Hello! I am sharing a tutorial on how to cover a table with your favorite collected mementos with polyurethane. I used all the concert tickets and wristbands my husband and I have been saving for years to cover our basic Ikea coffee table. Ticket stubs are now a thing of the past, as so many of our recent shows have been a home printer ticket or an electronic version. Our music memories are now sealed under the polyurethane, resembling a glass top. The tickets look great and we no longer need coasters! Because this is an Ikea table, if we ever want a different coffee table, we can easily remove the legs and display the top of the table as wall art.
You could do this project with any collected item, as long as it is thin and can be glued down!
1. Collect materials at home, online, hardware store, and your favorite craft/art store. The cost for this project is around 50 dollars if you have to buy all the materials.
You will need...
* Blue painters tape, any type of durable artist tape. I would recommend at least 2" width tape
* Mod Podge, or Matte Acrylic gel medium, or any glue that will dry clear and is reliable
* Foam Brush for applying glue
* Polyurethane, I used EnviroTex Lite Brand
* Spatula, or drywall scraper, or squeegee for spreading polyurethane
* clean empty bucket or container for mixing polyurethane
* mixing stick, paint stick etc.
* butane or propane torch
* drop cloth
* light grit, high number sand paper
* a surface to cover and your photos, collected items, etc.
2. I covered a very basic Ikea coffee table, you could use just about any surface as long as it is pretty flat and you can glue your mementos down to the surface. The Ikea table was easy because I was able to remove the legs and only work with the top part of the table. I cleaned the surface first before sorting through the tickets and deciding on a layout.
** if you do not have enough images to cover what you want, consider painting the entire background of the table with a pop of color or all black, you could paint a border around your layout with paint too, or try using a textile, or collecting more objects, think collage!
3. Very important step that should not be passed over, you must glue down your objects to the table using a glue that will dry clear and you want to do this for at least 4 or 5 coats. ( I only did 3 and I am wishing I used more) This not only holds everything in place, it also prevents the polyurethane from seeping into printed materials and darkening them. (If you going to use photos, test the glue you choose on one and make sure it works before glueing everything!) I used a Utrecht brand matte gel medium. You want something that dries clear and you want to wait for the glue to dry before reapplying the next coat.
4. Tape the edges of the table. I started in the corners and made sure the tape was sealed really well. Then continued with larger pieces down the sides until the entire perimeter is covered with tape. I taped about 1" to the table edge and left 1" of the tape above the table. This prevents the polyurethane from dripping over the edges and makes it easier to apply an even coating.
**You can also tape the perimeter of the underside of the table if you have a curved edge on your surface, this will catch the drips and you can remove them when you remove the tape.
5. Mix the polyurethane according to the directions from the box. I used EnviroTex Lite. You should research the amount you need before you buy, the websites usually have this listed, My 2' ft by 4' table needed the 32oz box. You can not buy this in home depot or Lowes, order online. You should use a drop cloth and definitely wear good gloves you do not want this on your skin or anywhere but your table or surface. Follow the directions carefully.
6. After applying the polyurethane make sure the application is even throughout. Keep the tape on the edges. As it cures you are going to want to use a torch gun with butane or propane to remove the oxygen bubbles that will pop up. Move the heat across the surface until all the bubbles disappear. Over the next hour of curing keep checking on the surface and removing bubbles that form. The bubbles will distort your mementos and make them hard to see. I borrowed one from a friend and bought the butane cartridge at Home Depot for 5 dollars.
**I have also read that a hair dryer works for this part as well, I have not tried this! I think it would work as long as your tape is secured well on the edges and you used a high temperature with a low speed.
7. Let the table dry completely for 48 hours or so. Remove the tape. Sand the edges with a high grit, fine sand paper, if you want to soften the edges or the corners. Finally wipe down with a damp rag where you sanded the edges. You can clean the surface anytime with simple green or your favorite surface cleaning product.
8. Relax and put your feet up on your new memento coffee table! As I said before you can also take the legs of this Ikea table and mount it to the wall as a collage!
Good luck and let me know if I can help =)