Epoxy Resin Seashell Table that GLOWS [Easy Tutorial]
In this tutorial, I show you how to make an epoxy resin seashell table that glows inspired by the Destin Florida beaches.
Tools & Materials
- DIY Project Plans
- Best Epoxy Resin for Thick Pours
- Resin Glow Powder
- Translucent Blue Dye
- General Finishes Satin
- Black Light (Test Glow Powder)
- Pearl White Pigment Powder
- Black LED Light Strip
- Super Glue
- Butane Torch
- Heat Gun
- Countersink Bit
- Drill/Driver Combo
- Raw Steel Hairpin Legs
- Furniture Wax
- Silicone Caulk
- Measuring Containers
- Resin Stir Sticks
- Rubber Gloves
- Packing Tape
- Tape Gun
- Acetone (For Cleaning Containers)
- Silicone Molds
- Pool Sand (Your Local Hardware or Big Box Store)
- Sand Dollars (Craft Store or Your Nearest Ocean)
- Festool Track Saw TS-75 w/ Track
- Random Orbital Sander – Festool
- Festool Sandpaper (220 Grit)
- Festool Track Clamps
- Japanese Hand Saw
- Dewalt Trim Router
- F Clamps
- Dewalt Surface Planer
- Bosch Miter Saw
- Kreg Track System
- Bostitch Brad Nailer
- 1.5″ Brad Nails
- Air Compressor Retractable Hose
- Combination Square
For your convenience, I’ve compiled a complete list of epoxy resin tools and material I use most often. Click HERE to see the list.
Epoxy Resin Seashell Table DIY Plans
First, I got you covered if you want to build this resin seashell table yourself with step by step DIY digital plans.
Click picture below for more detail.
Resin Seashell Table for Sale
Do you love this seashell table and believe it would look great in your home?
Checkout my online store to purchase your epoxy resin seashell table for sale.
Also, I custom build these tables if I am out of stock.
Some of the skills you will learn in this tutorial are:
- Embedding shells in resin
- Pour resin over sand
- Color resin with transparent dye
- Mix glow powder with resin
- Prepare live edge cypress wood for river table
This beach inspired epoxy resin seashell table top, specifically made to resemble the Destin Florida beaches, has many features which make it truly one of a kind.
Additionally, the beach themed table is made with cypress wood with a light tone and rests on custom made hairpin legs.
Furthermore, the cypress wood leads down to an epoxy resin river that runs through the length of the table.
Moreover, this table can be used as a computer desk, entryway table, couch table, or accent table.
The table dimensions are 45” x 19.75” x 30″ x 2”. (Length x Width x Height (floor to top of table) x Thickness).
First, I begin all of my projects by gathering the correct materials. This live edge epoxy resin river glow table is no different.
Moreover, I realize this may seem simple, but it is definitely not.
In fact, it is the hardest part of the project for me because it requires me to step through the entire project from start to finish.
Also, I listed all tools and materials I used for this project at the top of this post.
Live Edge Cypress Wood
Conveniently, I have a locally owned Cypress sawmill not too far from where I live in Louisiana.
During one of my visits to pickup cypress for the custom cypress built in cabinets, he gave me this piece of new growth cypress.
Also, I liked the light color, grain pattern, and the fact I could build a really awesome beach themed table.
To achieve great results with any woodworking project, I believe it is vital to use wood with straight sides, square ends, and a flat surface.
Moreover, it reduces frustration and makes the project so much easier.
Additionally, I realize not everyone has the tools to accomplish this step.
Keep in mind, I explain these alternatives at length in my digital plans for this project.
Cutoff End with Japanese Saw
First, I used my Japanese hand saw to cut off the end of the Cypress.
Ultimately, the live edge cypress did not have a straight side to rest against my miter saw fence.
Consequently, it was unsafe to cut with anything but a hand saw.
First, I used my festool track saw to rip the wood down the middle with 2 passes rather than all at once.
Again, the wood did not have a straight side so the table saw was not an option.
Additionally, I find myself using my table saw less and less now that I have this Festool track saw.
