Do you know how to work with epoxy resin? DIY epoxy resin table projects are a great way to get started. DIY river tables with epoxy resin are also possible but do require more specific woodworking skills. However, if you are looking for some top tips on cutting or working with epoxy resin then this blog post is for you!
Can I use epoxy resin on wood projects?
Yes, you can use epoxy resin with your wood projects, but we recommend that you first seal the wood properly. All you have to do is apply a thin coat or coats of clear epoxy with your brush on the wood surface that you will later pour your resin. This will prevent the air in the pores to create bubbles down the line. Just about any type of wood project that requires some sort of finish or coating can be combined with epoxy resin. As you have probably seen on social media, epoxy can be used in hundreds of different ways. Whether it be an epoxy resin cutting board or a beautiful epoxy river table, the sky is the limit.
Woodworking epoxy is most commonly used for wood countertops, wood tabletops and designs, wood cabinets, wood bar tops, wooden cutting boards, wooden coasters, and more. Epoxy resin can be used in so many different ways. Grab your gloves and get creative!
Best epoxy resin for woodworking
Make sure when buying your epoxy that you get the right type for your woodworking project. When buying wood epoxy, you should consider how much wood epoxy resin is needed for the woodworking project, how long it needs to dry (especially if planning on doing wood countertops with woodwork seams or a DIY Epoxy Resin Table), and how many coats are required (more about this further down).
There are several different types of epoxy resins available; some which harden faster than others, some that give a more glass-like texture, and some which require mixing before use. Some can even be colored with pigments, while others can't. Make sure you know what type of epoxies will work best for your intended wood work pattern or design.
Looking for epoxy resin wood projects? Head over to our Mixed Mediums blog post to see a few from industry leaders: Mixed Mediums: Wood x Epoxy Resin.
MakerPoxy woodworking epoxy
Our top pick is MakerPoxy Crystal Clear Artist's Resin by Jess Crow, which can be found at Total Boat or Amazon in a variety of sizes including 8 oz, pint, quarter and gallon. Out of 66 reviews, 86 percent of respondents would recommend this product to a friend and overall it has a rating of 4.7/5.
Here are some benefits of MakerPoxy:
- Glass-like, crystal clear, scratch-resistant finish
- Can be tinted with concentrated liquid pigments, opaque pigments, alcohol inks, and mica powder pigments
- Simple 1:1 mix ratio
- Extended working time is ideal for larger pours – up to 60 minutes at 77°F
- UV-resistant formula protects against yellowing and fading
- Low-VOC, low-odor formula is great for indoor use
- BPA-free formula ideal for finished projects with potential food contact
- Made in the USA
This super easy to use epoxy resin is perfect for beginners and will make your first DIY epoxy project one for the books.
How to properly use epoxy resin
What you'll typically need:
- Epoxy resin of your choice
- Protective gloves
- Protective eyewear
- Protective clothing
- Clean, dry mixing cups, bowls, or gallon bucket
- Mixing stick(s), wooden preferred
- Protective tarp, floor covering, or poly sheeting
- Plastic resin spreader/brush
- Heat gun or hair dryer
Makers prepping work station for epoxy project
Preparing epoxy resin for a project
Prep your well ventilated work area by cleaning and drying your work surface in a well ventilated area. Ensure you are working on a level surface. Place your poly sheeting, floor covering, and/or protective tarp before beginning your project. Put on your protective gear, including your eyewear, gloves, clothes, and mask if using.
Next, prepare your epoxy resin following product and manufacturer's instructions, as directions vary from product to product. If using MakerPoxy, measure by volume or weight. If measuring by volume and using MakerPoxy, pour one part resin and 1 part hardener. If measuring by weight and using MakerPoxy, follow these five steps:
- MakerPoxy has a mix ratio by weight of 100A:84B.
- Select grams on your scale.
- Place your mixing cup on the scale and zero out the weight.
- Add the desired amount of resin (Part A).
- Determine the amount of hardener (Part B) by multiplying the gram weight of the resin x .84. For example, if you pour 45g of resin, you would multiply 45g x .84 to get the amount of hardener to add, which is 37.8g.
Artist mixing resin in a plastic cup with a wooden stick
How to properly mix epoxy resin
Before you start woodworking with epoxies it's best to get familiar with the mixing process. If following the MakerPoxy preparation, slowly stir for three to five minutes. It is recommended to mix only as much as you can apply in a 20 minute period, but the total working time for MakerPoxy is 60 minutes. The key in properly mixing epoxy resin is to avoid creating air bubbles, so stir very slowly. If you mix quickly, for example whipping it, you will create more bubbles.
Next, grab your second clean and dry mixing cup, bowl or bucket. Pour mixture into second apparatus and stir for an additional two to three minutes, slowly to prevent air bubbles. If you follow these simple steps when mixing wood epoxies then this should be an easy woodworking project for you.
Artist stirring blue dye in a plastic cup with epoxy resin
Adding pigments to epoxy resin
To color epoxy resin, adding pigments is a great option. Use smaller clean, dry mixing cups to create multiple colors. Pour a small amount of premixed epoxy into your smaller cups and stir, slowly, to thoroughly combine. Start by adding smaller amounts of pigments and increase until desired color is reached.
Artist pouring epoxy resin
How to pour epoxy resin
Before pouring, determine whether or not you need to apply a thin seal of clear, mixed epoxy to your surface(s). Delicate objects, such as photographs, may need to be sealed before embedding. Use a brush to apply a thin seal to desired objects, then pour epoxy onto desired surface. You can pour and overcoat as desired in layers, alternating with the resin bubble popping method below.
How to get rid of resin bubbles
Naturally, air bubbles in epoxy rise to the surface. After your pour, wait 10 minutes to let bubbles rise. The best way to get rid of resin bubbles is using a torch or heat gun; however, if you do not have one available, a hair dryer can also get the job done. Waving the heat gun, torch or hair dryer quickly across the epoxy resin for a few seconds can pop air bubbles. The quicker you get rid of bubbles the better.
A heat gun can be great for getting rid of pesky surface level air bubbles; however, it will be more challenging for it to reach those at or near the bottom of your mold. This can be remedied by removing resin bubbles in batches and applying smaller layers at a time. The same goes for a hairdryer. Hair dryers have a maximum temperature of around 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will be harder to reach and eliminate those resin bubbles further down.
Curing epoxy resin
The MakerPoxy curing time for a full cure is between five and seven days. Read your products instructions to identify curing times, as they can vary from product to product. Be sure to allow your project to cure in a
Epoxy resin pro tips
There are some pro tips that are very important to ensuring success when working with epoxy resin:
- Resin is heat sensitive. Warm, not hot, conditions are critical, apply in temperatures between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do not place items on epoxy that are hotter than 110 degrees Fahrenheit, as they can damage, distort and discolor your hard work. This is standard for most epoxy resin cured at room temperature.
- Use a slow resin if the cure time is too quick
- It is critical to prevent water from entering your epoxy liquid in both the mixing and curing stages.
How to cut epoxy resin
Cutting epoxy resin, especially when combined with woodworking, is commonplace. The key to successfully cutting resin is to do it slowly to prevent cracking and sanding afterwards to create a smooth, polished edge. If using a circular saw for cutting 1 inch thick cured epoxy, make three to four passes instead of one pass.