*Warning. Viewing images in this post will make you think of Jell-O jigglers and could potentially make you very hungry for said red Jell-o jigglers. Lazy Guy DIY accepts no responsibility in the amount of Jell-o you consume after reading such tutorial… And… don’t eat the epoxy.
So a few weeks ago I got asked by my buddy Matt from Keddie Woodshop to join in a Valentine’s Day giveaway. I’m generally not a small decor guy (I’m clearly a big manly furniture building guy), but I said I would give it ago. The only parameter is that it needed to have a heart and it would be won by a luckily viewer at the end. So now what? I had a few new tools and I wanted to give them a try with some test pieces all the while my wife was graciously brainstorming new ideas that I kept dismissing (nicely). After a failed attempt at a jewelry tray I said screw it, let’s do an epoxy cut out like you originally suggested.
- Miter Saw
- Table Saw optional
- Scroll Saw (Shop Fox 16″ Scroll Saw)
- Random Orbit Sander
- Scrap board at least 15″ in length and 5″ wide
- (6) 0.70″ Rare Earth Magnets (3 per pack)
- Easy Cast Clear Epoxy
- Transparent Casting Dye
- 3/4″ Forstner Bit
- Key Hole Router Bit
- Paint of any color (I used a random country white)
- Wood stain of any color (I used MinWax Special Walnut)
Hate reading and would rather watch a video of the build? Check it out below.
So from the start, yes I have a fancy piece of wood for this project. You don’t need it. When I say fancy, it’s in terms of a Chevy Malibu is fancier than a Ford Fiesta. It’s poplar (not popular). It’s not normal off the rack, twisted like a piece of licorice, hardware store lumber, but there’s no reason why you can’t use that.
Before we get started, I did not take pictures of the first three steps, but you can see them in the video.
Step 1 – Cut Your Board to Length
Because my fancy poplar was a 12″ x 24″ that I purchased for another project in mind, I ripped it down to a 5″ x 15″. Make sure your board is flat and your edges are square.
Step 2 – Cut Your Heart Out
Too violent? Guess Mortal Kombat wasn’t your kind of game in the 90’s either. You don’t have to use a heart shape, but I did for Valentine’s Day purposes. Find the center of your board and trace the shape you want to fill with epoxy later. And let’s be honest, “Epoxy Filled Heart” is an awesome band name for those looking for one. Using a wide drill bit, cut a pilot hole in the middle of your traced shape that can be used to feed the scroll saw blade into. Once you have your scroll saw in place, cut out your desired shape. You’ll notice in the video that I used an oscillating spindle sander to sand the edges, but that’s because I had a new toy and I really wanted to try it out. You can easily hand sand your edges with sandpaper. Just make sure you don’t have any jagged edges.
Step 3 – Round Is the New Flat
To jazz up this piece I used a round over bit to in my router table to give the edges a little added detail. You can use a normal router for the same effect or even use your palm sander to soften the edges. Again… if you have toys… use them.
Step 4 – Epoxy Filled Heart World Tour
Hey I took a picture! Ha, the problem with time lapse filming is that it uses your camera… So adding the Epoxy is extremely simple, but the directions make it sound like you’re defusing a bomb. It’s easier than making a cake. Unless you just buy your cakes from the store. But you’re a DIY’er, I have faith in your ability to make this. Before you do anything though, tape up the back side of your shape with painter’s tape. I used a few layers in case it leaked. It didn’t.
Take two bottles of included liquid. Take two separate cups. Pour equal amounts of said liquids into separate plastic cups. Keep in mind, these cups will be tossed when you’re done. So don’t use your favorite mug. There’s no saving them. I used Dixie Cups left over from my championship beer pong days. Pour the contents of cup 1 into cup 2. I also used a plastic spoon to scoop any excess out. Then stir for 2 minutes. It occurred to me just now that instead of counting in my head, I have an Amazon Echo in my shop and I could have said, “Alexa, set timer for 2 minutes”. Doh! After stirring for 2 minutes, pour the contents from cup 2 back into cup 1 and add your dye. It said add one or two drops, but I”m a rebel and I did like 10. Stir and stir and stir some more. For 2 minutes again. Then pour the contents into your mold. This is where the Jell-O feeling really kicks in. Do not eat this. You will die.
Let it sit at room temperature undisturbed overnight. It needs at least 8-10 hours of sleep.
Step 5 – Admire Your Awesomeness, But You Can Do Better
After it’s had a snooze and fully dried, it’s time to go back and clean up some of those whoopsies. You can see on mine I had a little bit of overflow that soaked in, but now that it’s hardened, I can just sand the entire surface with my Random Orbit sander and clean it up to a smooth finish. Same goes for the edges as well. No one likes to get splinters from their decor pieces.
Step 6 – Cut Holes, But Not Big Holes
On the back of your project, using a forstner bit, drill holes that will house your magnets. Okay, something very obvious needs to be said here. DO NOT BORE HOLES THROUGH THE OTHER SIDE! I used my drill press but you can just as easily mark your depth with a drill by adding a piece of tape on your bit to see when to stop. You want to go deep enough that the magnets work, but not so deep that you’ll puncture through. It’s a test as you go thing. Take a little, check with your magnets, go a little more, etc. With the magnets I purchased from Home Depot listed above, I had to stack 3 on top to get the desired strength.
If you’re one with a critical eye (I feel sorry for your significant other!) you’ll notice I had a little overflow on the back of my epoxy filled heart. This is what happens when you remove the tape at hour 6, think it’s solid and then come back a few hours later. Luckily it didn’t cause any problems.
Step 7 – The Key To My Heart
Using a Key Hole bit in my router, I cut two tracks for mounting this piece to the wall. It’s extremely important that the cuts are even on both sides or your heart will hang on the wall all wonky. And nobody wants a wonky decor heart.
If you don’t have a router or don’t feel like going the key hole cut out route (tool joke!) then you can easily add standard picture hangers, but we fancy at Lazy Guy DIY.
Step 8 – Paint It Black, Or Red, Or White Or Whatever
As I mentioned in the materials, I painted my board a country white. Sort of a buttery white. Don’t get attached. It’s not sticking around very long. Also, don’t get any on your epoxy heart. That’s just man glitter (saw dust) you see there.
After you paint has dried, with your palm sander, sand off the paint around your edges and randomly around the surface of your piece. The idea is to have the spots where the paint is taken off to be highlighted by stain. Make sure you don’t scuff your epoxy though.
Step 9 – Stain It, But With Wood Stain, Not Mustard or Grape Juice
For this project I had MinWax Special Walnut already in the shop, so I wiped on a healthy coat, then wiped off the excess. Once again, make sure you don’t get any on the epoxy. Wipe it off immediately if you do, then let the stain dry for a few hours.
Step 10 – If They Are Rare, Why Are They So Cheap?
It’s finally time. Time to attach your rare earth magnets. I should state, rare earth magnets are super strong compared to normal craft magnets, but if they are so rare why do they have them in every Home Depot? In family packs! You can use any strong adhesive like super glue, I used DAP Rapid Fuse and stacked 3 magnets in each hole. A few drops and these suckers will stick like… well magnets.
Step 11 – Hang Your Keys and Stay A While
That’s it. You’re done. Hang your heart on the wall, don’t wear it on your sleeve and slap your keys up there and hope they stay. If they fall off then clearly this is a sign about your love life from the epoxy heart god. Luckily you can always stack another magnet on your pile for a little extra pull. As always, if you have any questions, comments or just want to show me what you built, feel free to contact me and share!
~ Lazy Guy