And it’s surprisingly simple.
Table creation by Mike Asaurus
I remember the first time I saw this table and it blew me away. I’d been doing a woodwork course at our local Technical College and was searching for inspiration on the web.
I fell in love with the concept of glow powder and soon created my own little piece – a number 4 for our front verge (we don’t have letterboxes).
The beauty of photoluminescent powder is that you can create almost anything your imagination comes up with.
This article is my step by step how to create your own piece of wood using resin and powder. There are a number of other methods so make sure you check out other sites too.
If you’ve never used resin before, follow a few key principles and you’ll find it’s actually quite easy.
STEP 1 : GRAB YOUR WOOD!
What is your imagination telling you? What is your vision?
Check out this piece. It’s bark from a tree that I put on the belt sander for a minute then filled with glow in the dark powder and resin.
Step 2 : HOW MUCH GLOW POWDER TO RESIN
- You’ll want around 20-30% of glow powder to resin ratio - that means that for every 100ml of resin you’ll add around 20-30grams of powder.
- I wouldn’t go below 10% and over 50% can affect how the resin works, but I always suggest experimenting on a smaller scale to make sure.
Step 3 : PREPARE THE WOOD
- Remove any loose matter from within any cracks or fissures of the wood. You may like to make the fissures wider, depending on the effect you are after.
- Blow (with an air compressor or can of compressed air) or brush off any debris from the surface of wood and from the fissures.
- Give your piece a light sanding. If you will not be sanding your resin back after it dries, you want to make sure you have sanded your piece to how you want it to look.
- Consider any gaps or holes in the wood that resin could pass through. Use painters tape to seal any areas, including exposed edges where you don’t want the resin to run off.
- Sit the wood on some kind of stilt so the edges are raised off the surface you are working on. This will ensure resin will drip rather than accumulate under the piece if there is an overflow.
- Level the wood as well.
Step 4 : MIXING RESIN AND POWDER
Some resins harden within minutes, others can take nearly an hour to ‘go off’. Either way it is imperative that you are prepared before mixing your resin.
I’ll throw this in here as well – always follow the safety instructions on the resin container. It’s really not worth suffering from not adhering to the instructions.
As it will depend on the type and brand of resin you use, I can’t specifically list detailed tips but keep the following in mind:
- Temperature of the area you are in
- Your ability to measure exact amounts of resin and catalyst
- Having all your equipment handy and ready to go
- Air flow
- Protective equipment
How much resin?
- You’ll need to estimate how much resin you’ll need but most resin instructions suggest pouring in layers of no more than 10mm, so you’ll want to mix only enough at a time for each layer
- For this piece of wood I mixed the powder in with the resin shown below
Mixing the Resin
- Use plastic or wooden vessels and utensils for this part. The photoluminescent powder will be inactivated if it comes into contact with metal.
- Measure out your resin and catalyst or activator in separate cups.
- Add your glow in the dark powder to the resin only cup.
- Mix the powder into the resin. When it is thoroughly mixed in you can add the catalyst or activator, but make sure you are all set up and ready to pour first.
- When mixing the catalyst in, make sure you follow the instructions. You need to spend around 2-3 minutes mixing to ensure it is evenly dispersed throughout the resin.
Step 5 : POUR
- Make sure you mix the resin just before pouring to ensure all particles are evently suspending throughout the mix. This is because particles won’t dissolve in the resin and will eventually settle to the bottom.
- Slowing pour the resin into the gaps. When you reach the top you can overfill slightly or leave it flush. Bear in mind that some resins may shrink a little when hardened.
- Inspect the surface for bubbles. These can be ‘popped’ by waving a butane torch or heat gun over the surface.
If you have overfilled your cavities you might be wondering what on earth you were thinking. It can look awful!!
Fear not. It will be fine once the sanding is complete.
This could be it if you don’t plan on sanding your finished product. Make sure you leave the resin to fully cure according to the instructions.
Step 5 : SAND
- Make sure you wear your protective gear like eye wear and face mask
- The first sanding step is much easier if you can get your hands on an electric sander with a very coarse grit such as 40. Use this grit until you have removed the excess resin from the surface.
- From there you can progressively move through the grits. I love a really smooth finish so tend to move through to around 1200 but stop when you’re happy.
- Remember to wipe the surface in between to prevent scratching.
- You can apply a clear lacquer at this stage too.
Glowing Gecko doesn’t sell the resin but there are two places use online.
Resin Obsession and Just Resin in Australia. Resin obsession has a list of types of resins and what to use for you project.
Full instructions for the first table can be found at http://www.instructables.com/id/Glow-table/