to make a certain type of table.
Secondly, you need to determine the size of the resin tabletop you want. Remember, the dimensions of these pieces of furniture differ from one type to another, however, larger surfaces can be cut down to a desired size. That being said, here are some of the supplies you’ll need to make your resin tabletop:
- Epoxy Resin
- PPEs (Mask and nitrile gloves)
- Heat gun/ propane torch
- Caulk & Caulking gun
- Mixing cup
- Sanding machine
- Resin tape
Now that you’ve gathered all the supplies you need, let’s get to the actual process of making a resin tabletop!
How to Make an Epoxy River Table Top: Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Personal Protection and Safety
For the first step of preparing your table wood and frame, you’ll be working with various woodworking tools like sandpapers, sander, saws, etc. So, make sure you’re working in a comfortable area with all necessary personal safety items equipped.
Next, epoxy resins come with 2 components’ resin and hardener. For this solution to work, you need to mix them thoroughly.
This mixing process results in a chemical reaction that can produce harmful fumes. For that reason, you should always wear a mask when handling these components. On top of that, always wear nitrile gloves to protect your skin. Simply put, never handle epoxy without the necessary protective and safety equipment.
Also, ensure that you’re working in a well-ventilated and dust-free space.
More importantly, make sure the room you’re working in has a stable temperature of about 20 degrees C. On the same note, avoid working in an area with humid, hot, or cold conditions. Otherwise, the appearance, performance, and drying of your resin table will be affected.
Step 2: Wood Selection
There are various types of wood that you can use to make a resin river table. However, not every type can create a beautiful piece of furniture. So it’s important to consider the material you’ll use for your artwork.
On the same note, I recommend that you avoid going for poor quality and cheap materials. Instead, choose high-quality wood as it will help you to make a durable table. Also, ensure that the wood material is flat and completely dry.
Still on wood selection, natural wood is the ideal material for making epoxy river tables. Alternatively, you can choose a wooden board with a tree trunk. To make your project more attractive and stylish, look for a material with natural edge barks.
Step 3: Prepare the wood
After finding the ideal piece of wood for your project, the next step is to prepare it. Hence, you’ll need some tools and equipment like a planning machine and a manual circular saw.
There is one issue with this process though!
Some of these machines are expensive and complex to use. So, if you’re a beginner, ask your supplier/ carpenter to cut it down for you instead. More importantly, remember to ask them to cut the wood down it in half for the central river channel.
However, if you have those tools, proceed with the following steps;
Cut the wood to the right angle and length. Afterward, plane the surfaces to get a uniform thickness. When you’ve done that, you can create a river channel by flipping and inverting your wooden pieces.
3.2 Remove the barks
Using a chisel, remove the barks from the live edges. Then sand them by hand to achieve a smooth finish. This allows the epoxy to adhere well to the surface, thus increasing the overall strength of the finished table.
3.3 Surface finishing
Once you’re done with the edges and the entire wooden surface. For excellent results, use 80 – 220 grit sandpaper and ensure you get rid of dust after every grain. This can be done by hand, but you can also use an orbital sander if you’ve one. Lastly, use a microfiber cloth or vacuum cleaner to get rid of all the sanding dust.
3.4 Roughen the edges
The inner edges should be slightly rough to create the ideal base for bonding with epoxy. You can hand sand this part. Then use a fiber brush/ silicone glue brush to roughen the edges that will come into contact with the epoxy.
Step 4: Create a Mold for Your Tabletop
To contain and cast river pours, you have to build a mold. You can either use some kind of flat board to create the shape or use some resin tape to get the form. Although building one is easy, you need to ensure that it has the same size as the desired table size.
The dimensions of the formwork must be taken accurately!
Regarding the construction materials, look for a flat board like a chipboard or MDF board. For this tutorial, we’ll go with 16mm MDF boards for the sides as well as the underside. Make sure the side panels are around 10mm higher than the desired table.
To bond, the sides to the undersides use screws or hot glue.
If you used screws, the edges may not be 100% tight. That’s why you need to seal them with clear sanitary silicone. When the mold is complete, apply and spread a release agent around its surfaces. This agent prevents the epoxy from adhering to the MDF boards. Best of all, this makes it easy to remove the table when it cures.
To achieve that, apply about 3 layers of Teflon spray/ silicone spray to your mold. Alternatively, you can use a suitable product like a polypropylene sheet. In that case, cut the sheet to create side barriers and a base.
Afterward, stick them around your cast until it’s 100% water-tight. Finally, put the mold on a level surface to keep the resin flat and uniform.
Step 5: Setting Up the Table in the Mold
Now that your mold is finished, put in the pieces of wood and allow for the river channel. Place the wood slabs in their desired position and fix them with parallel clamps.
In some cases, the pieces of wood tend to float as you pour epoxy. To prevent that, weigh them down with workout dumbbells or bricks. However, don’t let these items touch the epoxy as they may stick to it.
Step 6: Determine the Amount of Epoxy Resin You Need
Before you start mixing your epoxy, you need to estimate the quantity your table needs. So, consider things like the length, and depth as well as the average depth of your river. This will help you come up with the estimated volume of resin needed to finish your project.
Step 7: Measure and Mix the Resin
In this step, you’ll need a large bucket that can adequately hold the first epoxy layer. Using separate mixing cups, measure the ideal amount of hardener and resin. Then pour them into the large mixing bucket.
In most cases, the ratio of mixing these components is 1:1. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions to get the precise mixing ratio.
Now, let’s get to the mixing part!
Stir the resin for about 5 – 7 minutes. As I stated earlier, combining these components trigger a chemical reaction. Simply put, the mixture may heat up in this process and even start releasing bubbles. Wait for about 6 minutes for these bubbles to rise to the surface.
