One of my favorite hobbies is working with epoxy resin. Though the things I like to cast has changed over the years, one of my absolute favorite things to do is create costumes, lamps, tables, etc. using resin. For this tutorial we will be making a sturdy mold to hold a large pour of resin. I will eventually pour a resin led lamp in it. Before we can do that, we have to make a mold!!
One of the trickiest parts of working with resin is keeping it where you want it, since it can very easily drip out holes you didn’t even know were there, resulting in a mess that really can’t be cleaned up. (Try as you may, it’s a real bummer to clean/sand.) When cured, resin will bond to just about everything, and will ruin a table or floor very quickly. The trick is to properly seal the openings and joints in your mold.
For this DIY we will be using melamine boards. I was able to find my boards at a box store’s cull/discounted section. I really lucked out on these and they were 70% off because of water blemishes on the surface! I’ m not building a closet, so that doesn’t matter to me. What I like most about melamine material for mold making is that it’s thick to hold up from the weight of the resin without buckling, the particle board inside is coated, some molds can be reused, and you can invest in one board and make several smaller molds.
If you don’t have a budget for buying a board, you can take apart an unused melamine cabinet or shelving system. Use packing tape over the pre-drilled holes (that hold shelves) to get a flatter edge that resin won’t seep into, ruining your chances of opening the mold and retrieving your treasure. You may choose to use the smooth outside surface of a shelf on the inside your mold to keep things smooth.
For this mold I used my circular saw, and cut four pieces four-inches wide and the width of the board. This makes up the bottom, both sides and a piece to cut in half for the top and bottom. I should have used a finer blade, but I used what I had. I finer saw blade would have made a cleaner cut, but I didn’t have one.
Next I found my most square/perfectly cut piece and used that as the bottom. I mocked up one side at a time, and predrilled my holes through both pieces. If you don’t predrill your holes, you will split the boards and ruin the smooth sides of your mold. It’s not worth skipping. One side at a time, I attached the boards with one-inch screws. I made sure the bottom was flat and any pieces lined up with the bottom so that it will be stable and level while pouring resin. If you accidentally cut crooked, it’s okay, just make sure the back piece is flat on your work surface and line everything up with that. The last two pieces are attached, giving a nice rectangular space to pour a LOT of resin.
Use Silicone caulk to fill in the gaps in the boards on the inside of your mold. Squeeze it into the corners and smooth it out with your finger tip, removing any extra. I recommend using white silicone so you can see your progress. I had clear on hand, so I had to pick it up a, move it around to check the sheen and to tell where it was applied. You should apply this in all the crevices where the boards meet to keep your resin from oozing out.
As an extra precaution from leaks, I sealed the outside of the mold with packing tape. Masking tape also works. Apply tape where the seams are, on the outside of the mold. This will keep a second line of defense between resin and your table! If the inside isn’t sealed well, this will keep resin from bonding the whole thing to your work surface.
Now the mold needs to be sealed so apply a wax paste using a chip brush to the entire inside of your mold. This will be soft and easy to spread when you apply it, but will “dry” to a hazy harder coating. It is imperative that you coat the melamine entirely inside your mold with wax to seal it to keep the resin from bonding to the melamine. This makes the whole surface less porous.
Last we lightly spray mold release inside it, following the directions given. Some of these just want you to spray it, others want you to lightly brush it around, so follow the manufacture’s label. This will make it so it’s easy to get your goodies out, kind of like spraying no-stick stuff on a pan before baking.
There you have it! A great resin mold ready for your creation! All you have to do to get your creation out of the mold is to cut the tape in the creases with a utility knife and remove the screws. You can clean up the mold after using it by pealing the silicone and tape off. Screw it back together and use it again and again if you want.
Make sure your items will fit inside the mold before you cut anything.
Build the mold around your item. Like wood, beads, whatever.
Cover your work surface to protect it from drips and spills.
Clean up any sawdust before mixing resin, you don’t want dust in your project.
To begin with you will need a large glass bottle with a wide base. A rum handle works beautifully. You want to make sure your bottle has a metal lid, and if (which is likely) there is a plastic seal inside the lid you will need to remove it.
Salvy Bug Repellent Tutorial
When the outdoor season hits, it doesn’t take long for the battle of the bugs to commence. That’s right. I’m talking about mosquitoes. Those invasive little blood suckers may be a tasty treat for many of our friendly wildlife variety, but I know we can do without the itchy welts and whatever else that itsy bitsy siphon may have left behind.
