Make Your Own Crystal Resin Collage Tray

Make Your Own Crystal Resin Collage Tray

Nora Taylor
May 15, 2016

This lovely little tray can do double duty of both helping you organize your space while jazzing it up. It's also totally customizable, so follow Cassie's instructions to make it your own!

Skill Level: Easy
Time Required: 2 hours active time, 24 hours to cure
Project Cost: $50

From Cassie: I am in the middle of redecorating my bedroom, and one of the major upgrades I will be adding is a vanity area. I have picked out a desk and chair, but am still lacking the smaller items that will really bring the space to life. One thing I knew I wanted was a tray to hold smaller items like a watch, perfume and the occasional vase of flowers. With that in mind, I purchased an acrylic tray on a whim, but when I got it home I was underwhelmed. I wanted to find a way to make it a little more interesting, and a departure from the acrylic trays I already have on my coffee table, work desk and in my kitchen drawers.

While I was thinking of how to customize this piece, I received a coupon from Artifact Uprising for a free set of 25 5" prints. I had used their service before and knew the quality was top notch, and it sparked the idea of a custom collage for my tray. I saved free downloadable wallpaper from one of the blogs I love and had them printed through Artifact Uprising's service. I kept to a basic color palette and chose images that would object texture as well. Not being a decoupage-y kind of girl, I purchased a crystal resin kit to encapsulate the collage on the bottom of the tray, and give me a perfectly smooth, flat surface to place my items on that would stand the test of time. It was super easy, completely customizable to my needs and wants, and I love how it turned out!

What You Need

  • Photo prints or patterned paper
  • Crystal resin
  • Acrylic tray
  • Paper trimmer, or scissors
  • Ruler
  • Superglue
  • Stir sticks
  • Measuring glasses


Instructions

  1. Wash your tray with warm soap and water and dry with a cloth, making sure no dust or fuzz is left behind.
  2. Trim the white border off of the prints you have chosen to work with. I needed 5 prints to fill in the bottom of my tray.
  3. Measure the width of your prints. This measurement should be equal to the height as well.
  4. Divide your measurement in half and cut all of your prints to this dimension. You should now have 10 rectangles.
  5. Continue measuring and halving your prints until you have 40 small rectangles.
  6. Arrange your pieces on the bottom of your tray until you’re happy with the design. Then super glue in place, overlapping as needed to cover the surface completely.
  7. Following the user instructions included with your kit, mix together your resin. It’s very important to mix the resin thoroughly and completely. If you skimp on this step you will wind up with soft areas on your finished surface, which would pretty much render your finished tray useless (not good).
  8. Pour the resin into your tray in a steady stream, with your tray placed on a completely level surface. My kit contained 2 cups/16 oz. of resin once mixed, and I used all of it. I ended up with about a 1 cm. layer of resin, which was perfect.
  9. After about 10-15 minutes, the bubbles you created during mixing will begin to rise to the surface. Don’t worry if there are a lot of tiny bubbles throughout your resin! Gently exhale warm breath over the resin surface. The warmth will pop the bubbles and you will be left with the crystal-clear effect you’re going for. The bubbles will continue to rise to the surface over time, so it’s important to go back to it once every ten minutes or so for the first hour and exhale on those areas where the bubbles are. If you have a kitchen torch, you can put the flame on low and, keeping the flame about 6 inches away from the resin surface, go back and forth over the top to apply heat to the bubbles. Don’t keep the flame in one spot for too long though. This could damage the resin and cause it to not set properly.
  10. Allow the resin to cure completely. The time will vary, so look to your instructions for specifics, but it will be at least 24 hours.

You can see more of this project on Anderson Dandelion.

Thanks, Cassie!

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