Next, I ran the live edge cypress wood through my surface planer to get each side flat.
Luckily, the cypress had one flat face even though it still needed to be sanded.
So, I was able to get the other face flat by referencing the face which was already flat.
Afterwards, I used my miter saw to cut one end of the wood at 48″.
Next, I flipped the wood over and cut the other side at 45″.
Remember, one side of the wood has a live edge which cannot be placed against the fence of the miter saw.
So, I had to rotate the the wood and flip it to ensure the flat side stayed against the fence.
Clean Live Edge Wood
First, I used my Festool RO125 sander to clean up the live edge side of the cypress.
Next, I used my wood carving tools to remove the loose debris for 2 shallow wood cavities.
Also, I vacuumed the cavities to make certain they were clean.
Prepare Resin Mold
First, I used a thin piece (1/8″) of dry erase board large enough to fit the live edge river glow table.
I presume this is melamine, but not entirely sure.
Next, I wiped furniture wax on the surface to ensure the resin would not adhere to it.
Furthermore, I’ve heard vaseline works just as well as furniture wax.
Then, I placed the wood on the melamine with the live edge facing inwards.
Using my combination square, I made sure each piece of wood was pushed in 3″ from the melamine.
Ultimately, this step saved me an additional step later in the project of squaring the sides of the table.
Since each side was cut with my track saw, I knew they were perfectly straight.
In turn, no need to get them straight again.
Then, I used a scrap piece of wood with F-clamps to secure the wood to the melamine.
Next, I used silicone caulk to seal the inside of the live edge river to prevent resin from seeping through.
Also, hot glue works just as well as silicone.
Resin Mold Ends
After I finished securing and sealing the river table sides, it was time to complete the mold by adding the two ends.
First, I cut 2 pieces of scrap wood slightly larger than the width of the river.
Then, I covered them with packing tape and wax.
Additionally, the exact length doesn’t matter as long as it is wider than the river.
Next, I used my brad nailer with 18 gauge 1.5″ brad nails to secure them.
Furthermore, I used brad nails because they are quick and the holes are easy to cover up when nailed into end grain.
Also, Hot glue is a good alternative to brad nails.
Then, I sealed each end with silicone to prevent the resin from leaking.
First Epoxy Resin Pour
The first epoxy resin pour consisted of 48 ounces of resin and 4 ounces of glow powder.
First, mix 48 ounces of resin in a 1:1 ratio.
Additionally, I really like Pro Marine Table Top Epoxy Resin because it is quality material and affordable.
Epoxy Resin Ratio Accuracy
As a side note, it is vital to mix epoxy resin at an exact 1:1 ratio.
Consequently, I use the inside measurements on the container when pouring epoxy resin.
Ultimately, it is easier to see and more comfortable to use during the epoxy resin pour.
Epoxy Resin Mixing
Once the ratio is correct, I began mixing the epoxy resin with a paint stick.
First, I stirred slowly in a circular pattern.
Next, I scraped the sides and bottom to make certain everything was mixed evenly.
Normally, I use a pattern while mixing: 3 side circles, 3 bottom scrapes, 3 inner circles, and repeat over and over again.
How to Mix Glow Powder with Resin
After the epoxy resin was properly mixed, I tested the glow powder to verify the color with a black light.
Next, I added 4 ounces of green glow powder (phosphorescent pigment powder) to 48 ounces of resin to this live edge resin river glow table.
Also, Art n Glow recommends using a 4:1 ratio of resin to glow powder.
However, I feel this is a bit overkill for my river table projects.
In turn, I use a 12:1 ratio of resin to glow powder and this works fine.
Pour Epoxy Resin
First, I poured the resin in the river table.
Next, I moved back and forth to each end of the table as I poured the resin,
Then, I used my torch to remove bubbles.
Add Sand to River Table Bottom
First, I added pool sand after the first layer of epoxy resin cured for 24 hours,
Next, I sprinkled enough pool sand to lightly cover the top.
Then, I moved the sand around with my fingertips into an acceptable pattern. Also, the pattern didn’t matter as illustrated in the next step.
