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What you will need
- Tray – Lots of options available. I chose a wooden tray which I picked up at Hobbycraft and was 35cm x 25cm x 6cm
- Resin – I used Resin8 Coat It resin with Resin8 Heat-Resistant Resin for the top layer
- Colour – I used several different pigments in this tray
- Sand and shells – I used a mix of fine and coarse sand with some added shells. However you can just use the natural colour of the wood if you prefer.
- Mod Podge
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- Acrylic paint
- Heat gun
- Mixing equipment – pots, mixing sticks, nitrile gloves. I particularly like using these silicone mixing sticks
Step 1 – Sealing the wood
Some initial preparation time is well spent to avoid wasting a lot of resin when you pour. For this tray I used Mod Podge, painting a layer on the base of the tray extending up the sides by about 1cm.
I also used some acrylic paint to hide the colour of the wood in case it affected the colour of the transparent pigments. I’m honestly not sure if it helped at all, but it was also quite useful as a guide when pouring of where to aim for with different colours.
I used my hot glue gun to go around the edges of the base to ensure no resin seeped through when I poured. I also did the underside of the tray, again not sure if this was entirely necessary but it felt like it provided an extra barrier. I would recommend a thin glue layer as you will see later my thicker layer caused me a few problems.
Step 2 – Creating a beach
I started with creating the “beach” area of the tray. I mixed up some fine golden sand with some resin and spread it over the “beach” area. I added some coarser sand on top, with a few bits of broken shell and added a few small shells around the sand. I added a little clear resin on top and left it overnight to cure.
Step 3 – Making Waves
The next step was to add the sea. I started at the opposite end from the sand and in total used about 120ml of resin. ( I should have used about double this, but as you will see later I realised too late!) I mixed each of my pigments with the resin and left some clear resin as well.
I used the darkest first (the opaque deep sea blue) to represent the deeper sea. I used the darker painted area as a bit of a guide where to pour up to, then added the blue green, followed by the light blue finishing with some clear resin to “connect” up to the sand.
Next I added some small lines of white where I wanted some waves to be onto the clear resin. I used my heat gun to move these around a bit and this was how it turned out.
I was really happy with how it looked and even managed to get those lovely lacing effects. However it was here that I noticed I hadn’t used enough resin to cover the glue I used to seal the edges of the tray. I wasn’t happy with how the edges looked so I decided to add another layer the next day.
Step 4 – Stormier seas
I repeated step 3 the next day. It covered up most of the lovely wave effects I had managed to get the day before, however due to the size of the tray I thought they were a bit subtle so added quite a bit more white than before and ended up with a significantly stormier beach scene! It also covered up the glue around the tray.
Step 5 – Heat resistance
I wanted to be able to use this tray for a variety of things so wanted to keep my options open. I decided to add a heat resistant layer to allow for it to be used to carry hot drinks.
I used around 200ml to cover all of the sand and shells and to create enough of a layer for it to be effective. It only takes a day to cure but the heat resistance takes about 2-3 weeks to fully develop, so a lot of patience is required before it is used.
The finished tray
I enjoyed working on this project which is a bit bigger in size than my usual ones. I like looking at the dramatic sea and the texture of the sand. I like the changes in colour as the “water” gets deeper. Living a few hours from the sea, it is nice to look at my homemade version every now and then.