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“All men make mistakes, only fools repeat them.” – Ancient Proverb

There are countless proverbs warning you of the perils of not learning from past mistakes.  Because I’m feeling extra proverbial today, I thought I’d offer a defense:

“The first step in learning from your mistakes is actually remembering your mistakes.  And remembering things is really hard.” – Me

While I don’t like to make excuses, I believe my cripplingly short memory gives me a free pass.  About three years ago I developed an obsession with epoxy.  (You don’t know what epoxy is?  Read on! It will change your life.)  My obsession started simple with trays and picture frames, and it eventually culminated in the form of a pub table commemorating the trials of the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies.  I saved newspaper articles from throughout the post season, clipping photos and scores and stories–in hopes of one day creating the most magnificant craft known to man.  Those of you familar with Philadelphia sports will understand how precious those clippings were to me–especially once my beloved Phillies secured their first World Series trophy since 1980.  I filed the clippings away in a folder, waiting until inspiration struck.

Six months later, it hit me.  My boyfriend was moving into his new house, and I knew that a pub table with newspaper clippings tracking the Phils progress through the post season would be the best housewarming gift known to man.  (Yes, it did come with a pre-nup)

I needed a way to make sure that the newspaper wouldn’t get damaged: Epoxy.  So for those of you unfamiliar with epoxy, it is the clear coating that is used on bar and counter tops to make them water resistant and protect the surface underneath.  I bought a gallon of epoxy online for this particular project, but for smaller projects (like cake stands…see i’m getting there) you can find small bottles of epoxy at craft stores.

I agonized for hours over the perfect layout of the table.  Once all of the clippings were in their right place, I poured the epoxy.  And in that moment, I realized my error.  When using epoxy over paper, you need to coat the paper with a glue mixture or ModPodge to make sure the paper doesnt absorb the expoxy.  I didn’t seal the newspaper well enough and the epoxy left wet stains in the newspaper, allowing the text on the reverse side to show through.   My images of Philadelphia triumph were faded into the background of mirrored male enhancement ads.  My newspaper clippings were ruined, and I almost fell into a deep depression.

But alas.  Ebay came to my rescue.  Turns out I wasn’t the only shmo saving those precious newspaper clippings, and one week later (and for a hell of a premium) more newspaper clippings arrived on my doorstep and I tried again.  This time, it was a success!  The experience was emotionally draining, and while I knew it would be my last epoxy project for some time, I vowed to never forget the precious piece of wisdom I gathered.

It’s been over 3 years since I last touched epoxy.  But I really really wanted to start making custom cake stands, and once again epoxy was the answer.  It wasn’t long until I found myself making the same mistakes of my past: improperly sealed paper.  And with remorse and shame, I created this:

See the water marks? Ahhh.  But always determined to correct my mistakes.  I started over.  And with a little extra ModPodge and time, I present you with this DIY cake stand.  These are cheap and easy to make, and the possibilities are endless for customization.  They also make wonderful house warming gifts! (Though hardly hold a candle to pub tables)

Happy crafting!

The Materials

Wooden candlestick
8-9 inch wooden clock base, or similar
3-4 inch wooden round base (not pictured)
White acrylic paint
3oz Epoxy
Scrapbook Paper (not pictured)
Mod Podge (not pictured)
Wood Glue (not pictured)
Sand Paper
Foam Brush
 

The Instructions

1.  Start by painting the candlestick, round base, and the clock base with the acrylic paint of your choosing.  Once dried, use the wood glue to glue the candlestick in the center of the clock base.  Then glue the 4inch round base to the bottom of the candlestick.  This helps make the stand more stable.  I assembled mine with the flat edges of the clock base facing up and the beveled edge facing down.
2.  Once the stand is assembled and dry, cut a circle out of your scrapbook paper that is the same size (or slightly smaller) than the round base.  I used a plate as a template.
3.  Apply a layer of Mod Podge to the top of the clock base and attach the scrapbook paper.  Adhere the paper a bit at a time to try to avoid bumps and bubbles in the paper.  Once adhered, applya coat of Mod Podge on top of the paper.  Most of these bumps will be flattened by the epoxy, but it is good to try to make the paper as flat as possible.  Let the ModPodge dry and reapply 3 to 4 coats.  Make sure the edges are sealed flat!  This is where I went wrong. 😦  There should be a VERY thick coat of Mod Podge and nowhere that the epoxy can seep in.
4.  Once this has completely dried, I covered by surface first with a piece of cellphane (which will stop liquid) and then with a sheet of paper.  This may be overkill, but I didn’t want to harm my coffee table. 
 
5.  Now it is time to epoxy.  I used EnviroTex Lite (shown below).  Most epoxies will have similar instructions, but you’ll want to follow them to a T.  Follow the instructions for you epoxy.  I only needed about 3 oz of epoxy for 1 cake stand top.
5. After I mixed the epoxy, following EnviroTex’s instructions, I poured the epoxy slowly onto the middle of the cake stand.  Using a foam brush, spread out the epoxy so that it reaches the edges.  The epoxy may flow over the edges.  If that happens, use the foam brush to clean the edges.  The epoxy is self leveling, so as long as you spread it out a bit, it should do half of the work for you.  The epoxy takes about 6 hour to dry, but it will leave the surface of the cake stand the same texture of a counter or bar top.
6.  After the epoxy is dried, you may want to apply glaze or coating to the wood as well.
 

Tips

– Epoxy isn’t technically approved for direct contact with food, though it is approved for indirect contact.  If using as a cake stand, you’ll want to use a cake board or plate on top of the cake stand.  For cupcakes or muffins, cupcake liners will suffice. 
– Hand wash only.
– Seal your paper extra good! Trust me!
– You can use puffy paint to write on the paper once your done with the mod podge but before you put on the epoxy.  This is nice for making personalized gifts.  The epoxy will level out and leave you will a smooth surface over the writing.
-You can use things other than paper to cover the surface.  You can paint a design or even more fun, try gluing sand from the beach or glitter to the top and then cover with the epoxy.  All kinds of possibilities!
– All of the wood pieces were found in a craft store, but you can be creative and use any shapes/sizes that work for you! 
 
 
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