So in the eco-friendly fashion of DIY, we give you a handy-on-the-spot salve bug repellent with the simple and natural ingredients of shea butter, apricot kernel oil, and a few essential oils. You can substitute the shea butter with another oil, if you like, as long as it’s solid at room temperature so it stays solid in the tin and not drippy in your bag!
Complete with pictures, let’s get to it!
- 2 oz. Shea Butter (this recipe uses unrefined)
- 2 tsp Apricot Kernel Oil
- 12 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil
- 10 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil
- 12 drops Citronella Essential Oil
- 10 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
(keep in mind, these are Essential Oils, not Fragrance Oils)
When it comes to the tools you use for this DIY, it is more preference to your process. We are listing our supplies specifically. You use what you will, just make sure it is appropriate.
- 4 – ½ oz. round tins
- 1 – 2c glass measuring cup
- Heat Source (microwave)
Yes. That is all you need.
Before I dive into the ‘how to’ of the goodness above, I must impress upon you the importance of Essential Oil safety. Always use a carrier oil. Always patch test prior to use. It is not advised to use this product if pregnant; and don’t ever use it on babies. If you can remember that an Essential Oil is the concentrated goodness of a plant and that less is more, you’ll be alright.
Add to a measuring cup, 2 oz. shea butter and 2 tsp apricot kernel oil. And just like melting butter, place it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove. Stir. Repeat this process until the shea is melted and blends fully with the apricot.
Once the shea and apricot are a creamy liquid, add the Essential Oils. Stir to blend.
Gently pour the liquid salve in to the tins and let sit at room temp until solid.
And Voila! It fits in your pocket without the risk of breaking a glass bottle, spilling it, or accidentally spraying someone else because, you know, you’re at a music festival and the flying blood banks have come to join you. Now you can make yourself and your family a bug repellent you can trust.
Upcycling is something we do without even thinking about it here at I Breathe I DIY. We had this old hanging plant pot out in the shed that wasn’t being used. It ended up in the shed because there’s nothing special about it and it’s black. Black is usually a go-to color for us, but this pot just heats up and bakes the poor little plants inside it. Painting it is a perfect solution to this problem. We’ll reuse something that was close to going out in the garbage and make a nice planter that goes with the rest of the outdoor décor.
We have some experience painting plastic, and there’s a few ways to go about it. This tutorial will show you one of our techniques to paint plastic without it peeling, cracking, or flaking. You can transform an ordinary boring plastic plant pot and breathe new life into it.
We are going to start by using fine sandpaper on the outside of the pot to dull up the shiny surface so the paint will have something to stick to. You’ll want to hit the top with the sandpaper and about an inch down the inside-anywhere you’re going to paint. Don’t forget the bottom if yours will be hanging above eye level. There’s no need to sand anything that will be under soil.
Wipe it clean with a damp cloth to remove any dust and dirt. Let it dry.
Coat the entire outside in gel medium. This is a paint additive that many artists use to create a variety of effects in their paintings. It will dry to a haze, allowing you to see if you missed some spots. This layer provides a flexible base layer that works like a primer. The gel medium helps adhere the paint and doesn’t crack when the pot expands and contracts from being outside. Spray primers can’t expand from heat, and it results in a cracked surface that flakes off. Let the gel medium dry.
Paint the surface of the pot with your choice of colors. We chose a color of our leftover latex house paint. You can really use any type of paint you have that doesn’t wash off: Acrylic and latex are our favorites to use for this. Use a brush to cover the surface in a smooth layer. Let your pot dry then flip it over and paint the other parts that will show. Paint everywhere that there will not be soil.
Let it dry and cure overnight before sealing the paint. We used a matte medium that is sometimes used as a varnish or sealer. You can use outdoor mod podge that’s resistant to the elements and will get a similar, permanent coating, but we had this on hand already. We used a 2-inch brush to smooth the matte medium around the base and sides of the pot. It has a milky color until it has fully dried. We had to move it around, coat it, and let it dry a few times. We applied two full coverage coats to make sure the paint was sealed. This is the step that will make or break your project. We don’t have time to waste, so we don’t want it falling apart anytime soon.
We filled it with potting soil, a fuchsia, and gave it a shady place on the patio rail. What a great addition to the garden. We could reattach the original hanger or macrame a cool hanger, but for this tutorial we left it off and placed it on the porch railing near the front door.
