How to Create a Countertop With Clear Acrylic Over Shells
If you’ve got an old scratched up countertop or you simply want to renovate yours, you can do so with the appropriate tools. One of the most innovate ways to hide scratches or an old countertop is to decorate it with shells and then set it with an acrylic solution, which you can do with epoxy resin. The process to create a countertop with clear acrylic over shells is a bit time consuming and requires detail and patience, but it’s well worth the effort to have a professional-looking countertop for less than half the price.
Clean the countertop by rubbing a rag covered with mild soap and warm water over it. Allow the table to air dry completely before proceeding.
Arrange the shells onto the countertop in the style that you wish. One of the best ways to achieve a cohesive design or pattern is to begin in the middle of the countertop and work your way out.
Don your rubber gloves. Mix the epoxy materials. Read your particular epoxy manufacturer’s label to determine the appropriate process for mixing their product. Generally, mix 1 part of the resin and 2 parts of the hardener, and add a little extra hardener to ensure that your acrylic will harden properly.
Pour the epoxy onto the center of the countertop. Use a plastic scraper to spread it evenly over the tabletop, working gently so as not to disrupt your shells’ alignments. Whip up some more epoxy mixture if needed to create a layer that evenly covers all the shells by at least 1/4-inch. Make sure you get the epoxy in all the corners as well.
Plug in a hair dryer, and turn it on to the highest and strongest heat setting. Hold the hair dryer approximately 2 inches away from the epoxy, and blow the hot air over the epoxy to release all the air bubbles. Allow the epoxy to dry completely (which can take a week or longer depending upon the thickness of the epoxy) before setting anything on it.
- Sprinkle glitter over your shells before applying the epoxy to make your countertop sparkly.
- Don’t touch the epoxy with bare hands because the chemicals can harm your skin. Make sure you wear rubber gloves because they can protect your hands from chemicals, whereas all other gloves cannot.
Kayla Lowe has been a freelance writer since 2008. She writes for various online publications and is also the author of the book "Maiden's Blush," a Christian-fiction romance novel. Lowe is pursuing a degree in elementary education.
- sea shells image by Shirley Hirst from Fotolia.com