Penny Tabletop with Epoxy
September 7, 2017
For this project, we are taking an old side table and refinishing it with pennies and epoxy. Penny epoxy counter tops, table tops, and floors are a popular project that we get asked about frequently. This post will walk you through doing a penny epoxy table top over wood. If you have any questions about doing a floor or counter top over concrete, you can always send us an email at [email protected] or give us a call toll-free at 877-342-8860.
- Wooden table
- AeroMarine Products 300/21 Epoxy Resin and Hardener
- Water based wood stain
- Sand paper (I used 60 grit)
- Lots of pennies (I used about $4.25 for a foot square tabletop)
- Paper barrier mask and gloves
- Plastic drop cloth or similar
- Inexpensive brushes (I used 1 inch chip brushes)
- Mixing and measuring containers and utensils
- Blue painter’s tape
- Paint (for the legs of the table)
Your work area:
- Clean, level work surface, covered in paper or plastic for easier clean-up.
- All materials comfortably within reach.
- First, I needed to sand the old paint off the top of the table. Our epoxy sticks to most paint but I want a lighter background for the pennies. I also want the epoxy to penetrate and bond to the wood, not the paint, so that there is no worry about de-lamination over time. I used 60 grit sandpaper to sand off all the old paint.
- When I was done sanding, I wiped the table off with a dry rag to clean off all the wood dust. Then, I applied the first coat of my water based wood stain. It is a lot of work to get epoxy to stick to oil based stain, whereas epoxy goes over the water based stain easily. Follow the application directions for the water based stain that you choose. The stain I was working with said to brush on a coat and then wipe off any excess immediately and wait two hours between coats. I did three coats following those directions and then let stain set over the weekend.
- While I was waiting for the stain to dry, I laid out my pennies. I chose to arrange them from brightest to darkest for a gradient look. This also allowed me to check the pennies and make sure none of them had large amounts of dirt on them.
- On Monday morning, I brushed on a thin coat of AeroMarine Products 300/21 Epoxy using a 1 inch chip brush. The 300/21 is mixed 2:1, 300 resin to 21 hardener. I mixed up 3 ounces for the brush coat, which was a bit more than I needed but it kept the mix ratio easy to measure. Mixing up less than 3 ounces can make getting the mix ratio right rather tricky. Very small batches will also take longer than the standard 24 hour cure time. On Tuesday morning, I did the same process. The reason that we do a couple of brush coats first is to seal the wood and cut down on air bubbles when we get to the pour coats. On Wednesday morning, I brushed a coat of epoxy on and then set my pennies on the epoxy immediately after brushing on the epoxy. I like using the epoxy to glue down the pennies rather than using a super glue or something similar because it is one less product to purchase. Also, there is less space for air to get trapped under the pennies and cause air bubbles later.
- Thursday morning, I checked to make sure the epoxy had set up and the pennies were glued into place. Everything looked good, so I taped up the edges of the table with painter’s tape to prep for the first pour coat.
- It takes a couple layers of tape to make sure the bottom is sealed completely and the edge of the tape rises above the pennies.
- I mixed up 6 ounces of epoxy for the first pour coat. I poured the epoxy on the pennies and then used a brush to spread the epoxy out. The aim of this first pour coat was just to fill in the spaces between the pennies. I like to do multiple pour coats because the thinner the pour, the easier it is for air bubbles to rise up to the surface and pop. Additionally, if there are any air bubble once the epoxy cures, it is easy to sand them out before doing the next pour coat.
- After 24 hours, I pulled the tape off and checked for bubbles. There were a few bubbles on the surface and along the edge where the tape was. I sanded these bubble out with 60 grit sandpaper and wiped the whole table top with acetone on a clean rag. Then I taped the edges up again. Then, I mixed another 6 ounces of epoxy and poured another coat, this time covering up the pennies completely.
Surface bubbles sanded out
- I decided to do one more pour coat to give the epoxy more thickness and depth. After the third pour coat, I pulled the tape off and sanded down the edges where the epoxy met the tape. The epoxy wicks up where it meets the tape so it is important to sand it flat. That also happens to be where bubbles like to collect, so sanding serves two purposes.
You can see some bubbles and the wicking effect along the edge
- The next step is to do a thin pour coat that flows over the sides of the table. Once the tabletop was all sanded, I spread out a large trash bag underneath the table. This table also has some slats that connect the legs near the bottom that I covered with tape to protect them from epoxy dripping off the edges of the table. I mixed up another 6 ounces of epoxy and poured it on the table and used a chip brush to spread it out a bit. The epoxy will run over the sides, so use the brush to brush the epoxy along the edge. Once the epoxy starts to gel, about 20-30 minutes, I used the back of a plastic knife to scrape the drips off.
Drips hanging off the underside of the table
Plastic knife used to scrape those drips off
- If there are any bubbles once the epoxy has cured, you can sand them out and do a thin brush coat. Fortunately, I didn’t get any bubbles in the final pour! Now, I’m ready to paint the table legs.
Penny Epoxy Tabletop
- Finally, I taped up the edges of the table and applied two coats of forest green spray paint. Follow the directions for the paint you choose in regards to surface prep and dry time.
Taped edges, ready to paint
All done, just drying
I got little green paint on the epoxy of one corner when I turned the table to paint the other side of the legs. It easily wiped away with some acetone.
This project was done on a small wooden table, but penny epoxy flooring, counter tops and larger tables are also common. Hopefully, this post gives you a good idea of the process. If you have any questions about the products used or general application questions, check out our website, https://www.aeromarineproducts.com/ or send us an email at [email protected] or give us a call at 877-342-8860.