Here’s another one we painted the same color using this method. Is been outside in the weather all season. There’s not even a hint of wear. It still looks great.
We take a ho-hum wall and spice it up with glitter. This tutorial shows what a little hard work and a whole lot of glitter can do to brighten a room. Time lapse pictures show the progress.
Have you ever wanted to use a ton of glitter? Good for you, shine on. We hadn’t until we came up with this amazing glitter wall project that gave us the opportunity to use more glitter than we previously thought humanly possible.
We’ve used metallic paints in the past and our experience is that even with the right tools, it ends up splotchy. The whole technique with applying it just so, on a perfect wall, isn’t going to work out on this room. We needed a way to cover an imperfect wall without it accentuating all the patched picture holes and the waist-height wallpaper border glue mess, which someone painted over.
This tutorial will show you how we glammed up a wall of our own, with only a couple of supplies and a whole lot of sparkle. To glitz up this wall we chose silver champagne colored glitter! You can choose any color you like, just make sure you can get more, if needed. (We needed a lot more than we originally planned and had the store order more.)
We recommend doing this on a smaller wall. The larger the wall, the more supplies you will need to complete the glitter treatment. This could be used on a number of projects like furniture, stencils, artwork, or just dazzling up your pencil holder like we did.
First we tested glitter ratios to adhesive, and figured out whether we wanted to use a gloss medium, or matte. It was our experience that the gloss just pushed the glitter around and the matte gave us the best results in applying glitter to the wall.
We did not paint our wall a similar color as the shade of our glitter. It was a huge mistake and we had extra work to cover the cream wall with our bronzish glitter treatment. It was extra supplies and a whole lot of wasted time.
If you choose to paint your walls first it will just make it easier than what we did! The paint is going to be cheaper than the glitter treatment, so you may choose to cover the area to be glitterized with something closely resembling what you’re working with. Check the oops paint at your local box store or use up something you or a friend already have to save money on this project. If you’re fairly open to colors, check the miss-tinted paints first and select glitter that’s similar. Let all paint dry at least 24-hours before applying the glitter treatment. Gloss paint should be avoided because you want the treatment to have something to grab on to.
Tape off your edges to have clean lines all around your wall. Any blue painters tape will do. This can be a bit time consuming, but if you aren’t super experienced painting at cutting in, this is a crucial step. Cover the floor with plastic because drips on the floor are a real drag. We used a large plastic tablecloth from our dollar store.
Use a larger plastic container with a lid to mix your supplies in. You can seal it up, in case you don’t/can’t use it all at once when it’s mixed up. We used a large recycled cottage cheese container. Anything with a wide opening and a lid would do nicely.
You have the luxury of using our trial-and-error when mixing this beautiful mess. You can use our experience to make your project take very little time and with just a few coats of the glitter treatment.
We used a mixture of: one large bottle of 16oz Matte Mod Podge per 6oz of fine glitter. This was 3-2oz small bottles for our color. Larger bottles are available for many colors, but not ours!
Mix them in your container and get ready to glitter! It should be thick and glittery, but you should easily be able to mix them together. It should easily drip off an overloaded paintbrush. We found that if you add more, in hopes it will go faster, you end up with a thick paste that goes on the wall like wet sand. You want the mixture to have enough bonding agent, so you can paint the wall with it, and not just glue all the glitter together inside the container. Yea, that happened.
We used a large paintbrush to apply the mixture in sections to our wall. Blend the edges, or just plop it on there, it doesn’t really matter at this point. You just don’t want any drips, brush those out. Trying to blend too much was a waste of life, so don’t move the glitter around too much, or you’ll end up with super thin spots. This mixture will roughly cover a three or four foot area with a first coat. You’ll need to mix more as you go and let it dry. When it’s wet, it’s cloudy and pastel, but clear when dry.
Apply enough coats to cover the wall, working in sections, and let it dry between coats. There you have it. That’s how we did it and you can too.
Our glitter wall is finished and beautiful. It was a fairly large wall to apply this to, and it was not as cheap as paint, even metallic, but it was the perfect transformation for the whole room. It’s a great addition to a bright sunny room with its warm-reflective awesomeness.
Easy and Economical Torch. We’re taking the backyard back. Well, they’re making citronella torches with recycled materials, and just the right amount of overkill. Join us in this quick and easy tutorial, with just a few supplies.