Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Creating a Clear Coated Cloth Covered Tabletop

We use this table as a counter top from the kitchen side of a pass through and a desk from the living room side of the pass through.  It's heavily used, therefore requires an extremely durable surface...

To prevent it from looking like this!  Despite about 8 coats of varnish, this is what's happened to my table/counter/desktop over the course of a year.

I have had a box of EnviroTex Lite in my craft room for almost 10 years, waiting for the perfect project.  The day has finally come!  EnviroTex Lite is a polymer material that produces a super durable, high-gloss finish on a variety of surfaces.  You've probably seen bar tops and restaurant tables covered in this material, though you can cover just about anything in it.  It comes as 2 bottles of liquid which you mix together and pour before it hardens in about 8 hours.  I knew one large box would be just shy of enough to cover this table so I picked up another.  An 8 ounce box if this product will cover about 2 square feet of level surface.

I bought a piece of upholstery cloth to cover the top of my table.  You could use cloth, paper collage, natural objects such as dried leaves or flowers...as long as you account for the depth of the item you're covering and purchase enough product to fill the space.  I used Yes Paste to glue the cloth to the table a full day before I was planning to cover it in polymer.  I am a super fan of Yes Paste!  It will never cause paper or cloth to ripple or buckle and it's easy to spread onto large surfaces using a putty knife.

Once I had glued my cloth down and used a roller (brayer) to push out any little bubbles in the cloth, I used a rolling blade cutter to trim the fabric from the edges.  I did this when the glue was still wet so the cloth came up easily from the edges.  Use a level or a t-square as a guide when cutting.

On the instructions for using the EnvoriTex, it says to pour the liquid product over the surface and let it drip down the sides, but I didn't want to risk getting glue on the sides of my table.  I crossed my fingers, took a chance and created a lip using painter's tape.  I secured the tape all the way around the table, poured the liquid polymer late in the evening, and left it sit overnight.  In the morning, the polymer was hardened and the tape peeled off perfectly clean (to my surprise)!  There was a little ridge around the edges of the polymer, which I sanded off using my power drill and a cylindrical sanding bit.  It only took a couple minutes, and my project was complete!

The instructions in the EnviroTex Lite box are easy to follow.  The only thing I would note is that when it says passing over the wet polymer with a blow torch will remove air bubbles, this did not work for me.  It also says blowing gently on the bubbles will cause them to disappear and this did work well for me.   Also, when you pour the product, you will see that it's extremely glossy.  This does not change once it dries, though there are instructions in the package for how to create a matte finish on the dry surface.

If you're thinking of using this polymer product for your home improvement project, it's definitely got my vote!  Enjoy!


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