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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Homemade Pegboard – Get Organized!

As part of my ongoing effort to get organized, I’ve been wanting to make a pegboard for my garage for a long time.  I finally had some time recently and I think it turned out pretty well.  This is a very basic woodworking project.  I didn’t use any power tools except for a drill and just hand sawed a few pieces.  It’s straightforward and an easy way to organize a garage, craft room, sewing room, or game room.  I made mine 2′ x 4′, but there are larger pegboard options available and your local home improvement store.  The directions would be the same, except for the changing dimensions.

Supplies Needed:

*  One 2′ x 4′ piece of hardwood pegboard (home improvement store, ~$15)
*  Two 2″ x 2″ x 8′ furring strips
—-  Cut one in half into two 4′ lengths
—-  Cut second in half; then cut one piece in half again to get two 2′ lengths (you’ll have an extra 4′ piece)
*  15 – 20″ long piece of scrap 1″ x 4″ or similar wood to make a french pleat
*  Box of 1.5″ wood screws (you’ll need ~20-30)
*  Power drill
*  Basic supplies – tape measure, level, pencil, etc.

The overall plan for the pegboard is to create a frame of furring around the outer edge behind the pegboard material.  The furring strips will be attached to the board and to each other to create a strong frame with the pegboard that is held away from the wall a sufficient amount to allow you to hang hooks through the holes without your wall getting in the way.

To start the construction, place the furring strips in a rectangle on the floor or a sturdy surface with the pegboard on top.  The assembly should look as it would on the wall.  For each furring strip, carefully align it to make sure everything is straight and aligned with the pegboard and drive screws from the front of the pegboard, through a hole and into the furring strip.  The head of the screw should not fit through the hole and should secure it to the frame of furring strips.  I put about 4 to 6 screws on each of the 4 sides.  Once all of the furring strips is attached to the pegboard, flip over the board and secure the furring strips to each other at the corners for added rigidity.

At this point, you should have your pegboard essentially assembled.  If you want to spray paint the whole thing, now is the time.  (I kept this one au naturel since it was for the garage, but am considering a white one for my craft room.  That’s for another weekend…)

The next step is to hang the pegboard on your wall of choice.  Feel free to hang this however you’d like, but I’d recommend a french pleat.  The whole assembly has some weight to it, so you’ll need something stronger than hooks or nails.  The french pleat is a good solution because it provides a hardy hanging surface.  This technique is frequently used hang headboards when they do not attach to the bed frame.

You can find a lot of tutorials in the blogosphere about french pleats.  They are pretty simple if you have a good picture.  Here’s my attempt of a descriptive photo:

Intro to a French Cleat

HoustonDIY’s introduction to a French Cleat

The key is find a piece of scrap wood that is ~1 – 1.5″ thick.  depending on the shape and weight of your pegboard, you can either create a long french cleat across the whole length of the piece you’re hanging, or you can use two pieces on each edge like I did.  I found a 1″ x ~18″ piece of scrap in my garage.  I first cut it in half on the short length to create two 1″ x ~9″ pieces.  Then, using a miter box or table saw, cut a 45 degree angle cut through the shorter length of each piece.  If you are using one large cleat, cut a 45 degree cut down the entire length of the piece, the long way.

Then, the method will be to attach one piece that you just cut to the wall and the other, matching piece attaches to your pegboard.  The key is to make sure the piece attached to the wall is oriented with the cut, angled edge upward and with the higher side away from the wall.  This creates a triangle shaped ridge at the top of the piece of wood on each side of where the peg board will go (or along the entire length, if using one large cleat).  Then, attached the matching piece of wood to your pegboard oriented downward with the longer side away from the pegboard.  Then, you can easily hang the pegboard by setting it onto of your french cleat.  This makes the item very secure but easy to hang and remove.  Make sure to attach the wall cleat to a stud with 2 to 4 screws.  If using a long cleat, attach at every stud with at least 2 screws.

I found making this DIY pegboard was an easy and fun way to get organized.  The key was to figure out what size I wanted and how to hang it.  Once I mastered the french cleat, and with some rigorous measuring to make sure it would be level, my pegboard was wonderful and put to use right away.  You can also cut the peg board to make the personalized pegboard that fits your space.  Happy DIY-ing!

DIY Pegboard

DIY pegboard proudly displayed in my garage

-HoustonDIY