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Epoxy resin table build yourself: Step by step guide

They are just totally trendy and everyone wants to have them, Epoxidharz tables are just in great demand. But unfortunately not everyone can afford such a piece of jewelry in the furniture store or even have them made, because they quickly go into the hundreds and thousands of euros. In order to make the dream of one of these jewels possible for you, I have put together a tutorial on how you can make an Epoxidharz table yourself. I explain each step in detail and also what you need in terms of materials and equipment to make a beautiful Epoxidharz table itself.

This trend, like so many others, comes from the USA and is now very popular around the world. Since the table can be made and designed in many different styles, it fits into almost any living or dining room. Whether you live very modern and sober and want to set a highlight with the table or whether you live very luxurious and pompous, the table can be designed according to your existing decor and adapted to it. There are no limits to creativity in the production and your Epoxidharz table will definitely be an eye-catcher.

What is an Epoxy River Table?

These are the Epoxidharz Tische, which are usually completely filled with Epoxidharz in the middle, and the wood can be seen on the right and left, i.e. on the long sides. The name can be derived from the fact that it looks as if the Epoxidharz has flowed through the wood. To give the table the desired shape, epoxy is also filled in at the edges, if this is necessary to obtain the desired shape of the table. Most often, the Epoxidharz is colored to perfectly set off the table and emphasize the dramaturgy of the design.

The contrast of Epoxidharz and wood makes the table a real eye-catcher and can be perfectly matched to the existing furniture by coloring the Epoxidharz. Clear filling with epoxy is also possible, then the filled part is transparent and you can either look at the floor or you give the transparent part an inner life. For example, underwater pictures are very popular, through which then a whole underwater world is poured into the table in the Epoxidharz. There are absolutely no limits to your creativity and the design possibilities are almost endless.

  • Let your creativity run wild and design the table of your dreams
  • Build in elements that make your table unique

I created this tutorial for you because I want to share my enthusiasm for Epoxidharz tables with you. Building an Epoxidharz table yourself is not as difficult as you think and that’s what I want to show you with this tutorial. With this, everyone should be able to enjoy such a beautiful table that will enhance any room and make dinner taste even better. I also want to tell you how I came to build Epoxidharz tables and assure you that you will also create your table project.

At the end of 2017, I saw the first Epoxy River Table and was immediately thrilled! I knew immediately that I wanted to make these gems myself and dared the first experiments. Unfortunately, it was not easy to get high-quality Epoxidharz in Brazil, but after a few months I found a good manufacturer. In the meantime, I run a small business in Brazil that has become known as a quality company and sell exclusive furniture pieces. I want to spare you the frustration I suffered and show you how to build a Epoxidharz table, even as a beginner.

Preparations for the manufacture of an Epoxidharz table

Building a table with Epoxidharz is not difficult, but the first thing you need is wood, preferably natural. Alternatively, you can also use a wooden board cut from a tree trunk, with a thickness of at least 4 cm. Your table will be especially beautiful if the piece of wood still has the so-called “natural edge”, i.e. the tree bark. You can buy such pieces of wood either at a wood dealer, on the Internet or at a good carpenter’s shop. You can also buy two attractive wooden boards at a hardware store and use them. Use a jigsaw to cut them into a slightly curved shape on one side.

Then it’s time for the craftsmanship: because now you start sawing your pieces of wood. Make sure that the wood is sufficiently dry, ideally below 12% moisture content. Then you can cut your piece of wood in half lengthwise with a circular saw and shorten the two resulting pieces of wood to exactly the same length. Make sure that the side edges are at right angles to the straight long sides. If you don’t have a circular saw, have a trusted carpenter do this step. This is the base of your table and therefore a supporting element.

The Epoxidharz table building instructions continue with the planing, i.e. the plates are made flat. The boards must be exactly the same thickness at each point and have a clean surface. If you don’t have a planer at hand, ask your carpenter or wood supplier to do the work. Be sure to work in a clean and dry environment. The perfect temperature for your workspace is 20 degrees. Do not put the epoxy on the floor, because it is always colder than the air and then small bubbles will form that you will not be able to remove.

