How to Make Ocean Wave Art Using Resin and Wood

25 Materials
$85
4 Hours
Medium

In this HT tutorial, I'll show you how to make ocean wave art using resin and wood. This ocean wave art can be used as art or as a small table.

Tutorial Overview

Obviously, I love ocean-inspired projects. In fact, most of my inspiration for just about everything comes from the beach and ocean.

Originally, I did not intend to publish a tutorial or video for this project. Instead, my plan was to record the build to use as reference for one of my future resin projects.

However, this resin ocean wave art turned out better than I hoped for, so I decided to write this resin ocean art tutorial.

Prepare Wood

I'm not going to spend much time on explaining how to prepare the wood for this project. Basically, the type of wood and size doesn't matter. Just make sure the wood is in decent shape and the same size (if using 2 pieces). For this project, I rough sanded the wood with a sander up to 120 grit.

Resin Mould & Layered Resin

I'm not certain if mould is spelled with or without the 'u', so I'll go with mould. Forgive me if the spelling is grammatically incorrect.

The purpose of a resin mould is to block the resin from leaking for projects such as this one.

First, I used a piece of particle board, plywood, or MDF.

Next, I covered the board with packing tape.

Then, I coated the packing tape with vaseline or furniture wax.

The sides and ends should be as long, wide, and tall as the table. I also covered the sides with packing tape and secured them with brad nails to the rear of the table.

For this project, I only used 2 ends because the wood on each side served as the sides. Most importantly, I used a silicone caulk (any type will work) to seal all edges, seams, and corners.

As a quick tip, clamp the wood to the resin mould before sealing with silicone caulk. If I clamp the work piece down after sealing, I risk breaking the caulk which causes leaking.

For more details on resin moulds, be sure to visit my blog.

Layer Resin for 3D Effect

For clarification purposes, I intentionally poured 4 layers of epoxy resin for this resin ocean art project.

I wanted to experiment with 3d resin waves by pouring multiple thin layers about 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick.

Ultimately, this allows me to test different techniques to create epoxy water effects.

The type of resin I used only allows for 1/8" to 1/4" pours; however, other epoxy resins are designed for 4" pours and cure slowly to control heat.

Mix Resin for First Pour

For the first resin pour, I mixed 48 ounces of epoxy resin in a mixing container. I have a resin calculator on my website, which will help you determine the amount of resin to use for your project.

My daughter likes watching epoxy resin pours and helping me with resin art projects.

Next, I mixed the material until it was clear. Most epoxy resin gets cloudy during the mixing process. The material becomes clear when fully mixed.

In order make the resin ocean wave art translucent, I mixed resin and turquoise blue transparent dye.

As a side note, I have 2 types of blue transparent dye in this project.

I did not do this on purpose. Originally, I thought all transparent dye were essentially the same when I purchased more dye for this project.

One dye is weak while the other is strong. In other words, I use more of the weaker dye to achieve the desired shade of blue.

Essentially, I started out using the weaker dye in this project and eventually transitioned to using the stonger one.

While the weaker dye allows more color control, it was a bit aggravating to keep adding to the resin.

Remember, don't darken the first layer too much b/c the blue actually gets a bit darker with each layer of resin.

First Resin Pour and Alcohol Ink

I poured the resin and verified I didn't have any leaks.

Then, I added alcohol ink within 3 to 5 minutes of the resin pour. It is important the resin to be fluid in order for the alcohol ink to disperse correctly.

I used the bottle to pour white alcohol ink across the length of one side near the wood. Essentially, the point here is to make it appear as though waves are crashing on the shore.

Next, I used a hair dryer to spread the alcohol ink because my heat gun broke. I ordered a new one, but it didn’t arrive in time for this project.

Keep in mind, a hair dryer works fine; however, the high speed may cause the resin and/or alcohol ink to splash around.

Ultimately, I wanted to get a feel for how it flowed in the resin.

I noticed something interesting while moving the alcohol ink in the resin.

