You can find random pieces of tree branches and turn them into something as cool as these resin coasters!
These came out great, and it was a fun experience! You can take this concept and add to it, if you want to make them more unique. In the video, I experiment with two different approaches, I took what I thought was best from each and put it into words. I hope you find this post helpful and I’d love to hear any feedback you may have.
Epoxy Used: Casting Epoxy: https://www.countertopepoxy.com/fx-casting-resin/?aff=3
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Step 1: Gather Materials
I used two random pieces of a tree branch. Since I got them from an empty lot, I cut them down to size and then placed them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Next, I set up the bandsaw to cut these approximately a 1/4-inch thick.
Step 2: Making the Mold
There are many ways to go about this one. The overall shape boils down to what is most appealing to you. I used a 5-inch PVC pipe. This seems like a reasonable size. I set up a stop at my miter saw to make repeatable cuts. I didn’t have a specific height, but these were 3/4-inch thick.
Next, you’ll want to use a piece of Melamine or white hardboard as your work surface. Then, place the PVC pipes on it. Space it out so you can properly wrap the perimeter with silicone. Give it enough time to dry, and then wipe paste wax inside.
Step 3: Mix the Resin
I used casting resin from countertop epoxy . This is a 2:1 mix, two-part resin, and one-part hardener. The mixing instructions are on the bottles and are straightforward. I mixed six ounces of resin. Then, poured that evenly into the mold. This was poured approximately 1/8th-inch thick. Then I let this sit until hardened. (Note: use alcohol to remove the bubbles.)
If you watch, the video you’ll see my experiment. The problem I ran into in this stage was the piece of wood floated to the top during the second pour. I haven’t tried this, but “CA Glue” may be a great solution to hold the wood in place while the second pour is being made. Epoxy resin is also a great adhesive. I would recommend mixing a small amount (a tablespoon) to adhere the wood to the first layer.
Step 4: Final Pour
Assuming the previous step has been addressed, mix up a new container of resin. Six to eight ounces should be fine. Now, pour the resin on top. Make sure you’re working on a leveled surface and be sure to remove any bubbles for best results. The overall thickness of the coasters is around 3/8th of an inch.
Step 5: Sanding
Remove the coasters from the molds. I must state that you should be careful -- the resin is very sharp and could easily cut. I wanted to maintain the glass like clarity on the top. I used masking tape to cover the top as I sanded the side and bottom. I liked the frosted look on the outside. To get the final finish, I used 120-grit, 220-grit, and finally, 320-grit sandpaper.
Step 6: Glamour Shots
Here is the finish version. I’d love to hear what you think about this one. I think these are a great project to do with kids, and could be the perfect handmade gift for the holidays.