The DIY Epoxidharz table goes into the next round

The DIY Epoxidharz table goes into the next round and now the bark is removed and the plates are then sanded. The bark is best removed with a chisel. After that, start sanding and start with an 80 grit and work your way up to a 220 grit. Make sure you hold the eccentric sander straight and don’t accidentally sand dents into the tabletops. Remove dust between each sanding and then thoroughly clean the table, first with a vacuum and then with a microfiber cloth.

Then the cracks in the wood and the panels themselves are sealed. For this, you need to make sure that all cracks and porous and uneven areas in the wood Epoxidharz are filled. Use crystal clear resin for this, without any pigments. If you have uneven areas at the edges, you can seal them with tape beforehand so that the Epoxidharz doesn’t run over the edges. Once all the areas are sealed and the resin has cured, you can seal the entire tabletop. You should use a low hairbrush to paint the entire wood.

The sealing prevents the wood from outgassing later. After that, your workpieces must dry again, at least five hours at a temperature of 18 to 24 degrees Celsius, depending on the resin. The places where the “river” will be later, you need to roughen the resin with sandpaper, so that it will later bond better with the cast resin. It’s really important to be patient and let the resin cure completely and then roughen it thoroughly. Otherwise you will see the individual layers and you want to avoid that at all costs.

Building the mold/formwork

Use MDF boards to build a formwork the length of your wood pieces and the width you want your table to have later. Use 15 mm thick MDF boards for the edges and the underside and make them at least 10 mm higher than the tabletop will be later. Work very carefully so that the Epoxidharz does not run out of the mold later. Fix the sides with screws or hot glue. To make the mold 100% tight, seal the edges with sanitary silicone. Under no circumstances should Epoxidharz be able to flow out of your mold.

Next, you need to apply a release agent so that the tabletop can be removed from the mold after curing. If you don’t, it will be very difficult to remove from the MDF. Use either duck tape to line the entire mold or liquid release wax. Alternatively, a silicone or Teflon spray would work, but you would need to apply at least three coats. Your mold must be absolutely in the water, use a level and make sure of this, otherwise your tabletop will be crooked later, which you certainly don’t want.

  • Clean work is essential in all steps of the process
  • Pay at least as much attention to the shape as you do to your wood pieces

Let’s move on to the next step and attach the wood to the mold. To do this, place it in the mold exactly as you would like it to be later in the table. Then attach the wooden plates to the mold with parallel clamps so that they cannot slip. To prevent the resin from spreading over the entire tabletop, you can apply sanitary silicone along the river edge at a distance of one to two centimeters. The distance allows you to fill in the resin cleanly and still prevent it from spilling over the edges.

Next, we prepare the casting of the Epoxidharz it. Calculate the amount you need in the calculator I provide here. Too little or too much mixed Epoxidharz is annoying either for your project or your wallet. A proper calculation is therefore elementary. Enter all measurements and then mix only as much epoxy as you will actually need to cast your tabletop. You can also calculate the amount of hardener in the calculator. This means that there are no more unknowns in the project.

Epoxidharz Make table yourself

Let’s start working with the Epoxidharz, but Safety First! Be sure to wear nitrile gloves, safety glasses and respiratory protection. Now grab a bucket large enough to hold the entire amount of Epoxidharz you need, or at least large enough for the first coat. Both the epoxy and the hardener should be at the same temperature for optimal mixing. Now look at the manufacturer’s instructions for the maximum thickness you can pour the resin. If you pour too much at once, it will start to boil and become cloudy and unusable.

There is special epoxy that you can pour all at once, otherwise please stick to the maximum thickness and work in layers. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended mixing ratio to the letter and mix the components thoroughly. It is best to use a mixer attachment on your drill to ensure thorough mixing. Finished mixing? Then grab your hot air gun or Bunsen burner and remove the bubbles from the resin. Please torch as little as possible and don’t heat it up to avoid damaging the epoxy.

