The creation of interior design of residential or office premises has recently become a separate type of work. The artist should focus on finishing materials, the overall palette, pieces of furniture, decorative elements. At the same time, furniture plays the role of a defining component in the stylization of the interior. With the help of furniture, you can update the design, change its style, create visual effects.
Tables made of epoxy are a relatively new direction in the manufacture of cabinet furniture. They successfully fit into any artistic composition, thanks to their versatility. The spectacular design of the table is able to convey an atmosphere of luxury to the room and bring certain creativity.
Every novice designer wants to risk making a table out of epoxy resin with their own hands. The possibility of implementing such a solution depends on the wishes of the master. Traditionally, it is believed that people who are as close to artistic creativity as possible should be engaged in the manufacture of countertops. But each of us has a lot of undiscovered talents, so the desire to make a homemade table at home is quite feasible.
The chemical composition of epoxy resin is quite complex, it is a multicomponent substance – an oligomer containing epoxy groups. When oligomers are mixed with a hardener, cross-linked polymers are formed. Epoxy resin without an admixture of hardener is represented by a liquid substance with a transparent color. But the shades can vary from white to dark red.
The polymer was invented by Frenchman Pierre Castan in 1936. The new material was patented almost immediately.
Epoxy resin is widely used in aircraft construction, industry, construction, radio engineering and electronics. The space sector should also be included in the list of industries. Resin is actively used in everyday life as an adhesive. In furniture and repair shops, epoxy is preferred as a reliable and practical adhesive composition. At the same time, pure resin is not in demand anywhere. The resin acquires its properties only when mixed with a hardener. Depending on the impurity, it is possible to obtain materials with different indicators of density, strength and rigidity.
The technology of mixing the components and preparing the finished material is specified by the manufacturer in the attached documentation. Usually the resin does not require the creation of special temperature conditions, so you can prepare the mixture without additional equipment. The frozen resin is absolutely safe for health. This allows it to be used in the manufacture of furniture. In the liquid state, the material can cause serious harm to health.
An important point of safety when pouring resin is the presence of protective equipment: gloves, glasses, respirator.
Features of the work
It is not so difficult to make a table made of epoxy resin with your own hands. It’s much harder to sustain the right technology. To do this, you must first get acquainted with the various nuances that can occur in the work of any master.
Note that no special skills are required to work with resin.
It is enough to watch videos of several master classes to master production at an elementary level. A list of tips necessary for a beginner is defined, compiled on the basis of the experience of professionals.
- Precautions must be taken. The eyes, the skin of the hands, the respiratory tract need protection.
- It is not recommended to pour the composition without personal protective equipment.
- If the resin gets on the skin, the affected area should be immediately wiped with a cloth soaked in alcohol.
- If the resin gets into the eyes or on the mucous membrane, it is necessary to contact a medical institution.
- It is recommended to cover the table, workbench or other surface on which the work will be carried out with plastic wrap.
- It is important to monitor the indoor climate. The ambient air should not be humid, and the minimum value of its temperature is 22°C/71.6°F degrees.
- Do not allow moisture to get on decorative elements or into the prepared mixture. Only if water droplets play the role of decoration.
- Under the influence of ultraviolet light, the resin may turn yellowish when solidified. To avoid such a phenomenon, a special substance is added to the mixture – a UV filter.
- The frozen resin is stratified at low temperatures.
- Mix the composition evenly. Otherwise, uncured areas and various spots will occur.
- You can get rid of bubbles by heating the composition with a construction hair dryer.
It is necessary to direct a jet of hot air to the surface of the uncured resin, where there are bubbles that have come out to the surface. A portable gas burner works similarly.
Epoxy resin, which will need to be used for the manufacture or restoration of furniture, and resin used as an adhesive composition are different things. The material for furniture differs in certain physical properties. There are several types of epoxy on sale.
The right choice of resin will allow factors such as budget, transparency of the composition, type of countertop, layer thickness, type of decorative elements. An instruction is attached to each composition, in which the scope of application is clearly defined.
There are many epoxy resins with good properties offered on the market. Their commercial names don’t make much sense. It is necessary to focus on the reviews of people who have already dealt with this or that resin.
