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In this tutorial, I show you how to make an epoxy ocean table using live edge wood. Learn to embed beach sand dollars in resin, mix epoxy glow in the dark powder, and more.
Even if you don’t need an epoxy ocean table, the techniques covered in this project can be used for other epoxy resin projects.
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.
Full Video Tutorial
There are several things which are difficult to fully explain with words and images, so be sure to check out the video tutorial below!
Epoxy Resin Ocean Table DIY Plans
Download the step by step instructions and learn how to make an epoxy ocean table with these DIY digital plans.
Some of the skills you will learn in this epoxy ocean table tutorial are:
- Embedding real beach sand and shells in resin
- Pour resin over sand
- Color resin with transparent dye
- Mix epoxy glow in the dark powder with resin
- Use live edge wood for river table
This epoxy resin ocean table top has many features which make it truly one of a kind.
First, I specifically made this table to resemble the beaches in my hometown of Destin, Florida.
Additionally, the coastal themed ocean table is made with live edge cypress wood with a light tone and rests on custom made hairpin legs.
Furthermore, the cypress wood leads down to an epoxy resin ocean that runs through the length of the table.
Epoxy glow in the dark powder makes up the ocean bottom.
When the lights are off, the glowing epoxy ocean table bottom shines through real sand and sand dollars.
This table can be used as an ocean coffee table, 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).
Ocean Table Project Checklist
First, I begin all of my projects with a checklist.
In other words, I list the individual steps from start to finish.
This helps me not only define a timeline, but it also helps me gather the necessary tools and materials for each step.
Gathering materials seems simple and a natural thing to do.
However, I often overlook these simple things and make the project much harder.
In this tutorial, you don’t need to worry about project planning because I do it for you.
Ultimately, I encourage you to properly plan your project when and if you decide to complete a project solo.
Reclaimed Live Edge Wood
Conveniently, I have a locally owned Cypress sawmill not too far from where I live.
During one of my visits to pickup cypress for a different project, he gave me this piece cypress.
He planned to throw it away as it was damaged and couldn’t be resawed to dimensional lumber.
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 epoxy resin beach table.
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 for irregular shaped wood 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.
Best Epoxy Resin for Tables
Essentially, the best epoxy resin to use depends on the type of project and many other factors.
To clear up the confusion, I wrote an in-depth article about the best epoxy resin to use for the most common projects such as wood tables, river tables, and resin art.
For this epoxy ocean table project, I used Pro Marine Table Top Epoxy for 2 reasons.
- I had leftover epoxy in my shop, so no need to purchase more.
- This epoxy ocean table needed multiple thin epoxy pours instead of 1 or 2 deep pours.
First Epoxy Resin Batch
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.
Epoxy Resin Ratio Accuracy
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 Epoxy Glow in the Dark Powder
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.
Epoxy Ocean Table Pour
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.
Beach Sand in Epoxy Ocean 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 Objects in Epoxy Resin Ocean Table
First, I placed the sand dollars in the epoxy resin beach 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. :)
Repair Epoxy Mistakes
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.
I used my heat gun to move the resin around and my torch to remove the bubbles.