Pour Resin Over Sand
First, I mixed 48 ounces of resin and mixed per the instructions.
Then, I added 1 drop of transparent blue dye once the resin was completely mixed.
Next, I poured the resin slowly in the live edge river glow table. Also, the resin pushed the sand to the side.
Then, I used my ruler to spread the sand evenly on the bottom of the live edge river table.
Additionally, the ruler helped me create a natural pattern with the sand similar to the ocean floor.
Furthermore, I made certain the sand was thin enough for the glow powder to shine through.
Embedding Shells in Resin
First, I placed the sand dollars in the live edge river table.
Next, I used my paint stick to push the sand dollars to the bottom in a random pattern. Luckily, the sand helped create somewhat of a suction.
As I pushed the sand dollars down, a small amount of sand came through the holes in the sand dollars.
Ultimately, this created a very natural look that was completely unintentional – I love when that happens. :)
Color Resin with Transparent Dye
First, I lightly hand sanded the epoxy resin river with 220 grit sandpaper after 24 hours and proceeded with the third pour.
Next, I used a countersink bit and lightly drilled out the bubbles from the sand dollars. Obviously, the bubbles were caused by pushing the sand dollars into the sand.
Then, I mixed 48 ounces of resin with 1 drop of transparent blue dye.
Furthermore, I used my paint stick to drip resin on top of the holes to ensure they were filled.
In addition, I did this before pouring the entire 48 ounces over the table because the weight of the entire pour may cause another bubble over the same hole.
Finally, I poured the resin from one side of the table and allowed it to flow evenly to the other side.
Additionally, I used my heat gun to move the resin around and my torch to remove the bubbles.
As a quick tip, I like using my heat gun when I pour a large amount of resin.
I find it helps move the resin around and force bubbles below the surface to the top.
Fourth Epoxy Resin Pour to Fill Wood Cavities
Immediately after the third epoxy resin pour, I filled the wood cavities in the live edge river glow table.
First, I mixed 12 ounces of epoxy resin.
Next, I added one ounce of pearl white pigment powder and one ounce of white glow powder to the resin.
After I mixed the pigment powder and glow powder, I carefully filled the wood cavities with a popsicle stick while preventing the resin from dripping into the resin river glow table.
Despite my best effort to not spill any resin, a tiny bit dripped into the river. No harm, no foul as it was barely visible.
Then, I removed the bubbles with my torch and added more to ensure the cavities were completely filled.
Extra Resin Idea
As I demonstrated in my resin casting tutorial, I always dump my extra resin in a silicone mold instead of wasting it.
In addition, I added color to the resin by mixing blue pigment with 91% alcohol in a spray bottle.
Fifth Epoxy Resin Pour
After the resin cured for 24 hours, it was time for the fifth pour.
First, I lightly hand sanded the river with 220 grit sandpaper and removed the dust.
Next, I mixed 48 ounces of resin and 1 drop of transparent blue dye.
Then, I poured the resin in the river glow table just like the previous step.
Sixth & Seventh Epoxy Resin Pours
After the resin cured for 24 hours, it was time for the final pour.
I estimated the river glow table only needed 24 additional ounces to reach the top of the table. So, I mixed 24 ounces with 1 drop of transparent dye and poured the resin.
Shortly after the resin pour, I realized I needed 24 more ounces.
So, I mixed 24 more ounces just like before and poured the resin. Thankfully, this did the trick!
Tip to Reuse Container
In order to not use more containers than necessary, I use acetone to clean and reuse them.
First, I place the container over a garbage bag and allow all the resin to drip out for 10 minutes.
Next, I pour a 6 ounces of acetone into the container and whirl it around.
Then, I use a shop rag and wipe the bottom and sides of the container.
If needed, I repeat this process until the container is clean.
As a side note, always use gloves when using chemicals such as epoxy resin or acetone.
Remove Resin Mold
I allowed the live edge resin river glow table to cure for 48 hours before I removed the silicone mold.
48 hours seems like a long time especially when I am excited about a project; however, I learned the hard way many times 48 hours is necessary.
Click here for Digital Plans to learn what to do in order to remove the wet stain on end grain if your resin leaked.