So let’s finally get to the decorative part of your project. Coloring the resin and creating the water effect. I recommend you use the Epoxidharz resin, which you can pour in all at once. However, this effect can also be achieved in several layers. Once the resin and hardener are thoroughly mixed, you can add the pigments. For the spectacular water effect, color the smaller part in a matte blue pigment and the larger part in a turquoise metallic pigment.

The casting of the Epoxidharzes

Now pour the contents of both buckets alternately or simultaneously from both sides or from one side each into your mold, thus creating the flow. To achieve the best water effect, pour the pigments into the mold in circular motions. Especially do this with the turquoise metallic pigment to get the best result. Once all the resin is in the mold, you can now refine the pattern in the resin. To do this, take a wooden stick and change or enhance the cast grain.

Want to make your table glow? It is possible to equip your Epoxidharz table with LED lighting. If you want to do this, now is the time to place the LED tape in the still liquid Epoxidharz resin. Make sure that the switch does not sink and does not come into contact with the resin. Now it’s time for a little patience. Let the resin of your table cure in peace and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Better an hour too much than even a minute too little, because you’ll destroy all your work.

Let’s talk about the possible gimmicks, such as a River Table with crystal clear resin and embedded objects. To do this, fill in the first layer of crystal clear resin and heat it briefly with the hot air dryer. Never stay in one place for more than three seconds, otherwise the resin will become cloudy and yellowish. Pour the second layer of epoxy into the mold when the first layer has not yet completely hardened, but is also no longer liquid. You check this by lightly touching the Epoxidharz with your glove, if it feels like the inside of the tape, then it is perfect.

If you missed this moment, then let the resin cure completely, sand it with 220 grit and then pour the second layer. If you want to embed objects such as pebbles or crystals in the resin, do it now. Please don’t do it before, otherwise your decorative elements will just sink in, which would be a shame. Once you have placed all the parts, pour the second layer of resin. Be sure to work quickly so that it doesn’t harden too much and then not bond properly and you can see the layers later.

The tension rises – releasing the plate from the mold

Loosen all the screws on your mold and remove any parallel clamps that you have inserted. Take a plastic hammer and a chisel and then very carefully release your tabletop from the mold so that it is not damaged during the process. If you like, you can now smooth your edges to perfection, using a router or circular saw. Then it’s time to sand the hardened and released tabletop. Use your eccentric sander again for this, if at hand. You can also use a regular sander, just make sure you sand very evenly over the entire surface.

Start with 80 grit sandpaper and work your way up to 400 grit. It is important that no resin is visible on the wood. The shinier you want the surface of your tabletop to be, the finer sandpaper you will need to use. There is also the possibility to polish Epoxidharz. For this, you need to wet sand your tabletop, which is possible with a special sandpaper and water. Start with 120 grit and work your way up to 3000 grit sandpaper. Prepare a container with water or a spray bottle filled with water.

Now dip the sandpaper into the water and start the actual polishing process in circular movements. The water on your workpiece will become cloudy during the sanding process. It is essential to wipe off this cloudy water between the individual sanding processes so that you do not scratch the epoxy. Keep in mind at this point that you will not be able to even out any unevenness with a finer grit. Check your tabletop beforehand to make sure that it is completely flat and free of rough scratches. Experience has shown that the corners tend to be sanded more. Apply less pressure to the corners to avoid this.

The finer the grain, the less you will be able to see sanding marks. Then the last step is to wipe the remaining water off the tabletop and you have a shiny table. Sometimes you will have a very smooth and shiny tabletop right after pouring. If this is the case, then you can go straight to polishing the resin and skip the first step of wet sanding. This is best done with a silicone mold, but they are very challenging for non-professionals. So expect that you will not be able to avoid wet sanding.

