If you are looking for a homemade gift that's perfect for everyone, these wooden coasters are so pretty to look at you might not want any glasses on them!
There really isn't much more fulfilling to me than making a gift for someone from scratch. My goal this past Christmas was to make almost all the gifts I gave people. I realized afterward that it was maybe too big of an undertaking (especially with a honeymoon right smack in the middle of December) but I managed to get it done.
After looking through Pinterest I had decided on a few small projects that I could make in bulk. One that caught my eye was DIY wooden coasters. Since I had already made some cutting boards I was very familiar with the process, as it's almost exactly the same. The beauty of these is you can make every single set of coasters look completely different, depending on the wood you're using. Unfortunately as I made these before taking pics through every step, I don't have a great step by step process. However I got the idea from the blog Fix This Build That and the directions can be found here.
Like anything, when you make something in bulk it actually helps you save time. So I personally would recommend making more than one set of these at once. I actually made 8 sets of these coasters, with everyone looking completely different. Oh and I kept two for myself! You've got to enjoy what you actually make!
Wooden Coasters Shopping List
- Hardwood (Oak, Walnut, Maple, Cherry - I just use scraps) - 16" in length
- 1" x 4" @ 4" pine wood
- 3/8' dowel rod
- Titebond III wood glue
- 80, 150, 220 grit sandpaper
How to Make Wooden Coasters:
Making these DIY wood coasters is almost like making mini cutting boards as I mentioned above. Now they obviously aren't meant for cutting but the steps are almost exactly the same until the end. Even though you don't have to worry about a knife cutting into the wood, it's still best to use hardwood for this project. The big four hardwoods would be oak, maple, walnut and cherry. There is a wood shop close to my house that always has scraps of wood so that's what I used to make these coasters.
When making these I tried to make more symmetrical designs so in the pictures you seed one strip of walnut in the middle, with two strips of maple outside of that and then two strips of oak on the outside of the maple. In order to make these coasters where you can actually glue the wood together, you have to put each strip of wood through the jointer on two sides. A jointer is used to create flat, smooth services on the wood. You can do all four sides along the jointer but I found it easier to move to table saw after first two sides were smooth.
After each piece has been through the jointer you need to have the wood go through the table saw to get the exact width you want (Note - make sure you put the two sides that were put through jointer on and against the table saw). You do not need to worry about having the top of wood smooth as the planer will take care of that. I made each strip exactly 3/4" wide so when glued together it would make the coaster 3 3/4" wide. Just as a reminder it should be 16" in length as you'll be cutting it down to 4 individual coasters.
Once you have three sides of the five strips of wood you are using, it's time to glue. Before gluing together, put all the strips of wood together and clamp down to make sure there are no gaps. If there are, then put back through jointer to make sure it's smooth and even against the next strip of wood. Spread the glue evenly across the strips of wood and clamp down. Make sure it doesn't bow as you clamp down. There will be some excess glue that you simply just wipe off with a wet towel. To be safe you should leave clamped for 24 hours.
Once the board has been unclamped it's time for the planer. A planer cuts wood into the desired thickness, while creating perfectly parallel surfaces. Keep running through the planer until you have your desired thickness and both surfaces are smooth. I went with 1/2" thickness.
Now one of my least favorite parts is sanding. Since you want a smooth service you have to sand quite a bit. The trick is to use a pencil and draw some lines across the cutting board. Now pick up your hand sander with 80 grit sandpaper and go back and forth using different motions (circular, horizontal, vertical) until you don't see the pencil marks. Repeat with 150 grit sandpaper and 220 grit sandpaper. Don't forget the sides as well!
Once sanded you're going to cut the board into 4 individual coasters. To make it a square, you will cut each at 3 3/4". Use the table saw or miter saw for these step. The table saw is easiest as you can just set at 3 3/4" and put each piece through.
Now for the base you are going to use the 1" x 4" piece of pine. Measure in 3/8″ from each side of the 4 corners and drill 3/8″ holes 3/8″ deep in each corner. Cut four pieces of 3/8" dowel rod to 3". These will go into the holes you just drilled. (Just FYI I also stained my base a walnut color but that step isn't necessary). Use a little glue and insert the rods.
Unfortunately the sanding isn't done for the coasters. Since these DIY wood coasters will have water condensation on it, you need to put multiple coats of polyurethane to protect it. You will need to put 3 coats and sand with 220 grit sandpaper after each to provide enough protection.
These wooden coasters were a fun project and are gorgeous looking when you use different types of wood. Hope you get out there and make some!