Tutorial: Resin Coin Display

Finshed display

Finished foreign currency display

A colleague was retiring from my group at work and he left some foreign currency in his office when he left.  A few colleagues and I thought it would be a great retirement present to preserve and present this money to him as a reminder of all the business trips he went on during his career.  Being the DIYer I am, I volunteered to make a display for him for the upcoming retirement party.

Supplies:

  • Wood for frame (I used a scrap piece of 1×8 for the back of the frame and purchased a strip of trim that was 1.25″ tall with a decorative detail)
  • Finishing nails
  • Wood Glue
  • Clamps
  • Hand saw or table saw
  • Gel stain and polyurethane (or your desired finishing technique, e.g. spray paint)
  • Resin epoxy kit (I used Parks Super Glaze (1 qt) from Home Depot)
  • Disposable plastic buckets (1 qt or larger), wood stir sticks
  • Coins and paper money or other items you want to preserve
  • Picture hanger with small nails (I used a sawtooth style hanger from the hardware store)

Instructions:
1.  Plan Frame.  Depending on the amount of currency, or other display items, you want to show, plan the size of the frame you want.  I used scrap 1 x 8 for the base, which dictated by width at 7.25-inches wide.  To fit the coins and bills I had to display, I made the base approximately 18-inches tall.  I cut pieces of decorative trim to frame the base, cutting the corners at 45-degrees to miter the corners for a tighter fit.

2.  Build Frame.  Assemble your frame according to your plan.  Be as precise as possible when fitting the frame around the base.  When you pour in your epoxy, you’ll want as tight of a seal as possible.  I used wood glue and a few finishing nails on each of the four pieces of trim along with clamps to hold it all in place while the wood glue dried.  I filled in any gaps with wood filler and used gel stain to stain my frame a mahogany color.  I applied two coats of polyurethane, focusing on the side trim pieces since the main front piece will be covered with coins and resin.

Building my frame

Building my frame

3.  Resin your coins.  When your frame is ready, arrange your coins and paper bills as desired.  I played with my layout for awhile to make sure the paper money was lying flat and the best side of each coin was showing.  Read the resin directions thoroughly if this your first time using this product!  Have all your supplies ready to use and arranged for easy access.  Have extra rags or paper towels handy to keep the area as clean as possible.  Mix the resin according to the instructions and pour over your display pieces.  Tap the frame and use a hot blow dryer to remove as many bubbles as possible.

Supplies for resin

Supplies gathered and ready for the resin step

4.  Finish display.  When your resin has dried completely, add a sawtooth picture hanger to the back.

Lessons Learned:
This was my first time working with the resin and I learned a few ways I would improve my process the next time.

1. The key to this resin is to use as thin a layer as possible.  I used most of my 1-qt of resin and filled up my display more than was necessary.  This led to a very heavy display and wrinkles in the surface of my resin as it dried.  Next time, I would make sure my coins and paper were as flat as possible and just put enough resin to cover everything.  you’re tempted to use all you resin since it is pretty expensive and one-time use.  if you can estimate how much you need more accurately, you can get a better result.

2.  Make your frame as square as possible using as light of wood as possible.  I used a 1″ x 8″ as the base of my frame and had some gaps in the trim when I assembled it.  This lead to a heavier item and more work in trying to seal the gaps with wood fill before the resin step.  The resin with dry quickly, but I got some leakage in the very beginning.

– Stephanie, HoustonDIY

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