Manufacture of a support or frame
The instructions for making a table made of epoxy resin contain step-by-step steps. They are understandable even to novice masters. However, the main focus is on the production of the countertop, but the frame for the table is also an important element.
In furniture practice, the base of the table, on which the tabletop is attached, is also called the floor.
The design and shape of the frame will depend on the size of the countertop. Small decorative tables can have one stand on three or four legs. Writing or dining tables should have a reliable support. Here you can make two wide racks or four regular ones.
As a material, a profile pipe is perfect. The thickness of the metal allows you to work by welding. The assembled design will turn out to be very aesthetic. Special attention should be paid to the support for the countertop. If the countertop is made of resin with the use of a base, then for laying the base, a support is made from a corner along the perimeter of the countertop.
It should be borne in mind that a countertop with an epoxy river weighs enough and needs a serious welded base made of a profile pipe and a larger cross section.
Plywood or laminated chipboard sheets can be used as a base. Their cutting is made according to the geometry of the base. If the table top is cast without a base, then in the manufacture of the table frame, it is necessary to provide for fixing the plate.
Making a mold for pouring
Regardless of whether the countertop will have a base or not, it will be necessary to build a form along its future perimeter. The resin in its original form is fluid. To form a slab, you need to make a formwork. The form can be constructed from edged boards, slats or chipboard. The inside of the material is covered with a film. There are special formulations based on paraffin, but you can use ordinary scotch tape. Strips of adhesive tape are glued in several layers on the sides of the mold. After the resin solidifies, the adhesive tape will be easily torn off from the plate.
After the formwork is ready, it is installed on the base. A gap is formed between the sides and the base, through which the liquid epoxy can flow out. This gap should be sealed with a sealant. But if the future slab of the countertop does not have a base, then the formwork is placed on a table or workbench. The master will face the same problem, so it is recommended to cover the interior with plastic wrap. Ideally, it is desirable to treat the joints with an adhesive gun, but even a conventional plumbing sealant may be quite suitable.
The best coating for a working filling table is sheet fluoroplast. The material is expensive and is used in the industrial production of countertops with rivers.
Preparing the decor
At this stage, you will have to show all your creativity. You can completely fill the countertop plate with resin, but neither beauty nor practicality should be expected from this option. There are many options for decorating countertops. We are interested in a purely technical process. It has certain specifics, depending on the execution of the countertop. Let’s look at the most popular ideas.
A homemade table with a base provides the designer with a huge scope for imagination. Coins, stones, shells, antiques, commemorative photos can be placed on the surface.
There is another variant of execution – a combination of wood and stone. Decorative stone is cut into tiles and laid close to each other. Approximately half of the area is occupied by stone. The remaining half is lined with planks. The originality of the painting will lie in the fact that the plaques can be unprocessed.
Interesting variations are created by a woody array with knots, snags, wormholes. If the table is to be used as a room decor, then you can pour resin so that it covers wood and stone with a thin layer. We leave the natural relief untouched. A smooth surface is formed when completely filled, so it is necessary to lay decorative elements so that they do not protrude beyond the formwork.
As a decoration, you can use a longitudinal section of the tree trunk – a slab. It is valued for its natural pattern. The slab plate does not need to be processed. Its ends should remain intact. The only thing that can be done is to grind the plane, and remove small sawdust. Otherwise, when pouring, suspensions will form in the resin.
If you take two plates and place them at a distance from each other, and fill the formed space with resin of a blue or turquoise shade, you will get a picture resembling a river. Such a design of countertops forms a whole direction and is represented by diverse variations.
Preparation of the composition
From epoxy, you can independently make countertops for a coffee table, a desk, a dining table, a bar. After all the preparatory work comes the turn of the guidance of the composition. In most cases, when buying epoxy resin, you will receive two components. One of them is the resin itself, and the second is the hardener. In the future, these components will react chemically with each other.
It is important to observe the proportion when mixing. It is impossible to specify the ratio of components in the review article. Different manufacturers offer different resin preparation technologies. In any case, you need to read the instructions.