The finish

The easiest method for the finish is to oil the Epoxidharz tabletop now. Oiling gives the tabletop less of a high gloss, but the surface will look more even and your tabletop will have a more natural feel. At this point I highly recommend the oil from Odie, with which I have had only the best experiences over the last few years. The natural look and the excellent haptics speak very much for this product. With this oil it is also enough that you apply only one layer and save yourself several processes.

Keep in mind that oiling will make the wood darker. However, the advantage is that it develops greater resistance and is therefore less susceptible to scratches, which can occur in everyday life. Apply the oil evenly over the entire tabletop using a lint-free and soft cloth. Before you do that, however, you should buff your tabletop with a polishing machine and polishing compound, especially where the River is. This will eliminate any sanding marks and give you a great shiny finish. Decide on a finish and successfully complete your Epoxidharz table project.

Epoxidharz Build table yourself – The surface

To get a shiny surface, I’ll tell you another DIY trick. Because you can coat or pour over your tabletop with clear resin. To do this, start with the underside of your tabletop. To do this, take tape and apply it one to two inches overhanging all around the table on all four sides. It will act as a barrier to keep any drips from sticking to your table. Pour the resin over the entire surface and spread it evenly with a plastic spatula. Grab your heat gun so you can avoid bubbles from forming.

However, only torch the entire surface very briefly and make sure that you do not overheat the epoxy at any point. Again, the three seconds applies, but less is more before you ruin your masterpiece in the final step. Then let the epoxy cure completely. I strongly recommend that you pour a second coat of resin, because the first coat is just a base. For this, you need to sand the entire surface so that the layers can bond well and then pour another layer of resin over your tabletop.

Once everything is well cured, you can work on the top of your tabletop. The procedure is similar to the bottom side, but you should now mask 5 cm wide to avoid any risk. Be sure to protect the underside from scratches and place a fleece between your tabletop and the trestles. Make sure that the tabletop is absolutely in the water so that you don’t introduce any unevenness that wasn’t there before. Now pour the resin over the entire tabletop and let it flow over the table edges as well. Spread it evenly with a plastic spatula.

After the Epoxidharz is well cured, you can remove the tape and use a sandpaper to remove the hard edges on the bottom. It’s best to do this by hand, as you’ll have the most control over the sandpaper. With that, your Epoxidharz DIY table project is almost complete. Now your table top needs matching table legs. Here again, there are no limits to your creativity. Either you take a matching wood or any metal that fits the design and your other furnishings. Everything is possible that can be fastened.

Select and attach the right table legs

In order to attach your chosen table legs to your tabletop, you will need to prepare and machine the underside of the tabletop accordingly. First of all, it depends on what kind of table legs you have chosen and how they need to be attached. Another aspect to consider is whether your tabletop is completely transparent, and therefore you can see the attachment of your table legs. So when buying, you need to consider that the table legs, although very sturdy, which are connected to each other by metal on the side of the table top, can destroy the look.

That’s why I recommend you to use individual table legs, the fastening of which is not visible from above. In addition, I will explain to you how to embed the fastening of the table legs into the wood to such an extent that neither the fastening nor the screws can be seen from the side. Then nothing will stand in the way of choosing metal table legs with a plate for fastening. In preparation, please put a thin mat on your table so that your tabletop does not get scratched during the work. For this you also need to make sure that there is no dust or other dirt on the mat.

Now you need to decide where exactly you want to place your table legs. As a rule of thumb, half the width of the table should be the minimum distance between the table legs. So if your table is 100 cm wide, then the table legs must be at least 50 cm apart. Conversely, this means that you then have 25 cm on each side until you get to the table leg. At the front, you should have a distance of 30 to 40 cm, so that you can sit comfortably at the table and the table legs do not interfere with eating.

Now you need to draw the measurements on the underside of the tabletop. Usually you have a small ruler on your level that you can set up at a right angle. Hold the level against the edge of the tabletop, make sure the ruler is set at a right angle (90 degrees), and then make the first mark. It’s best to use a pencil for this, then you can correct mistakes if necessary. Now move to the next side of the table and make the next mark, continuing until you have four marks. One mark for each table leg.