Step 8: Color the Resin
At this point, add any dyes/ pigment powder and continue stirring for another minute. But if you want a clear resin table, feel free to skip this stage. On the other hand, if you like colors choose your favorite one and mix it in advance.
Remember, a little color pigment tends to go a long way. For that reason, I suggest that you add a few drops at a time, and then mix the resin thoroughly.
To create a typical blue water look, divide your epoxy into 2 different containers. The solution can be in the ratio of 1:1.5 for the parts.
Color one portion with a blue turquoise pigment and the other part with a matt blue pigment. This, however, doesn’t mean that you can use other pigments. So, feel free to choose other pigments that suit your taste and preference.
Step 9: Pour the Resin and Create Water Effects
Now pour epoxy from both containers into the mold at the same time from one side. As you pour, make circular movements with the containers. This will help you to create the cell or lacing water effects successfully by using a heat gun.
After pouring the solution into the cast, reinforce the pattern with a wooden stick. Then leave the mixture to dry and cure as described by the manufacturer. Remember, the perfect temperature for drying epoxy ranges from 18 to 24 degrees C.
Sometimes the wooden surface can absorb some of the poured epoxies. If that’s the case top up the gaps and overfill them slightly. When it cures fully, level it off with abrasives or use a sander to remove the high spots.
Step 10: Embed Objects for Beautification
If you want to add decorative items to your table, don’t fill the cast in a single pouring as demonstrated above. Instead, you should do it in layers by following these steps;
- Start by pouring the base layer of clear epoxy into the river channel.
- Then pass a heat gun/ propane torch over the poured epoxy for about 4 seconds. Note; heating the layer beyond this duration can cause it to turn yellow.
- Let the first layer dry until feels sticky. This indicates that you can now apply the second layer.
- Pour the second layer and embed your decorative items into the resin.
- Pour the final resin layer slightly above the edge of the mold.
- Lastly, use your propane torch/ heat gun to remove bubbles and leave the resin to cure.
Step 11: De-molding the Table
Poured epoxy can take about 12 to 48 hours to cure. That’s why I advise users to read the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the curing time. Nonetheless, don’t de-mold the casting until the resin has cured completely. Also, make sure that you leave the resin in a dust-free and cool room while curing.
Once the tabletop has cured fully, remove it from the cast. Start by loosening the screws on the cast and detaching the parallel clamps. Then use a chisel and plastic hammer to disassemble it. This process should be done carefully to avoid damaging the tabletop.
Step 12: Sanding and Polishing
If you’ve followed the steps highlighted above, your tabletop will have a very smooth finish. However, that will not always be the case. That’s where the sanding and polishing stage comes after de-molding it.
The easiest way to sand the epoxy tabletop is to use an eccentric grinder. Alternatively, you can sand by hand or with an orbital sander. But before you sand the surface, smoothen the edges with a router. Then sand the entire surface with 80 to 400 grit sandpaper.
Sanding the river tabletop isn’t enough though! That’s why you need to polish the finished surface as well. This will protect the wood and give it a shiny, lustrous finish. However, there are some materials you’ll need for this process.
You’ll need; 600- 1500 grit polishing paper, a polishing tool, and a polishing compound.
Apply the scratch remover (polishing compound) all over the sanded tabletop. Then move the polishing wheel along the surface in a circular manner. Wet polish the surface with the 600-grit sandpaper and move your way up to the 1500-grit sandpaper.
By the time you get to the 1500-grit polishing paper, the surface will be smooth and shiny. Lastly, clean the tabletop to remove all the dust and remaining grit.
Step 13: Set Up the Table Legs
Seeing that you’ve come this far, you can now mount legs to your epoxy blue river tabletop. To make things even better, there are various leg options you can choose for your table. For instance, you can attach 4 individual legs or use small wood slabs.
Regardless of the legs, you intend to use, the process of installing them to the tabletop is the same. So, follow these steps;
- Carefully measure the tabletop and mark off the legs.
- Determine how the table will stand and mark the position of the mounting holes.
- Measure twice and pre-drill the holes.
- Insert the legs into the mounting holes. Then bond the joints with epoxy adhesive.
- Support and clamp the entire table into place and leave it to cure fully.
Again, as I mentioned at the start of this guide, anyone can create an epoxy river table. Better still, there are many techniques you can use to achieve that. However, with the following steps above, hopefully, I’ve inspired you a little more.
And now, I believe you feel a little more confident. So yeah, go give it a try, and don’t forget to mention me if you’re stuck at any point.
Stay safe during this hard time of the pandemic!
1. How much epoxy resin is required for a river table?
River tables have different shapes and sizes. Similarly, different tables need varying quantities of epoxy resin. To determine the amount you need for your project, measure the width, depth, and length of the river channel.
2. How do I make a river table?
Before you can even think of making an epoxy river table, make sure you’ve epoxy and wooden planks. Then move on to build a cast to hold the wood slabs and contain epoxy. Pour resin into the river channel, let it harden, and then de-mold it. Finally, sand/ polish the table and install the legs.
3. Are tree discs useful to create a resin table?
Tree discs can also be used to make a beautiful and unique resin table. However, the wood should be seasoned and dried completely.
4. Can you embed led lights into the resin table?
There are many techniques you can use to customize your epoxy tabletop. For instance, you can mold LED lighting into the epoxy tabletop. If you decide to do that, use superior lights and fix the connectors appropriately. Also, monitor the temperature of the solution to prevent the lighting from melting.
5. How do I calculate the cost of a resin river table?
The cost of building a resin river table depends on various factors. For instance, if you’ve to buy every item needed to make one, the cost will be very high. But if you’ve most of the items, you can build one for less than $500. On the other hand, if you decide to buy one, the cost will be between $2,000 and $5,000.