You will need two containers with the ability to measure the volume of the contents. The resin is placed in one container. If desired, add a color. It is necessary to preheat the resin to 35°C/95°F degrees, and then add a color filler. The color should be added exactly before mixing the resin with the hardener.
It is most convenient to warm up a large amount of resin in a conventional microwave oven for 1-20 seconds. The time is selected experimentally.
After applying the hardener to the resin, the solution is mixed. Poorly mixed mixture can give noticeable defects. In the cavity of the countertop plate, areas with non-frozen resin will form. During the preparation of the mixture and during pouring, air bubbles may form. They must be carefully blown out with a construction hairdryer. The resin solution should be prepared immediately before pouring. The mixture has a limited shelf life.
For modern liquid resins for countertops, this period is 3-4 hours. The work of making tables-rivers in general needs thoroughness and unhurriedness.
The viscosity of the material is the main characteristic of the resin. It significantly affects the final result. To choose the right viscosity, you should take into account the type of filling, the type of decor used, the material of decorative elements. According to the viscosity, epoxy resin is conditionally divided into several categories.
- Liquid resin drips off the stick when stirring. It fills all cavities and is great for filling countertops with complex decor items.
- Semi-liquid resin is used to create round countertops.
- It will not work to pour thick resin. It is used in restoration work and in the repair of vertical surfaces. Also, thick epoxy can be used as an adhesive composition.
In some cases, to increase the fluidity of the resin, the masters use special additives. Solvent in the volume of 5% of the amount of the mixture increases the fluidity by 60%. But it is important to remember that this reduces the strength of the composition. When working independently, especially without the necessary skills, it is easier to heat the resin before pouring.
The most important thing is acetone–based additives, they have a pungent smell and increase the danger of work, especially due to the combustibility of such diluents.
You can increase the viscosity by adding wood flour or similar fillers to the composition.
The most crucial stage of work is coming. You should start pouring from the middle of the countertop. When calculating the amount of resin, it is necessary to take into account the consumption of the substance per layer. In no case can the whole mixture be prepared at once, the break between filling layers can reach several days. A well-mixed composition will spread itself under its own weight. But with large areas, it is allowed to fill from the middle to the edges. After the epoxy has reached the formwork, it is leveled with a spatula.
Levelling with a spatula is necessary only for thick compositions. The liquid ones have excellent self-leveling qualities.
An important digression needs to be made. The filling technology depends on the capabilities of the mixture. Detailed information is printed by the manufacturer in the instructions.
Particular attention is paid to voids. It should be monitored so that the resin gets into the cavities and fills them. Bubbles should be dealt with immediately after their appearance. The areas are heated with a hairdryer, and the bubbles themselves disappear. If necessary, various decorative elements are made of high-viscosity resin: drops, lenses, and other figures. When the resin solidifies, dust should not be allowed to enter the material. For this purpose, the countertop is covered with plastic wrap.
Polishing the table
Grinding and polishing are mandatory. After solidification, the resin will become matte. Transparency will appear after careful processing.
After curing almost all transparent liquid resins, the surface remains perfectly polished, but slightly wavy, like shagreen leather. These are the features of the chemical reaction of “crosslinking” of molecules that occurred in the resin. Therefore, in order to achieve a smooth surface, it is impossible to do without grinding and polishing.
First, the plane is sanded with a granular emery, and then with a finer abrasive. The last stage – polishing is carried out with the addition of water. It allows you to carefully process the resin and prevents clogging of the mixture particles between the smallest sections of the abrasive.
Recommended grit sequence of sandpaper – 80, 120, 180, 320, 600, 1000, 1500, 2000. It is impossible to skip the number, it is better, on the contrary, to add intermediate ones.
It is better to apply water immediately, from the 120th or 180th number of the paper. The sandpaper itself must be water-resistant. Due to the large area of the processed river, polishing should be carried out with polishing pastes using special foam rubber circles and polishing machines.
After polishing, the wooden parts, if necessary, can be tinted and covered with varnishes, hard wax or oil to reveal the beauty of the wood pattern. At the same time, it is advisable not to capture the polished surface of the epoxy river with coatings.