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How to Work with Resin and Wood to Create Stunning Pieces

Working with resin and wood together allows you to create beautiful, unique pieces for your home or to sell. The combination of the smooth, glossy resin and the natural patterns and textures of wood make for eye-catching projects. With some basic supplies, techniques, and safety precautions, you can make resin and wood crafts and decorations.

Selecting the Wood and Resin

Choosing the right materials is the first step to success when working with resin and wood.

Types of Wood

You can use many types of wood, but those with interesting grain patterns or colors work best. Some top choices include:

  • Maple: Has creamy white sapwood and reddish-brown heartwood with wavy grain patterns.
  • Walnut: Rich brown color with swirling grain.
  • Pine: Light brown with distinctive knots. Use kiln-dried pine to avoid cracking.
  • Oak: Interesting grain patterns and shades ranging from light to dark brown.
  • Cedar: Subtle grain and warm reddish hue. Cedar’s natural oils repel insects.
  • Cherry: Deep reddish-brown color with swirling grains.

The wood can be purchased as lumber planks or blocks. You can also use thinner pieces like veneer or wood cookies/slices.

Types of Resin

Popular options for resin include:

  • Epoxy resin: Two-part resin that cures when the resin and hardener are mixed. It is water resistant and durable.
  • UV resin: Cures under UV light, allowing you to create layers and designs.
  • Polyester resin: Used for casting and embedding objects. Fast curing time.

Epoxy and UV resins give the best clarity for showcasing wood grain. Use food-safe resin for pieces like serving boards.

Preparing the Wood

Proper preparation ensures the resin cures evenly on the wood surface.

  • Cut and sand – Cut wood to desired shape and sand until smooth. Start with coarse 80-120 grit and work up to 220-400 grit.
  • Clean – Wipe away any dirt, grease, wax or oils with a cloth dampened with denatured alcohol.
  • Seal – Use specialty sealers or epoxy to seal porous woods like oak to prevent air bubbles.
  • Level – Resin cures to a flat surface, so the wood must be level to avoid resin pooling.

Mixing and Applying Resin

Follow all safety precautions when working with resin, like wearing gloves and eye protection. Work in a well-ventilated area.

To mix and apply:

  • Prepare your work surface with foil, plastic or wax paper to catch drips.
  • Mix resin and hardener according to package directions, using proper ratios. Mix thoroughly for 2-3 minutes.
  • Optional additives like dyes, glitters or flowers can be added.
  • Pour resin slowly and steadily onto surface. Use a spreader to distribute evenly.
  • Pop bubbles with heat gun. Be careful not to blow dust into the resin.
  • For multiple layers, let cure according to resin instructions before adding more.
  • Once fully cured, resin surfaces can be sanded and polished.

Incorporating Wood into Resin

You can highlight the beauty of wood in resin by incorporating it in different ways:

Pour Over

  • Pour a thin layer of resin over full wood pieces. Great for platters, charcuterie boards, etc.
  • Levels out uneven surfaces.
  • Shows off entire wood grain patterns.

Submerge

  • Partially submerge wood slices, blocks or branches in resin.
  • Creates striking two-layer effect.
  • Can amplify the look of intricate grain and knots.

Embed

  • Place small wood pieces like shims, chips or sawdust into resin.
  • Allows you to arrange wood patterns in abstract ways.
  • Wood can also be crushed or burned first for different looks.

Edge Coating

  • Coat the edges of wood pieces with resin.
  • Highlights and protects vulnerable edges.
  • Ideal for coasters, trays, cutting boards.

Project Ideas

Resin and wood provide endless possibilities for DIY projects. Some ideas include:

  • Serving trays or charcuterie boards
  • Coasters or trivets
  • Decorative bowls
  • Vases
  • Jewelry like pendants or rings
  • Wall art
  • Coffe tables or shelving
  • Turned pieces like pens or candlesticks
  • Cutting boards
  • Pet urns

With the right wood, resin, and techniques, you can create stunning objects that accentuate and preserve the wood grain you love. Start with small projects to practice before moving to large pieces. Working carefully and safely, let your creativity guide you to make resin and wood pieces you’ll be proud to display or give as meaningful gifts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some safety tips for working with resin?

Always work in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves and eye protection. Avoid contact with skin. Have kitty litter on hand to absorb spills. Keep flammable materials like solvents away from resin.

Should the wood be sealed before adding resin?

Sealing porous woods helps prevent bubbles from escaping through the wood grain during curing. Epoxy and specialty wood sealers work well.

How do I get rid of bubbles?

Let the resin sit 10-15 minutes for bubbles to surface, then use a lighter or heat gun to pop. Go slowly to avoid creating more bubbles. Add a later coat to cover remaining bubbles.

Can any wood be used with resin?

Most types of solid wood and wood products like veneer, shims, and slices can be used. Avoid treated lumber with chemicals. Very oily woods may repel resin.

What can I do if resin doesn’t cure fully?

Ensure the resin and hardener are mixed properly in the ideal ratios. Check for expired materials. Room temperature and humidity can also impact curing, ideal is about 72°F.

Why does resin yellow over time?

Some epoxy and polyester resins undergo natural yellowing from UV light exposure. Use UV-resistant resin or apply UV inhibiting sealers to preserve clarity.

Can resin go over painted wood?

Yes, resin can be applied over sealed, painted wood, but may not bond as well long-term compared to raw wood. Sand painted surfaces for better adhesion.

How do I clean cured resin?

Use mild soap and water for general cleaning. For scuffs or scratches, wet sand with fine grit sandpaper, then use polishing compounds. Avoid strong chemicals that can damage the resin.

Laura Kassovic

Laura Kassovic, a former engineer at Intel SOC, now dedicates her efforts to mentoring startups in the realms of Wearables and AI. As a co-founder of New Tech Brake, she spearheads a wireless sensing solution enterprise catering to diverse applications including product development, research, location tracking, and people monitoring, as well as asset and cargo supervision. The platform empowers developers to craft an array of innovations such as fitness trackers, temperature-monitored cargo systems, medical trial tools, smart running garments, or even straightforward transmission of unprocessed accelerometer data to cloud-based repositories.

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