It takes time to create the perfect resin coaster. 11 steps spanning five days to be precise.
Take a look behind the scenes to see how we do it. (We've skipped a few in the description below... we don't want to bore you!)
WHAT IS RESIN?
Epoxy resin is a compound that solidifies with the help of a hardening agent. It takes the shape of whatever container it is cast in, making it an ideal medium for the creative arts. You may recognize it as the substance used to make boats and surfboards, not to mention countertops and a variety of household items.
| | | STEP ONE
Once the resin has been activated, we're ready to go! Over the course of 30 minutes, you are able to layer pigments, additives and heat to create the dimensional effects you see in front of you. As the 30-minutes elapses, the resin will start to cure and your final piece starts to take shape of the mold it sits in. After 48 hours, the resin is safe to touch. At this point we are able to demold a piece and move forward to the next step in the product curation journey. If this happens before the resin cures, the coaster will lose its shape, the oil from our fingers will embed in the resin surface and ruin all of the good work we've done! Pouring during winter months slows down the curing process. Pouring curing summer months speeds up the curing process. Given its response to the surrounding environment, no resin piece is ever the same!
From mica powders, to acrylic paint, resin tints and resin pastes, the colour opportunities are endless. Each pigment takes on its own behaviour once applied to resin creating the effects you see before you. As you mix the two resin compounds, bubbles start to form.
Mixing resin is no different to mixing a cake! Bubbles can impede the desired effects and can damped the lustrous shine that we try so hard to achieve. At various points throughout our 30-minute working time, we use a torch to burst the bubbles and help the freshly mixed pigments work their magic.
| | | STEP TWO
The next step is to prepare the coaster for a second coat of resin (or a flood coat). While it's a repetitive step, it adds another layer of dimension to your resin piece adding to its beauty.
Before we add this layer, we must first protect the sides and the bases as we don't want resin dripping down and sides and making your coaster uneven when it's sitting on your table. Let's just say we go through a lot of painters tape and liquid latex!
Drying may be one of the most important stages in this entire process. If the coaster is unbalanced in the drying rack or disturbed in any way, the entire piece could easily be ruined.
We take extra care to ensure no dust or other particles fall on the curing flood coat, so the coasters sit in a specially designed drying rack for the next 48 hours.
| | | STEP THREE
Once the coasters are fully cured, we sand the edges. To make sure every edge is as smooth as possible, we rotate through varying sandpaper grits to achieve the optimal finish. We start at 220 grit and work our way up to 2000 grit. Safety precautions are needed as resin particles can be dangerous! So we don up in our respirators, aprons, gloves and goggles to make sure no flecks do us harm. Rain or shine, wind or snow, we always complete this step outside to prevent additional dust entering our work studio.
| | | STEP FOUR
If you've chosen a coaster with a gold edge, this step comes next. We clean the coasters with an alcohol spray solution and a microfibre cloth to make sure the surface will take all of the liquid gold we apply to the edges. Two coats are normally required, but being an oil-based medium, we of course have to wait 24 hours between coats.
| | | STEP FIVE
We're almost done! All of our guided edges are protected with a heat-resistant varnish to ensure a long-life. You're right, we do apply two coats, but 12 hours apart this time.
| | | STEP SIX
Finally, we add the finishing touches - be it plastic feet or a cork base. The coaster gets one final polish with beeswax before it's wrapped up and shipped off to you!
When we say our coasters are unique and made with love, we mean it!