Honestly, I was hoping for a clean sweep with no resin leaks. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. The resin leaked through the wood cavities which explains why I had to fill it multiple times.
Overall, not a bad outcome at all.
I packed up the table, the majority of my tools, and began the 3 hour drive to our house in Florida for the summer to finish it there.
Seashell Tabletop Underside Cleanup
The first thing I did to clean up the river glow table bottom was remove the silicone caulk and the pieces of melamine that stuck to the bottom of the epoxy resin seashell table.
First, I used a utility knife and gently cut one side of the caulk at a 45 degree angle.
I repeated this on the other side of the same bead of caulk.
Next, I simply peeled the caulk away from the table.
Then, I used my Festool RO125 with 180 grit sandpaper to remove the melamine.
Download the digital plans to find out what to do if you have trouble cleaning the bottom.
Finally, I used 220 grit sandpaper to finish off the table bottom.
First, I used my trim router with a 1/2″ roundover bit to roundover the top of the seashell table.
Epoxy Resin Sanding Sequence
Now to the boring, but most important, part of my river glow table project – sanding.
First, I decided to use 4 sanding grits: 120 grit, 180 grit, 220 grit, and 320 grit. I started with 120 grit sandpaper because the table was relatively smooth from my new planer knives.
Normally, I start with 80 grit sandpaper.
Next, I worked my way through the grits making sure to sand with the grain of the wood in a slow, steady pace.
After I finished with 320 grit, I wiped the table down with a damp rag to raise the grain.
Then, I sanded the live edge resin river glow table again with 320 grit.
River Glow Table Finish
The top coat I chose to finish my table with was a water based satin product by general finishes.
Ultimately, this beach inspired, live edge resin river glow table has a smooth, matte finish for a natural look.
Ultimately, I decided to use this finish because I love the light color of this wood and prefer the matte/flat look.
The finishes I use for my river tables vary, but they fall within 5 categories:
- Epoxy Resin Flood Coat
- Satin Water-Based Finish
- Wax/Polish Finish
- Shellac Finish
- Semi Gloss Oil-Based Finish
I explain the parameters I use with each option in greater detail in the DIY digital plans for this project.
First, I applied a thin layer with a foam brush.
I let this dry completely and then sanded with 320 grit sandpaper using my orbital sander.
Next, I applied a second coat in the same manner then sanded with 320 grit sandpaper by hand.
Finally, my daughter and I applied the final coat.
Black LED Light Strip
After the table dried, I installed black UV LED lights on the underside of the table.
These lights come with a power cord, but can also be used with a battery.
To learn how to convert this to a battery powered light strip, view this post.
I go into great detail as to how to accomplish this.
This was not necessary, but I like to do this in order to charge the glow powder if the table is placed where natural light is not available.
Additionally, the table glows brighter with the lights on and some people like this.
First, I measured the length I needed.
Next, I cut the black light strip in the correct location to ensure the lights will work.
The lights normally have a dotted line with a scissor emblem to mark where to cut.
If you are interested in learning how to solder LED light strips – check out my DIY LED Light Costume post..
Then, I used super glue to secure the black led lights to the underside of the table.
Glow in the Dark Epoxy Table
Surprisingly, I glanced at the table and realized it was glowing brightly after taking the final pictures in the natural sunlight.
In turn, I closed the curtains and turned off the lights to get a better picture.
The picture below (left) is after 20 minutes of bringing the table inside and the picture on the right is after 6 hours.
First, I kept the resin seashell table in the dark until the glow powder lost its charge the following day.
Next, I brought the table in a room with very low light and charged the glow powder with the black UV LED light strip.
While this charged the glow powder quickly, the glow coverage was not as consistent.
Ultimately, It would work much better if the black LED light strip was covered on the underside of the seashell table.
Also, this would allow the black UV LED light to reflect off the material used to cover it.
Consequently, it would result in more parts of the river glow table to get charged.
Obviously, natural light charges glow powder the best. In addition, the glow is more consistent and uniform.
In conclusion, I hope you learned how to make an epoxy resin seashell table that glows.