A hand placing a note labeled "Resin Tray Ideas" into the slot of a suggestion box.

Welcome to our Suggestion Box devoted to resin tray ideas!

We love trays. They're so useful for carrying things, providing a flat surface to write on, and of course snacking from.

That's why epoxy resin trays make for such a great project. You get something beautiful and creative of your own making that can serve a useful purpose in your everyday life.

In this week's Suggestion Box, we'll be talking about fun ideas for custom resin trays; we'll even include a variety of photos submitted by some of our very own UltraClear Epoxy customers!

Resin tray ideas

One great place to start is to decide what kind of tray you want to make. Will you be applying epoxy to a substrate material such as wood or plastic?

Maybe you'd prefer to forgo the substrate and craft a pure epoxy tray. This type is easy to make through the use of reusable silicone molds, which enable you to craft multiple variants with the same shape but different visual themes.

By using a mold, you can create a custom set of trays for your home, make a few as a gift to friends, or craft them in bulk to sell to interested buyers.

With that said, let's take a look at some ideas!

A river vein epoxy resin tray made with walnut wood.

Idea #1: Create a "river" vein tray using wood and deep pour epoxy.

Our first idea uses the epoxy vein concept made convenient by our UltraClear Deep Pour Epoxy. This epoxy is a casting resin that allows for thick layers, which enables you to fill gaps and reservoirs between, within, and around the substrate, which is generally comprised of multiple refined pieces of wood.

Once the resin cures, you end up with a river-like or pond-like visual effect that nonetheless features epoxy's rock-solid surface strength.

River trays could be considered an intermediate-level project, but when done right they're beautiful.

Prior to pouring the epoxy vein, most people will tint their resin with epoxy colorants, which you can learn about below in Idea #2.

An epoxy resin tray made with wood and red-tinted epoxy

Idea #2: Use epoxy colorants to bring vivid tones to your tray.

Another option, which can be done solely or alongside any other idea listed in this article, is to add color to your epoxy resin with epoxy colorants.

These colorants come in two forms: epoxy powder pigments and liquid resin dyes.

Epoxy powder pigments

Epoxy pigments are powder-based colorants made from mica minerals and other natural or synthetic substances. These materials are ground into fine dust, then mixed together in certain ratios to create a pigment, which is then preserved in jars or plastic packets until they're blended into an epoxy resin batch.

Most epoxy pigments will imbue the resin with a featured color as well as a shimmering, pearlescent, or metallic effect. Some of the metallic powders also use a glittery substance, while others can glow in the dark.

Liquid resin dyes

Liquid resin dyes, on the other hand, are smooth, singular tones of liquid form that give resin a unique color without the textured effect of powder pigments. Liquid dyes are often chosen by users who want to give their epoxy a deep or vivid color but prefer a more subtle aesthetic.

These dyes come in small bottles and are highly concentrated—a little goes a long way. In fact, both the epoxy pigments and the resin dyes are quite potent.

If you decide to use any epoxy colorants, we recommend starting with a small amount and add more as you mix your resin until you achieve a satisfying result.

Click here to learn more about using epoxy colorants.

Two blue standing trays made with epoxy resin

Idea #3: Use acrylic paints to paint a picture, then coat it with resin.

Perhaps the easiest way to employ epoxy resin as an artistic element to your project is to first paint your tray substrate with acrylic paints, then apply a clear epoxy coating onto the surface like normal.

The benefits of painting this way are twofold:

First, for artists who are new to epoxy, this allows them to keep the epoxy process as simple as possible while still making use of their creative skills.

Secondly, the painting in this case is not tied to any time limits, because it's done entirely before mixing up the epoxy resin, allowing one to take as much time as needed to get it just right.

Later, after the epoxy resin has been applied and finishes curing, it will further enhance and deepen the colors of the painting, in addition to providing its signature high-strength protection.

An epoxy resin tray with golden flakes embedded in the center

Idea #4: Embed small items into your resin for distinct visual flavor.

When using epoxy resin, it's possible to preemptively affix small objects and thin items like photos, newspaper articles, and mementos of the past onto your substrate prior to pouring.

We call this embedding.

Embedding is a relatively straightforward step that gets added to the beginning of an epoxy project. Most people will adhere the objects with plain glue (such as Elmer's).

In some cases, such as with photos or similar paper items that can absorb liquids, it's recommended that you apply a coating of Mod Podge to the objects beforehand. This prevents them from absorbing the epoxy resin and taking on a "wet" look.

The great thing about embedding is that it really opens up the creative possibilities for your project. You can print out or purchase things that you find appealing, and add them to your project to give it a customized feel.

Through embedding, your resin tray can become a pleasing reminder of fond memories and events, or it can be given a sense of depth and texture beneath the epoxy surface that embellishes its artistic beauty.

And these things don't have to be complicated. Many users simply embed small particles onto their surface, such as glitter, gold leaf, colorful stone chips, etc. to give their project extra allure.

If you'd like to see some other examples of resin art, check out our Spotlight on it.

An epoxy resin tray with red pigments, resting on a stand.

Choose a premium epoxy for clear, long-lasting results.

One of the most important things you can do when planning an epoxy project is to choose a high-quality resin that won't leave you with a flimsy finish riddled with imperfections and blemishes.

These days, there are numerous different epoxy brands being marketed, many of which cut corners on quality and safety to offer a low upfront cost.

When shopping for epoxy for the first time, you should always do your research. Read reviews, look at photos, and try to determine a brand's credibility or reputation. This will help you avoid dealers with less scrupulous marketing methods.

UltraClear Epoxy: Premium resins for newcomers and professionals alike

If you haven't already chosen an epoxy product, we'd love for you to consider our UltraClear Epoxy brand.

All of our resin products are:

  • Premium-grade
  • Safe to use
  • 100% made in the USA

With UltraClear Epoxy, you get peace of mind in knowing that your resin was produced to the highest safety and quality standards. With proper application and care, you can expect a long-lasting finish (minimum of 7 years!) and clean, food safe resin surfaces.

Moreover, you also get the assurance of U.S. regulators, as our epoxy resin is always manufactured here in America—never imported.

You can find our resin products on the following pages:

  • UltraClear Table Top Epoxy - Our strongest resin finish. This is ideal for most projects, including many types of resin art, countertops, table tops, and much more.
  • UltraClear Deep Pour Epoxy - Our deep pour casting resin. This is designed for thick resin layers such as those used in "river" veins, silicone casting molds, pure epoxy projects, and many others.

Have questions? Want advice? Contact us!

If you have any questions or concerns about epoxy resin, or if you'd like advice on planning your next epoxy project, please reach out to us at UltraClear Epoxy.

Our epoxy experts are ready to assist!

You can contact us via phone or email here. During business hours, you can also text chat online with one of our resin specialists by clicking the Help button at the bottom right of your screen.

Suggestion box series

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