When my Mom wouldn't let me add some pink to the solid wood trivet Hubby and I made her, I needed to satisfy the creative craving. I gave up that particular battle without much fight because we were still house-sitting for my woodworker father-in-law, surrounded by oodles of scrap wood, so I just grabbed another beautiful piece for a paintable project. Hubby cut out two sets of coasters but, when push came to shove, I also fell in love with the raw wood. Dammit, Mom. First you get me hooked on grey, and now this.
The wood I chose has so many knots and such beautiful grain that it just felt wrong to hide it! I relented and gave the most unusual, organic coasters a thin coat of the same white stain we used for the counters. The second, less spectacular, set was stained dark walnut and then painted, as per my original plan.
It felt good to get that out of my system, but the more natural finish has won me over.
Here's the how-to:
We started with this piece of wood, but I could have easily have worked with any scrap piece - any type, any thickness (this one is super chunky, which I think looks good on our 2" thick solid wood counters). Our piece was pretty smooth but if you start with something rougher, you might want to plane it or even just run a belt sander along it.
With wood in hand, we did some figurin'. Hubby used a sliding T bevel to figure out the angles on our hexagon coasters. You can also kick it old school with a protractor and straight edge - or bust out some high school geometry and just a ruler if you're super badass.
With the hexagon figured out and drawn onto the first section, Hubby used a bandsaw to cut out the first coaster. After that, we traced the first coaster on subsequent lengths of the board and Hubby kept cutting.
The edges were a little rough so I smoothed them over with sandpaper (first a 120-grit and then a sheet of 220). I softly rounded the edges and sanded the surface as well.
After that, I rummaged through my father-in-law's wood finish cupboard (like a kid in a candy shop) and found a Resto-A-Finish in Walnut that looked promising. I used left over Saman Whitewash on the other set. Here's what they looked like with just stain (I applied one coat):
When we got home from house-sitting, I painted the edges of the walnut-stained coasters. I experimented a little, using both acrylic paint and household latex paint - the latter was terrible: super watery and took many coats. The acylic paint from the craft store did a phenomenal job, especially the copper. I used a small artist's brush and just free-handed it, painting the bottom surface too, just for fun.
Lastly, I gave each side and edge two thin coats of clear wood finish (also snagged from my father-in-law, I'm incorrigible). I gave the coasters a light sand between coats, using 220 grit sandpaper. This is the same finish we used on the floating credenza top and I really like it because it dries in a flash. The only tricky thing is that you have to apply it really thinly, otherwise it shows yellow (which it's not supposed to).
And, voila - the painted edge I was so eager to have:
Flipped over it's a totally different look:
Here's one last look at the white-washed ones:
If you make some, you could add some felt to the bottom (like I did to my tile-turned-trivet).
I have definitely just written the longest post on the easiest project, but I'm enjoying chatting about something so simple (and so complete!) because many of our lakehouse projects have been so involved. This was easy peasy, and I learned a valuable lesson: turns out Mom's still always right.
Which do you prefer? White-washed or walnut-stained (with a painted edge)?