DIY (Faux) Resin River Coasters
I’ve made my fair share of resin river projects on my blog (see Example 1 & Example 2). But, I know that these projects can be intimidating for friends who haven’t done large deep pour projects yet. So, to help get you started on your resin river table journey, I’m sharing a tutorial for DIY “faux” Resin River Coasters tutorial using leftover materials from my shop! What do I mean by “faux”? Keep reading to find out!
How To Make Resin River Coasters
This post is sponsored by Bernzomatic and contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy, click here.
Want to see this project in action? Check it out on my YouTube channel!
Okay, so let’s tackle this “faux” word for a second here. Spoiler Alert: These live edge resin river coasters, aren’t really “live edge”. In fact, I ran out of live edge wood in my shop a while back, so I decided to fake it for this project!
I was able to make these look like “live edge” resin river coasters with the help of a jig saw! Pretty cool hack, huh?
Here are the details on how I made this project happen!
What You’ll Need:
Sander & Sandpaper
Bernzomatic ST2200 Detail Torch
Bernzomatic Fuel Cylinder
Silicone Cake Mold
Epoxy Resin Mixing Materials
Packaging Tape (Optional)
1 x 4 Hardwood Lumber
Deep Pour Epoxy
(use “DIYHUNTRESS” at checkout for 10% off + free shipping)
Metallic Epoxy Pigment
1. Choose your piece of wood for your project and find the center line. It’s always best to use hardwoods for things like coasters or cutting boards, since they are less porous and more durable! I chose walnut for my project.
2. Use a jig saw to cut a wavy, asymmetrical line down the center of the board. I made my jigsaw cuts with a 30 degree bevel to make the “live edge” look more organic.
3. Next, use your cake molds to trace circles onto the two sides of your new “live edge” pieces.
4. Cut your circles out with a jig saw. This time, make sure your bevel is set to 0 degrees.
5. After cutting your pieces, use a sander to smooth the edges and “live edge”. You’ll want to get as tight of a fit as possible.
6. Next, clean your resin mold with rubbing alcohol to make sure it’s free of debris and then add your wood pieces.
7. To help stop the pieces of wood from floating in the resin, use clamps to hold them down. If your coaster molds are too tight to fit clamps, use small wood blocks covered in tape and scrap wood with clamps to hold them down (you can see this process in action in my YouTube video).
8. Next, mix your epoxy resin and your pigment. I used a deep pour epoxy resin for this project and followed the instructions on the back of the bottles. If you are using a table top epoxy, you will want to pour these in small sections rather than all at once.
Pro Tip: Complete your resin pour in a temperature controlled room as resin can only properly cure in certain temperatures. Make sure to check the instructions for your particular resin brand before starting your pour.
9. Once the resin has been poured, use a Bernzomatic ST2200 Detail Torch to pop all of the bubbles formed by the pour. This is super important because if you don’t pop the bubbles, they will cure in your resin and cause small holes in your hardened pour.
To do this, carefully hover the flame above the pour and move it back and fourth quickly. If you leave it on one spot too long, it could burn the resin, so be careful here!
10. Optional: Adding rubbing alcohol to resin with metallic pigment causes it to make cool designs and bursts! I did this and used a small stick to swirl the pigments around while it cured.
11. Since the resin will take a while to cure, it’s important to “babysit” it and check on it. I did this for a few hours and continued to use my Bernzomatic ST2200 Detail Torch to pop any new bubbles as they formed.
12. Once the resin has cured (this will vary based on the type and brand of resin you use), remove the coasters from the molds.
13. Next, sand them all down to size and shape (mine did not come out of the molds perfectly round, so I taped them together and sanded them as one big stack). I did most of my shaping with 80 grit and 120 grit sandpaper and then worked my way to 220 grit to make them smooth.
14. Once sanded to 220 grit, wet the wood to raise the grain. They will feel rough to the touch after they dry, this is normal! After it dries, sand it back down. I chose to sand to 400 grit to keep the resin polished.
15. Last step is to finish the coasters with wood finish! I used a spray urethane for mine.
Not bad for some fake live edge resin river coasters!
Also, that blue pigment partnered with those walnut scraps. Yes, please!
If you’ve always wanted to try to make a resin river project but were too intimidated by the scale, I hope this project gets you pumped up about deep pour resin projects!
Not ready for a deep pour project just yet? No sweat! Save this project for later and Pin It!
In the meantime, friends. Happy DIY’ing!
Dave3 years ago
What type of benchtop sander do you have? I’d like to get one as well.
Sam3 years ago AUTHOR
RIDGID! It’s awesome.
Wendy Heick2 years ago
Hi Sam, I’m super interested in doing this project. I have one question for you, though! You cut one wavy line down the center of the board and then traced the circles on it… When put into the cake molds, how is there a gap to fill? I’m sure it’s probably obvious but I’m new to this! TIA🙂
Shelley2 years ago
RIght?! Wondering the same thing. Unless the board is a 1×3″, or she cut more out but didn’t show us….or when she sanded the “live edge” (notice how totally smooth it is) it took a lot of material away. in any case, there are ways to “spread” the wood apart more.
Sam2 years ago AUTHOR
Hi! You can see this much better in the video, but because I cut the wavy line down the center first I was then able to trace the circles onto the pieces after that gap already was cut, which let me choose how large I wanted the gap to be before cutting the board into my circle shape. I hope that makes sense. Check it out in the video, it’s probably much easier to see!
John Scotia2 years ago
Hi, what a great project! Thanks for all the information! Just curious what did you use for spray urelthane?
Thank you again. John
Sam2 years ago AUTHOR
I use Minwax!
John Scotia2 years ago
Thank you Sam!
Sarah Paul2 years ago
I’m blown away by your diy skills! I’ve always been a diy girl-think my dad wanted a boy, but got 2 girls instead! My younger sister is ‘girlie’ and I’ve always been more practically minded. I used to make furniture and taught joinery, think you call in wood shop? Want to do a ‘river’ worktop so finding your site has been really valuable!! Keep it up it’s really appreciated! Sarah, Sheffield UK
Tom H.2 years ago
This is my first resin project. Everything looked good after demolding, but after sanding the resin lost all its luster & glimmer. I started sanding with 80 grit & progressed thru 220 with no change. Resin color is a dull solid blue. What have I done wrong & can I salvage the bright, glittery color of the resin?
Johnine1 year ago
This is a beautiful project and I’d love to try it. My scrap wood pile is all pine, can I use that or does it need to be a hardwood ?