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Project

Birch Trivets and Coasters

Introduction

Birch disks, stained in a variety of hues and then treated with a coat of matte polyurethane, can be used as decorative and functional trivets, coasters for drinks, and mini hors d'oeuvre trays. These trivets and coasters can handle hot, but not scalding, dishes. They also make pretty serving pieces. Because the wood stain isn't food-safe, slip parchment paper beneath any food to avoid placing it directly on the wood.

Materials

  • Sanding block and sandpaper in fine or medium grade
  • Birch disks, available at garden centers
  • Foam brush
  • Colored wood stain
  • Paintbrush
  • Clear matte polyurethane

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Lightly sand the top surfaces of each disk.

  2. Step 2

    mla103522_0608_stain_ht.jpg

    With the foam brush, apply wood stain.

  3. Step 3

    Wipe off any excess with a paper towel. Let dry. Repeat until the desired color is achieved.

  4. Step 4

    With a paintbrush, apply 1 coat of polyurethane. Let dry.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, June 2008

Reviews (15)

  • julielondrigan 14 Jun, 2008

    I was just thinking how the added color makes this project fun and refreshing! My husband used to make these and he simply used a natural varnish--perhaps that is why the color appeals to me. It puts a new spin on something for us. We gave them as gifts to friends--great housewarming gift!

  • crmspencer 8 Jun, 2008

    Yes agreed that the artificial colours detract from it. Birch is one of the most beautiful trees and best used in as natural a way as possible. Has anyone seen the lovely lamps one can make from birch trunks? Any lamp-shades from large strips of bark?

  • Anna_Marie 1 Jun, 2008

    I don't care for the bright, artificial colors combined with the natural beauty of this wood and bark. The white center is ok, or like others have commented, just enhance the natural colors with something clear or an oil. Very unique idea!

  • howdah 1 Jun, 2008

    Willibyg, I would think it would be fine to cut the limbs into "cookies". I would try leaving the bark on. I think it would give a nice look.

    I used to be involved with Camp Fire Girls, and each year at camp someone would cut limbs that were about 2-3 inches in diameter into 1/4 inch cookies and drill a [filtered word] near one edge. These were used as name tags. It was up to the leader to figure out how their group would personalize the cookies. Paint,, decoupage, etc.

  • Markey 1 Jun, 2008

    ***BethieBeans***
    Experiment with cooking your round with different foods, such as beets, or onion skins, Moss, etc

    ***Surfergal*** It would depend on what you "seal" the decoupaged picture with

  • Markey 1 Jun, 2008

    ***BethieBeans***
    Experiment with cooking your round with different foods, such as beets, or onion skins, Moss, etc

    ***Surfergal*** It would depend on what you "seal" the decoupaged picture with

  • Willibbyg 1 Jun, 2008

    I have limbs we've trimmed off from our birch tree. Is it OK to use these rather than purchased disks or have purchased disks been treated in some way?

  • wduke2 1 Jun, 2008

    You can thin down acrylic paint to use as a stain and coat them with a food safe
    sealer. You can also put felt dots on the bottom to protect your table.

  • Markey 1 Jun, 2008

    If you want to cover the top of your round use the bark from another section of the tree you have harvested. Remember the n n n n n n workingn n n n n n side of the bark not the white papery side, but rather the cambium, reddish/brown side(Carl Gawboy, Page 5, n n n n n n Minnesota Conservation Volunteern n n n n n ; May-June 2008,)

    Thank you,
    Markey

  • Markey 1 Jun, 2008

    Please remember to not walk up to a birch tree and peel its bark unless you have been taught the proper way to ensure you do not injure the tree. Just with people the bark, the skin of the tree, is its most protective barrier against harmful agents. Use only trees that you have been given permission to take down or better yet if roadway right always are being cleared ask if you can use the trees that are already downed for this purpose. (Cont below: Sacred Birch)

  • Markey 1 Jun, 2008

    MS Living Staff: Why are you using the Poly on the birch? The Anishinaabe have been using this sacred tree for thousands of years in conjunction with food. Covering it in Poly will make it slippery and not safe to place serving plates and beverage containers filled with hot items as those containers will slip off of the slick poly surfaces. Birch is beautiful in its own right, has wonderful absorbent properties for temperature as well as liquids. (Cont below: Sacred Birch)

  • winterbeach 1 Jun, 2008

    tacky, sure to be in the next yard sale.

  • GoodyWorkman 1 Jun, 2008

    I recently used a large disc as a cake-stand for a woodland theme party. Pure tung oil, raw linseed oil, mineral oil, walnut oil are all food safe finishes. I'm partial to the natural color of the wood, but I'd love to know how you could add pigment to these oils. I think this would be a great project for some decoupage, Surfergal, (I'm thinking botanical prints or gnomes!) but note that mod podge doesn't work well with extreme heat or cold.

  • dianatx512 1 Jun, 2008

    Very cute idea. I'm thinking these might be great done in Fall colors and used in the Fall.

  • surfergal 1 Jun, 2008

    would a decoupaged picture be food safe instead?