Things You'll Need
Polyurethane rubber (2 parts: resin and hardener)
Graduated mixing cups
2 Mixing buckets
Porous surface sealer for wood models
Clear table top epoxy
Clear table top hardener
Foam or nylon bristle brushes
220 or finer-grit sandpaper
Denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner
Glass for imbedding
If the flood coat has dried for more than 10 hours, lightly sand it with a 220 or finer-grit sandpaper and remove the dust with a clean cloth and denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner. Epoxy resin is self-leveling and manufacturers recommend letting in run over the sides of the wood, so use drop cloths under the wood you’re sealing to keep the resin from getting on the floor. For best results, apply in a clean, dry room that’s between 70 and 85 degrees F. If you’re using a good quality brush, you shouldn’t have a problem with the bristles coming out into the resin. Mix your products in a clean mixing bucket and follow manufacturer’s instructions exactly. Use a hair dryer to release any air bubbles by sweeping the hot air over the surface until the bubbles disappear. This must be done before the resin has dried.
Wear protection clothing, eye wear and gloves. Work in a well-ventilated area.
Go green and use more eco-friendly materials in your kitchen or bathroom by installing glass and resin counter tops. These gorgeous surfaces can incorporate almost any type of glass: recycled glass, polished glass, glass nuggets or sea glass. Just choose your materials and seal them in a durable epoxy slab for a counter top that will make your room sparkle with color and texture. Although working with epoxy resin takes time, the end result will be stunning, durable surfaces that will add to your home's value and beauty.
Making the Mold
Build your counter top mold. Measure your surface and cut a piece of plywood with a circular saw to fit the measurements. Nail wood edges underneath the surface of the plywood to form an inverted box.
Seal the wooden form you've just made for the mold with a porous mold sealer. Seal the seams of the mold box with silicone caulk so the liquid rubber won't leak out. Let the sealing compounds dry. Apply a mold release to allow the rubber mold to release easily from the wooden box. Let the mold release dry according to manufacturer's instructions.
Make liquid rubber for your mold by mixing the polyurethane rubber resin and hardener according to the manufacturer's instructions. Place the wood mold on sawhorses with the opening on the bottom and put plastic on the ground around the mold. The plastic will catch the liquid rubber as you pour it on the wooden form. Brush the liquid rubber onto the form until you have an even ¼-inch layer on the bottom and down the edges. Be sure to remove any air bubbles as you brush. Let the mold cure overnight at room temperature.
Remove the rubber mold from the wooden form carefully. Gently peel the rubber mold away from the wood a little at a time.
Casting Resin and Imbedding the Glass
Mix the hardener and resin, measuring the exact amounts in graduated measuring cups according to the manufacturer's instructions. Pour the hardener into the mixing bucket, then the resin. Mix completely with a clean stir stick, until the cloudy, white appearance clears, scraping the sides of the bucket often. This could take up to 5 minutes.
Apply the first coat, which is the seal coat. Wear safety glasses and protective clothing when applying resin. Brush it on the surface in a thin layer with a brush, making sure you smooth out any bubbles and remove any brush bristles that may come loose. Let dry for 4 hours.
Apply the second coat--the flood coat--over the surface. Pour a small amount into the center of the mold. Allow the resin to run over the edges and use a clean brush or a squeegee to spread the resin evenly. The layer should be about 1/8-inch deep. Allow the flood coat to dry for 4 to 10 hours. Repeat Step 3 to apply a second flood coat.
Imbed glass materials in between. Place the glass on top of the dried layer of epoxy as desired. Apply at least two more flood coats, but you can apply as many coats as it takes to achieve your desired effect.
Cure the resin by letting it dry and keeping it as clean and dust-free as possible. Curing will take two to three days.
Based in California, Tracie Grimes began writing in the medical field in 1984. She has since expanded her areas of expertise to include DIY projects, parenting and craft articles. She is a monthly contributor to "Kern County Family Magazine" and "Bakersfield Magazine," with work also appearing in parenting magazines across the United States. Grimes received her bachelor's degree in journalism from Northern Arizona University.