During the last six months we've added a new family member to our household, a sweet beagle puppy we named Mrs. Bananas. Trey's sister, Michelle, had a beagle with a litter. Mrs. Bananas was the very last puppy still in need of a good home, and Trey and I just couldn't resist! Anyway, the first few months she went through a bit of a chewing phase, to say the least. We are through that now, but some of our furniture is a little worse for wear. One item that suffered more than others was our coffee table. Mrs. Banana's just loved chewing up the legs of that table! It had been a hand-me-down from Rachel to Elsie to me, so I guess it was just its time to go. I've been wanting to make an epoxy resin table for some time now, so I figured this was my opportunity. So as a part of our Canon USA collaboration I created this photo-heavy epoxy resin coffee table.
Most of the time when I see these types of tables, people will add pennies or bottle caps to a tabletop and seal it with epoxy resin so the surface is smooth and hard. I've also seen a few with old (vintage photos) or with sealed-in menus (I saw one like this at a bar in Nashville last year). I decided to use personal photos along with some thin-sliced geodes I purchased locally. Since these photos would be highly visible on a coffee table in our living room, I decided I wanted to use personal photos with an abstract feel. I used a few photos from our engagement and wedding as well as some from different places we've visited together (including San Francisco, Hawaii, and even our hometown). I printed my photos on 13" x 19" paper using our Canon PRO-100.
We created a video of how we made our epoxy resin tabletop. I watched a lot of different videos online while I was researching different types of epoxy resin products and procedures. Most of the videos I found either didn't explain the process well (usually they felt too vague and left me with a lot of questions), or they were exceptionally long and made the process seem way more difficult than I found it needed to be. Once I tried it I found it really wasn't that difficult! So I kept this in mind as we worked to create our video.
DIY Epoxy Resin Coffee Table
-table with 1/4" (or less) lip around all the edges (I wanted to use an older, found table but I never found one that fit our space AND had a lip around the edge. So Josh made me this super simple table over a weekend so it's the exact size I wanted to fit our space.)
-photos and objects you want sealed in the table (make sure the objects are not taller than the lip of your table)
-spray adhesive or glue
-glaze coat pour-on high gloss epoxy resin* (the brand we used was from Famowood)
-disposable paper, plastic cups, or small pitchers
-disposable stir stick (I used part of a leftover dowel rod)
-disposable gloves (you may also want to wear an apron and safety goggles)
-drop cloth to cover your work area, in case of spills or drips
-masking or painter's tape
-small, handheld propane torch (I used a kitchen torch)
*The amount of epoxy resin you'll need depends on how large and deep the area you are covering is. My coffee table is 4' x 5" x 16" with a 3/8" depth (from the tabletop to the top edge of the lip). I used 1 gallon and 2 quarts of the epoxy resin coating.
Step One: Prepare your tabletop. If you're using a found table, make sure to lightly sand and clean the surface where the epoxy will be poured. You'll also want to tape off the edges. The tape will prevent the epoxy resin from oozing out of any cracks or edges while it hardens.
Step Three: Plan design. Move your photos and objects around on the tabletop until you have a design you love. For any photos or papers use a light coat of spray adhesive or glue to set them in place. You don't want them to float or bubble up during the epoxy resin pouring process, so make sure they are securely in place now.
Step Four: Mix the epoxy resin. Follow the instructions, as some products will differ from others. The instructions from the brand I used had me mix the resin and hardener together in two disposable containers for four minutes, in each container. Whatever mixing duration your instructions include, be sure to follow them. During this stage you'll want to wear gloves, apron, and possibly safety goggles (or glasses) to protect yourself from these chemicals. You also need to work in a well-ventilated space. I worked near two large windows that I opened during this step, as these chemicals give off a strong smell. Be careful if it's a windy day since you don't want particles floating into your epoxy once poured.
Step Five: Pour the mixed epoxy resin over the countertop, taking care not to add too much; otherwise it can overflow the edges. My instructions suggested only mixing one to two quarts at a time so I had to repeat this process multiple times. If you are adding more epoxy resin (in layers), try to pour in circles or lines and avoid pouring in large clumps over one area; this will help the mixture to ooze into the proper place. If you find you don't have enough epoxy resin, allow your first coat to cure overnight before adding more the next day. Do not add more to a coat that is only partially cured as this can result in uneven drying, causing imperfections in your surface. If in doubt, call the technical support listed in the instructions (I did!).
Step Six: Use a small propane torch to remove any bubbles in the surface. You might feel inclined to skip this step because you don't want to buy a torch. As I mentioned above, I used a kitchen torch, and it made a HUGE difference in the final look of my table. You could also use a heat gun instead of torch. Any of these options will do, but don't skip this step!
Once the surface has cured for at least 24-48 hours (although 72 is recommended), you're ready to start using your new table! Be sure to keep it free from dust or other particles while it's drying. And it's a good idea to press your finger into an edge of the table before placing anything heavy on it, just to make sure yours is, indeed, fully dry. Not too bad, right? Thanks for letting me share our new coffee table with you. xo. Emma
Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography and Video by: Sarah Rhodes. Video music by: Jeremy Larson. Coffee table structure built by: Josh Rhodes. Photos edited with Imogen from the Folk Collection.