Make table yourself – assemble table legs

Now take your table legs, place them on your marks and paint the drill holes. Then use your drill. Pre-drill the holes with a thin drill bit, then you will have it easier later with the right drill bit. Pre-drill all the holes and then change the drill bit. Then drill all the holes with the correct thickness drill bit. Now the question is whether you want to use threaded sockets or not. First of all, it is stable, even if you only use SPAX screws, I recommend threaded sockets if the table is frequently assembled and disassembled.

If you decide to use threaded sleeves, insert them now and screw them into the drill holes with an Allen key. Then you can screw your table legs individually with the corresponding screw into the threaded sleeve. If you use only SPAX screws, you can screw the table legs directly into the pre-drilled holes. As said, it does not affect the stability. The only danger when assembling and disassembling is that the wood frays and the screws overtighten when they are screwed in again. That is, they no longer hold properly and your table will wobble.

If you do not want to be able to see your screws and also the plate for fastening the table legs from the side, then you must countersink them. To do this, use your drill again, put on an appropriately sized milling head and mill as deep as the thickness of the mounting plate and a little more for the screw heads. Then you can pre-drill the holes for fixing the table legs as described before and then drill them properly. Also in this variant you can use threaded sockets if you want, but again it is not a must.

No matter which variant you choose, please pay attention to the length of the screws! You definitely want to avoid having the tip of your screw showing at the top of the tabletop. To be sure, you can hold the screw against the edge of the table. If there is at least three millimeters of space left, then you can use these screws. Never try to force a screw, because you can cause damage to the table and injure yourself. Also, the head of your screw could become unusable, which are avoidable scenarios.

The material

For casting the tabletop, I can recommend Resinpal 1717-N3. It is a very high quality Epoxidharz and was specially developed for casting Epoxidharz tables. You can cast up to a layer height of 10 cm without having to let the layers dry in between. The resin is crystal clear, UV-stabilized and is matched to the combination with wood. Resinpal 1717-N3 has hardly any odor and also hardly shrinks during curing. It takes about 72 hours for the epoxy to cure completely. The mixing ratio is 100 parts resin and 45 parts hardener.

For the crystal clear sealing of the surface of your tabletop, I recommend Resinpal 2416. This resin is also crystal clear and ideally suited for coating your tabletop. The resin is UV stable and also has a very low odor, which is very pleasant when working with it. It also has a very high water resistance, which perfectly protects your underlying epoxy and wood from external influences and also from yellowing. The resin and hardener are mixed in the ratio of 100 parts resin to 50 parts hardener. Pour the resin no thicker than 5 mm, so that it can cure without sticking.

Other materials you will need are liquid color pigment, possibly metallic color pigment and liquid color pigment transparent (for clear River Tables). To mix the epoxy you will need large mixing cups with scale (1.2 l) or buckets. To seal the mold sanitary silicone and a silicone press. To help you release the tabletop, you will need liquid release wax. To build the mold, you need 15 mm thick MDF boards and enough screws. To fix the pieces of wood in the form you need screw clamps and to release them you need a plastic hammer. To remove the bark from the pieces of wood, you need a chisel.

To work on the tabletop you need sandpaper with different grits (80 grit to 120 grit and for polishing you may need a 3000 grit). For polishing you need sanding and polishing paste for a shiny surface, sandpaper (180 grit and finer, can be used with water) and a high quality wood oil. In general, you will need a spirit level and a folding rule, as well as a pencil. For your personal protection, you will need nitrile gloves, a respirator with filter, and safety glasses. Last but not least, you will need a natural wood panel of your choice.

