Resin craft is a fun activity that gives DIYers limitless decorative opportunities. And, creating beautiful coasters is one of them! They’ll protect the tabletop, countertops, and other surfaces you use to put a hot coffee mug, water bottle, teacups, and what not! All thanks to their versatility, durability, and ability to protect the surface from any kind of damages. But, when it comes to creating these decorative pieces, you’ll need to be a bit more careful!
Remember, normal epoxy coasters don’t have high-temperature tolerance. Most epoxies can only resist heat ranging from 120-140°F. So avoid using them under temperatures higher than that. Otherwise, consider using a higher heat-resistant resin for your coasters making as reviewd on this home improvement blog.
Steps of Making Resin Coasters
So, how do you make epoxy coasters? If that’s the question in your mind, you’re on the right path! Coasters are created by pouring epoxy into a mold. So, considering the design/ shape you choose, you come up with something unique. So, this process starts with choosing the types of casting molds.
Types of Resin Casting Coaster Molds
You can either buy a pre-shaped silicone casting or create one yourself. For beginners, the best option to use is a pre-shaped casting. Even better, these types of casting are intended for use with epoxy resin. They are also durable and create high-quality, polished coasters. Alternatively, you can pour the resin into a smooth, shallow container. After it cures fully, cut the resin into your desired shape. Either way, the use of silicone epoxy casting is the easiest option. It provides better results, not to forget that you can use them repeatedly. There are various designs and shapes for caster castings. They include; Symbolic shapes (flowers, hearts), and basic shapes (Oval, square, round). But you can find irregular shapes and multi-faced shapes (octagons/ hexagons) as well.
With your desired mold, let’s get into the pouring and shaping process –
Step 1: Gather Materials
Apart from moldings, what do you need to make resin coasters? Well, there are many other materials you’ll need to undertake this project. Luckily, some kits come with everything you need to get started. We mean everything, including the necessary items and tools. You’ll also get a hardener and resin. These are the most important components for making epoxy coasters. Some kits even come with scrapers, stir sticks, measuring/ mixing cups, and more.
Step 2: Preparation
Now that you have got the entire material ready, start by reading the instructions on the resin kit. Make sure you observe these instructions. Always wear a respirator, gloves, and protective gloves before you start the project.
It’s also important to ensure that you’re working in a well-ventilated room. Moreover, use a mat or drop cloth to cover the work area. This will make it easy to clean up the mess if any spillage occurs.
You should also note that the ideal temperature for making epoxy coasters is 22 to 23 degrees C (72–74 degrees F). Spray the castings with a release product and use a brush/ gloved finger to cover the entire surface. After that, leave it for about 30 minutes to dry.
Step 3: Mix Your Hardener and Resin
Before you open your epoxy, put it in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes. This prevents the formation of bubbles when mixing it with the hardener. Moreover, this reduces the working time but increases its curing time.
Once you’ve done that, measure your resin and hardener with 2 different disposable cups. Then pour them into a larger cup. Usually, both components are mixed in the ratio of 1;1. For instance, if you need 200ml of resin, measure 100ml of hardener and 100ml of resin. However, this will depend on the depth and size of the castings you’re working with.
Using a mixing stick, stir the mixture thoroughly until the solution appears clear. This can take about 2 to 3 minutes. Also, as you stir, scrape the mixing cup’s bottom and sides. This reduces the number of bubbles formed.
Step 4: Color Your Mixture
There are various types of coloring that you can use on the resin. The common ones are; special epoxy dyes, alcohol ink, and color pigments. Regardless of the color you choose, make sure it can work with the epoxy you’re using. Also, make sure the amount of colorant you add is less than 6% of the epoxy mixture, in terms of volume. After adding the colorant, stir the mixture thoroughly, until you get a uniform shade.
Step 5: Pour the First Layer of Epoxy
Clean the silicone casting to remove any debris/ dust. Then pour a small amount of the mixture into your molds. Tip the castings from side to side to coat their bottoms uniformly. At this stage, make sure the resin covers about 1/8” of the mold’s bottom. This layer acts as an adhesive for the objects you want to embed.
Step 6: Embed Items
After pouring the first layer of epoxy, it’s time to embed items into each casting. Bottle caps and coins are some of the popular things you can use. The positioning and location of these items are all up to you. However, you’ve to consider the top side of the coaster while placing them. If the topside is facing you, embed the objects facing upwards. Once you put them in the ideal position, press them gently into the casting. This prevents them from turning over when pouring the final layer of resin.
Step 7: Pour-On an Additional Epoxy Mixture
Once you’ve embedded items into your molds, leave the first layer for about 4 hours to cure. When it feels tacky to the touch, pour the final coat of resin until you fill-up the molds. If any of the embedded items float, push them down with the stir stick. Make sure every item is fully submerged. However, you should avoid overfilling the castings.
Step 8: Remove Bubbles
Using a toothpick or heat gun, pop any air bubble in the epoxy. Don’t hold the heat gun in one area for long. Instead, keeps it moving around to encourage all bubbles to move up. Some heat tools you can use include; an artist torch, Bunsen burner, or a hot air dryer.
Step 9: Allow Curing
Cover up your castings with a dust cover and leave them to cure. This prevents dust and other contaminants from settling on the curing epoxy. Epoxies have different curing times. Some take about 24 hours to cure, while others take 48 to 72 hours. To be certain, check the recommended curing time on the manufacturer’s instructions. As you wait for the coasters to cure, check them frequently to prevent the formation of new bubbles.
Step 10: Unmold the Coasters
After leaving the molds for the recommended curing time, it’s time to check if they’re fully cured or not. If the castings are still bending and flexible, they’ve not cured completely yet. So, give them more time to cure! When you’re certain they’ve cured fully, lightly bend the molds until they release your coasters. Provided you had used a release agent, they’ll come out effortlessly. This will also extend the useful life of the castings.
Step 11: Polish Your Coasters
In most cases, coasters made with silicone molds have a glossy finish. But if they come out dull or with light scratches, you need to polish them. To do that, you can wet sand them or use fine-grit sandpaper. By the time you’re done sanding them, they should have smooth and even surfaces.
Resin coasters are mainly used for decorative and functional purposes. They protect countertops and tables from rings and stains caused by glasses and cups and hot coffee mugs.
After going through our guide, we hope that you now know how to make resin coasters. Once you try it out, you’ll find it to be a fun activity. Not forgetting that the task gives you a chance to enhance your creativity. If you’re looking for a fun and exciting hobby, we recommend that you give making resin coasters a try!
1. What does resin not stick to?
Epoxy resin doesn’t stick to Mylar, Teflon, polypropylene, polyethylene, and nylon.
2. How much resin do I need for 4 coasters?
You’ll need about 60ml of epoxy resin to make 4 pieces. But, it should be based on your intended size and shape. If you’re creating large sizes, then you might need more.
3. Is resin poisonous?
Epoxy is poisonous, especially if you breathe in its fumes or swallow them. So, make sure you wear gloves, protective gear, and inhalers when handling it.
4. Why resin coasters become sticky?
They’ll become sticky because of under mixing and inaccurate mixing. This can also occur if it’s cured in low temperatures.
5. Are resin coasters waterproof and heat resistant?
On curing, they’ll be waterproof and heat resistant. However, it will depend on the quality and type of the material you’ve used to create them.
6. How much heat can resin coasters tolerate?
Normal temperature tolerance ranges from 150 to 300 degrees F. Some products might offer you a bit more heat resistance. So, you should always read first before you order your perfect resin.