Epoxy Comic Book Tabletop
April 6, 2018
We have received lots of phone calls from people wanting to use old comic books and epoxy to make comic tabletops, bar tops, and floors. Wherever the installation, the basic steps are the same. In this post, I’ll show you how to make a small tabletop decorated with comics and epoxy.
- Wood tabletop (I used 3/4″ thick, round plywood)
- AeroMarine Products 300/21 Epoxy Resin and Hardener
- A clear urethane or acrylic sealant spray
- A comic book (Since this table is small, I only need one comic book. For a larger area, you will need more comic books.)
- Plastic measuring/mixing containers and utensils
- Inexpensive brushes (I used 1 inch chip brushes)
- Painter’s tape
- Sandpaper (I prefer 60 grit)
- Acetone and a clean rag
- Heat gun or propane torch
If your tabletop is not yet attached to legs, then you will need the following as well:
- Something to keep your tabletop lifted off your work surface. I used little yellow plastic triangles from the hardware store. You can see them in the first picture below.
- Four 2″x2″x2′ pieces of hardwood for the legs
- 16 small L brackets and 32 1/2″ wood screws
Your work area:
- Clean, level work surface, covered in paper or plastic for easier clean-up.
- All materials comfortably within reach.
- I decided to use a newer comic book for this project for two reasons; 1. The paper newer comics are printed on is usually thicker than the paper older comics are printed on, which was barely a step up from tissue paper. This means I don’t need to apply as many coats of sealant to the comics, saving a little time and materials. 2. I am reasonably sure I’m not cutting up an expensive collector’s item. If you are using old comics, I recommend Googling your comic book titles to make sure your not about to cut up your retirement fund and encase it in epoxy.
- When doing larger areas, most people just use pages of the comic book. Since I’m doing a small tabletop I’m cutting out panels and arranging them in a way so I can show characters and scenes that I like. I also tried to be aware of the colors of the panels, so all the predominantly brown (or green or blue) panels don’t all end up in one spot.
- You can see that the comics hang over the edge of the table. It will be easier to glue them down this way and then use an X-acto knife to trim them. Make sure you take a picture of the layout of the comics for reference.
- Next, I need to seal the comic panels with a clear acrylic sealant spray. Epoxy will penetrate the paper and give it a permanent “wet” look if the paper is not sealed first. Please read the directions on the can of sealant you are using because they all have slightly different directions and you’ll want to follow them carefully. I applied two coats of sealant to each side of the comics.
- Your comic book pages/panels should feel like plastic at this point. That’s the result we want. It means that they are completely sealed and ready to be epoxied onto the tabletop.
- Next, I set my tabletop on my work space. Since my table doesn’t yet have legs, I set it on these little yellow triangles I picked up at the hardware store. They make sure that any excess epoxy doesn’t puddle under or around the tabletop.
- I mixed up a few ounces of the AeroMarine Products 300/21 Epoxy, according to our directions, and used a brush to apply a thin coat to my tabletop. This coat seals the wood and will reduce the amount of air bubbles that can arise when we do the next coats, with the comics and the following thicker pour coats.
- After the epoxy cured, I laid out the panels next to the table top. I mixed up about 3 ounces of epoxy and brushed another coat on the tabletop. Then, working from the picture I took, I laid the panels on the wet epoxy. For panels that were laying on top of other panels, I brushed a small amount of epoxy on the back before setting it in place. Once all the panels were in place, I used the remaining epoxy to brush a thin layer on top of everything.
- Once the epoxy was cured, the comics were stiff enough to trim with an X-acto knife.
- Since I cut the sealed paper, I used my spray sealant on the edges of the cut comics. It does’t matter if you over spray a bit and get sealant on the top where the epoxy is. Once you do the remaining top coats of epoxy, you won’t be able to tell.
- I did one more thin brush coat to make sure all comic panels were all sealed down nicely.
- After the epoxy cured, it is time for some thicker pour coats. First, I used painter’s tape to seal the edge of the table.
- Then I use the tape to create a dam to stop the epoxy from rolling off the table when I pour it on the tabletop.
- I want to do a fairly thin pour coat, enough to evenly cover the whole tabletop, but I’m not going to pour the epoxy to the thickness I want for the finished product. I like to do several thinner pours rather than one large pour, because it cuts down on air bubbles and also gives me a chance to sand out any air bubbles between coats.
- After the pour, I used a heat gun to pop any bubbles that rose up. I used the lowest setting on the heat gun and held it at least 6 inches away from the epoxy. I also kept the heat gun moving fairly quickly, so as not to heat up any one spot of the epoxy. You can also use a small propane torch to do this. The same technique still applies.
- The first thin pour was bubble free thanks to the heat gun. So, I left the tape in place and did another thin pour coat, again using the heat carefully to pop any surface bubbles. You can see in the picture below how glassy and even and bubble-free the epoxy is turning out.
- Next, after the epoxy cured, I pulled the tape dam off. It can be hard to see bubbles at the edge, next to the tape, so I want to check the edge and sand down the meniscus (where the epoxy meets the tape and wicks upward). After sanding, I wiped the whole table down with acetone on a clean rag.
- The edge looks nice and bubble free, a quick sanding and then taped back up for the next pour. This pour should even everything out, making the epoxy even and bubble free so I can do the final, finishing pour coat without the tape dam.
- I pulled all the tape off, gave a light sand to the edge and top. Now, I’m ready for a final pour coat to bring it all together.
- After I did the last pour coat, I waited about 25 minutes and came back and used a plastic scraper to to remove the drips. 25 minutes gives the epoxy time to gel so the drips don’t form again.
- Lastly, I attached the legs with “L” brackets and wood screws.
- When I have time, I’ll go back and seal the underside of the table and the legs with some epoxy. Just a couple of brush coats of the AeroMarine Products 300/21 epoxy will work well. However, that can wait until I find some more time in my busy project schedule. I think my epoxy comic tabletop turned out quite nicely.
If you have any questions about this project or any other projects, drop us an email at [email protected] or call us at 1-877-342-8860.