Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Make a Superhero Table

When we decided to do Chase's room with a superhero theme I decided that I wanted to make him a cool table with a superhero comic book top. The project took on a life of its own and was somewhat of a disaster but I thought I would share my learnings with you all so that if anyone else out there wants to try this the project will go smoother.

Step 1: Find a kids wood table and chairs at a garage sale or on craigs list - I highly recommend a table with an edge around the top (so the top is slightly inset) because it will make pouring the acrylic a lot easier
Step 2: Buy at least two and possibly three comic books - I bought about 50 of them for $20 on eBay because I used some of the other ones in frames in the bedroom / bathroom (remove the staples at the bindings and trim the sheets into a uniform size with a paper cutter)
Step 3: You will need adhesive of some sort and quite a few cans of high gloss spray paint for the table and chairs (we used permanent spray adhesive but if I were to do this again I would probably go with decoupage glue to get a better hold, the spray adhesive didn't stick that well)
Step 4: Lightly sand the table and chairs just enough to scuff up the surface so the spray paint has something to stick to (used 200 grit paper)
Step 5: Spray paint the table and chairs the desired color (you don't have to do the table top because it is going to be covered anyways)
Step 6: Once the paint is completely dry arrange and glue down the comic book pages as desired
Step 7: Once the adhesive is dry use a poured acrylic on the top (you will have about 15 - 20 minutes once you mix the acrylic to get it smoothed out over the top of the table - this is a lot easier if there are two people smoothing - we found paint stirrers worked well for smoothing)
- DO NOT use a high gloss spray paint finish (I tried that it just gets absorbed by the comic book pages and bubbles up and looks terrible)
- If you don't have an edge on the table the acrylic will leak off the edges so put a tarp down (I almost think if I tried this again I would probably tape off the edges if the table didn't have an edge to see if that would be enough to "hold in" the acrylic)
- Lightly blowing on bubbles that form will help them pop
- If you don't have an edge on the table afterwards you will most likely have to sand off the dripped acrylic and repaint (I haven't gotten to that yet)
- I would recommend at least two layers / coats because I think the finish was shinier and more nicer thicker - you have to let it dry between layers (we did three because we had some bubbled paper that had to be covered up with a thick layer of acrylic)

I think the finished project looks pretty good but there are a few bubbles in the table top and of course the un-sanded edges still. I was pretty dang impressed with pour acrylic though, it has a very hard finish and amazing gloss. If anyone else out there has any better tips for doing a project like this let me know!

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