Equipment and machines

To get bubbles out of the epoxy, you will need a heat gun or a Bunsen burner. Please do not hold it on the epoxy for more than three seconds, so that you do not burn it and ruin it for good. You can also use a hot glue gun to seal the mold, but I personally prefer sanitary silicone and use that myself. With the help of an electric screwdriver, you can drill the screws into the mold and also unscrew them after they have hardened. With the drill and a stirring attachment, you can mix the epoxy well and later also drill the holes in the tabletop to be able to attach the table legs.

With the jigsaw you can saw your wood pieces into shape and if necessary also give the inside of your wood piece a slightly curved shape, if this is not naturally given. The router bit will cut you clean edges and with that you can also round them off with a special attachment. We’ll look at how that works later. The eccentric sander helps you to sand the surface evenly. And with the polisher we come to the last device, which allows you to get a fine and smooth surface before either the wood oil is applied or the sealing with epoxy.

Epoxy table DIY – For perfectionists

For perfectionists, I would like to mention and explain the polyurethane varnish for the sake of completeness. Because a 100% perfect varnish can only be achieved with a polyurethane varnish. But for this very special type of painting, a spray booth is necessary, as well as special equipment and appropriate know-how. So it can be said that this painting can only be done by a professional and it is also not quite cheap. However, with such a high-quality and lovingly crafted table, it could be a worthwhile investment and the finish is perfect and very classy.

Polyurethane varnishing gives the table a mirror-smooth and high-gloss surface. In addition, the lacquer finish extends the life of the table, as the lacquer finish is very effective at protecting against scratches and other minor mishaps that happen in everyday life. It’s all worth considering after you’ve invested so much time, money and also love into your epoxy table. I personally would recommend such a polyurethane finish to anyone with absolute conviction. Check with a professional in your area and get the price if you want this finish for your table.

Variations

If you decide to use a tree slice, then the general procedure is the same, except that you just do not pour a river. You can either build a mold for it as well, or keep the natural shape and just fill in the cracks and holes. If your tree slice has a natural hole in the center, you can also leave that exposed and just seal it later. This gives your epoxy table a very natural touch and also looks very interesting. For this option, I would recommend clear resin to better show off the natural textures.

You can also make a beautiful table out of many smaller wood slices. For this you also build a mold and in this case put the wooden discs into the mold. Since you can’t reach the slices in the middle with screw clamps, you can weigh them down with heavy stones, for example. This way, they will not float away and collide when you pour epoxy on them. The remaining steps are the same as described above in the instructions. Just pay special attention to the weighting of the tree discs, then nothing will stand in the way of a beautiful result.

Another very interesting variant is that you use different wooden slats and pour them with epoxy. I recommend you to use different woods for this variant, which makes the result even more spectacular. To do this, you need to perfectly match your mold to the width of the entire wooden slats. Then you put them into the box at both ends, fix them very well with screw clamps and leave the middle part free. You can then fill it with resin and decorate it as you like. A pigment with shimmer looks very good here.

If you would rather have a coordinated combination consisting of table and bench, then you just need more wood and of course two molds. One shape for the table and another shape for the bench. If you have enough space, then pour the two molds one after the other. This way you will have the same “swing” in your hand and the result will be more coordinated. If you don’t have enough space, then choose an effect that doesn’t require too much of the same “swing”, such as the water effect. This way you will have a beautiful combination.

Conclusion

Whichever option you finally choose, a stunning result is waiting for you. Follow the step-by-step instructions carefully and take an extra hour for each step. The result will pay you back for your patience. The epoxy must always cure completely for the result to be perfect. If you want to continue working on it after the epoxy has cured, be sure to sand and remove dust before pouring the next layer. Always work clean and dust free so that no particles get into the epoxy.

I hope this guide helps you decide whether or not you will build an epoxy table yourself. Rest assured that it’s not as difficult as it may seem at first. It’s also incredibly fun to make, and with the products I’ve recommended, it’s easy to handle the resin as well. Don’t pour in more height than the manufacturer recommends, and the resin won’t boil up on you. Your Epoxy Table will be a fantastic memory and will enhance and enrich your living space. Have fun building it!