Casting Bottles & Other Stuff In Resin
We have all seen epoxy resin projects everywhere. River tables had a time at the top and now ocean wave boards have seemed to take over. With both being fairly simple to create it's no surprise once people see them being made by their favorite makers everyone wants to pick up some epoxy and have a go.
The latest fad taking off is casting. You may have seen a few people casting bottles of their favorite beverage in bricks of epoxy or keeping their collectibles safe forever by covering them in resin. Casting epoxy is a fun but somewhat tricky way to make a favorite object into a really cool collectible decoration.
I'm going to cover everything you need to DIY your own epoxy casting. Including tips on how to keep it safe and get it right the first time, no matter how large or small the pour is.
Step1 Build A Form
Casting objects in deep pore epoxy in one pore with no bubbles is a difficult pour to accomplish. First thing to do is build a form. I glue four acrylic sheets to a piece of plywood making a tall box. It's important to make sure the entire edge is evenly covered with glue, to help seal the form. Once it is dry caulk the inside and outside of all the seams to make sure there's no accidental leaks.
Step2 Pour A base
Once the caulking is completely dry, I pour a base of self-leveling tabletop epoxy at one quarter inch deep in the bottom of the form. I prefer to separate it into two or more colors for these pores using different mica powders.
Step3 Slow Mix
Once the base is cured in the bottom of the form, you can mix the deep pore epoxy. Pour into the mixing container as low and slow as possible. Use a ramp like a clean paint stir stick to keep any extra air from being introduced while pouring. Any deep pore epoxy will work. To speed up the process you could use a degassing chamber. Using a degassing chamber will guarantee no bubbles without the need to go slow. Since not everyone has a degassing pot or chamber stir the epoxy slow. Since no pigment will be added for clear bubble-free results you want to stir manually and slow. Stir slowly so the epoxy doesn't agitate adding any air. Stir the epoxy until it's completely clear. Use a propane torch remove any air that was produced right in the container prior to pouring the less air added during the pour the better.
Step4 Main Pour
Finally it's time to do the deep pour! The main is done in a single pour again using a clean paint stick as a ramp and allowing the epoxy to cascade down the object. This is done so minimal air will be introduced during the pour. Pour as slowly as you can. Make it at least an inch deeper than you're going to need in the end.
Once poured the epoxy will generate a lot of heat from the exothermic reaction, especially pouring so deep. You want to extend cure times as much as possible, to allow time for the air to release. I put my form in a plastic bag and surround the bag, with small amounts of ice in a cooler. Be sure not to cover the top to allow the chemical to vent while curing.
Step6 Removing The Epoxy
After a few days when the epoxy is fully cured carefully pry off the acrylic plastic form. Now you will have a somewhat misshaped block of epoxy. Using either a planar miter or table saw square up all the sides and clean up any edges. I prefer using a miter saw, I make several cuts per side, moving the blade across the cut to try to keep from heating the cured epoxy. The epoxy will now be cloudy with blade marks so start sanding.
I begin sanding with 150 grit and sand until smooth. You can then router the edges with any profile you like. The epoxy will router the same as wood. Once the edges are all finished I continue sanding at 220 and 320 grit sandpaper until it's completely smooth. Finally I polish using 400 to 4000 grit soft pads (Mirka Abralon). In the video you can really see how much it clears up just using the Abralon pads.
Step8 Flood Coat
Now it should look fairly clear. The next step is to rinse any remaining dust off the epoxy and then allow it to dry. At this point you can either polish the epoxy using car buffer and wax. Or as I much prefer, do a flood coat using a tabletop epoxy. I prefer the flood coat over polishing because it can't wear off. More importantly it is much harder once cured than the deep pore epoxy, making it more resistant to scratching and UV damage. Place the casting on a block wrapped in sheathing tape, so the epoxy can run off. Evenly coat it and allow it to run off. Finishing it with a torch to remove any air bubbles.
There you have it allow the flood coat to cure and you will have a crystal clear casting that will preserve your object for a very long time.