The more I moved the alcohol ink with the heat gun (blow dryer), the more it blended with the resin. In other words, the resin looked more like white resin.

I learned to get the lace effect or water effect, I only needed to move the alcohol ink a few times.

Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong way to go about creating resin ocean wave art.

I encourage you to do what feels right to you. After all, art is about self expression.

The art piece sat for 24 hours.

Second Resin Pour

For the second resin pour, I repeated the exact steps for the first resin pour - 48 ounces, transparent blue dye, etc..

However, I did start using my other blue transparent dye which only required 1 drop instead of 10. :)

Again, I allowed the resin to cure for 24 hours.

Alcohol ink in Second Resin Pour

As you can see, the ocean waves are starting to take shape. Also, the alcohol ink in the first layer adds depth for a 3D effect.

Once the resin ocean waves looked good, I allowed the resin to cure for 24 hours.

Third Resin Pour

For the third resin pour, I repeated the same process as the previous 2 layers.

In order to create more of a 3D ocean wave effect, I used my heat gun to roll some of the blue resin over the alcohol ink.

I did not want the surface to be too white considering I had one more epoxy resin layer after this one.

Resin Inlays

I almost forgot to mention the resin inlay in the previous step.

This piece of cypress wood had many imperfections, so I decided to pour resin into a crevice in the wood and add alcohol ink. This not only secures the imperfection, but also adds to the look of the piece.

Final Pour

Yep, you guessed it! I repeated the same process as the previous 3 resin pours for this resin pour.

I poured the final resin layer and allowed it to settle for a few minutes.

Final Layer of Alcohol Ink

I added alcohol ink and started working it in the resin with the hot air.

There is no right or wrong way to do this - simply work the alcohol ink until it looks and feels right to you.

As you can see, the ocean waves appears as though half of it is under the surface of the water. This is the 3D effect.

I find it really helps to roll the blue resin over part of the white alcohol ink to create depth at the very end.

After I rolled the blue resin over, I left it alone.

Furthermore, it is a bit more difficult to accomplish this effect with a deep resin pour especially if you don't have much resin experience.

Remove Resin Mould

Removing the resin mould should be fairly easy as long as there was no resin leaking.

I sanded and polished the resin after removing it from the resin mould. I'll cover this in my next HT tutorial, b/c HT only allows 15 pictures per post and I don't have enough room.

3D Transparent Effect

I put the resin art next to the window in my house so you can see the light shining through the resin and the 3D wave effect.

The resin slightly diffracts the light which adds the the water effect.

Final Thoughts

Although this project spanned across 4 days, it took me 5 hours to make.

This resin ocean wave art looks great and exceeded my expectations.

Most importantly, I learned how to apply alcohol ink in various ways by working with additional resin layers in this project.

In conclusion, I hope this resin ocean wave art tutorial provided you with value.

Also, this  wood and resin ocean art is for sale. I made 4 more after this one from the same wood and they all look similar. If I don't have any inventory left, please email me for a custom order.

Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
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Jeremy Hoffpauir

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Mamamia
    on Oct 7, 2019

    what would the above cost?. it is absolutely stunning

Join the conversation

3 of 41 comments
  • Marcia
    on Oct 26, 2019

    been watching these for a while ,,interested in doing one ,,,nothing better than a challenge

  • Eliza
    on Feb 9, 2020

    Like this & would like to do this with mirror as raised portions & maybe put a porpoise in the water portion. Am a surfer & cannot get to the shore but want to bring it here.

    Not sure about mirror cutting.

    Like the imperfection of the Cypress wood & further inspires to various portions of bark I find that have fabulous rivuletes &wavy patterns perhaps you look like an old shipwreck in the ocean. Very nice Just really nice to bring the ocean home.


    🌊🍊 Eliza ~ Southern California ~

    • Jeremy Hoffpauir
      on Feb 9, 2020

      Thank you!

      I just created a custom piece like this for a person in Southern California (Hawaiian native) with your name.

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