As most of you can tell, I spend a lot of time in my workshop. Whether I’m building, filming, or basking in the perfect combination of the two, my workshop is my second home. I like to keep my distractions to a minimum because I only have one shot to film most of my clips. I was super jazzed about the idea of creating some form of ‘do not disturb’ sign, but a hotel door- style paper handle sign just wasn’t going to cut it. I’m John freaking Malecki.
So in this build, I created an “On Air” sign for my office using epoxy resin. These are typically acrylic, but I found this the perfect opportunity to try out some new epoxy resin projects after my live edge river table. After a few minor mishaps, I turned out a sweet battery-powered LED light with a Shoshugibon-finished wooden box. I had a blast putting this thing together -- check it out.
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Pouring epoxy requires some prep work. You’re going to need a box to help shape your sheets. The hard part is that this box must be watertight and you must be able to get the resin sheets out. I made a shallow box for the resin sheets using scrap wood. I lined the box with packing tape because I’m kind of a cheapskate. The pros will tell you to use Kydex Tape, but packing tape does the trick too.
For epoxy resin projects like this, you don’t need super thick sheets. I made 1/4″ thick sheets, so I didn’t need an epoxy for a super deep pour. This being said, I used Total Boat High Performance Epoxy. I measured out my form, and make enough to fill the form 1/4″ by volume. If you want to dye your epoxy, do it now and mix it well.
I popped out the sheet from the box carefully using a putty knife, making sure it's fully cured and rock hard. To cut the letters, I used double sided tape and my Axiom CNC to create a completely non-sexist female pocket. I accidentally broke the second sheet, so I rerouted my plan and decided to backfill the epoxy letters with red resin after I cut them out.
Since I decided to fill my letters instead, I mixed more epoxy to fill the grooves. When pouring epoxy you’re going to want to stay close to the pour because, unless you can vacuum the resin, bubbles will form and come to the surface. To avoid this, you’re going to want to pop the bubbles with a torch. My favorite way to do that is to use a MAPP gas torch because it heats to the just-right temperature for epoxy resin projects and has a convenient trigger.
Now that your sign is taking shape, you’re going to need to flatten it up. I used my drum sander for this, but you can easily do it by hand. I sand up to 400 grit, but a lot of people prefer to sand epoxy to 1000 grit or more to get it to shine. For this application, the 400 grit made more sense -- but do your thing.
To encapsulate the sign, I built a simple mitered shadow box. I wanted to create some more reflection in the inside of the box for maximum brightness, so I painted the inside white. I then used the Japanese technique ‘shoshugibon’ - a method of wood preservation with a flame that turns your wood a rich, dark grey or black color - on the outside for some contrast.
I wanted to make sure the sign was removable, so I stand it off with magnets. I embedded the magnets with a Forstner bit and some CA glue. I then aligned the sign with some CA glue and set it in place.
For the light, I used a wireless battery-powered LED light. The LED light I chose uses a sticky back, which made it super easy to install. Additionally, it’s battery-powered and has a remote for easy turn on -- this one is pretty similar.
And there you have it: one super-cool DIY ‘on-air’ epoxy resin box. If you love this and want to explore some more of my builds - including more epoxy resin projects - check out these other projects!
Want to try this build out for yourself? Download the digital plan now for step-by-step instructions, measurements, and a detailed look at how to punch this project in the face.