DIY wood coasters are fun to make and make a great addition to any home bar. Learn how to make there beautiful and durable log slice coasters with wood you may have in your back yard! Bonus: a hack to keep the coaster from sticking to a wet glass!
Guy Martini walked into Rick’s Cafe Fabuloso, handed his top hat to the coat check attendant, adjusted his monocle and rapped his mahogany cane twice on the polished marble floor, just as he had done every Saturday evening since moving to The City at the turn of the century. He strode across the stone floor, his cane tip keeping counterpoint to the clicking of his heels and the slap of his soles as he approached the bar. It was a hot and humid night, and the palm frond fans that circled endlessly above the bar were struggling against the heavy air. The barman looked up from polishing a glass and smiled.
“Ah, Monsieur Martini! It is so nice to see you again!” The barman reached for a double old-fashioned glass. “The usual?”
“Indeed, indeed.” Guy looked around the room. The tables were filling up, as Rick’s patrons continued to stream through the door.
The barman filled the glass with ice and set it on a smooth porcelain coaster. He turned to retrieve a bottle of Tanqueray 10 from the mirrored shelf behind the bar. He filled Guy’s glass and capped the bottle.
“Bone dry and no fruits. Just the way monsieur likes it.” The barman said as he pushed the coaster towards Guy.
Guy lifted the glass, already beaded with condensation from the oppressive humidity, and took a sip. “Ah, divinity, thy name is Gin! Eh, what’s this?” Guy lowered the glass back onto the coaster and took a closer look at the thing that had caught his attention. “What winning creature is this?” He muttered, as his eyes took in the graceful figure of a woman seated at the end of the bar. She was lithe and graceful and in her hand she held a glass filled with a dark amber liquid.
“Barman!” Guy whispered in urgent tones. “Barman! What is that woman drinking? And please get her another one!”
“Ah, oui, monsieur. She drinks the Spiced Rum. It is new and fashionable, and the ladies enjoy it very much!” He took a clean glass and poured a measure of Spiced Rum. The barman walked to the end of the bar and placed the glass in front of the mysterious woman. He leaned across the bar and spoke softly to the her, once nodding his head towards Guy.
“Crap.” Guy said to no one in particular. Now he had to act. Maybe he should have kept his mouth shut. Guy was not as smooth with the fairer sex as he might have hoped. He started to sweat. He felt like the glass in front of him, condensation dripping down its sides.
“Buck up, old chap!” He told himself. “No one likes a weak fish!” With that, he grabbed his glass and coaster and strode to the end of the bar. He placed the coaster next to the woman’s (she drank her rum neat – no condensation on her glass). She looked at him and a wry smile touched her lips as she saw Guy fumbling for his handkerchief.
“I, uh, that is to say, ummm,” Guy stammered, “If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, uhh, for that matter…oh, bother!”
The woman continued to stare at Guy, an amused glimmer in her eyes.
“Shall we toast?” She asked, putting a stop to Guy’s verbal stumbling.
“Indeed, madam!” Guy said with relief.
She lifted her glass and held it out in front of her. Guy grabbed his glass, and along with it came the coaster – stuck with condensation to the bottom of his glass. He thrust out his glass, unaware of its stowaway, but stopped just short of making contact with the woman’s. He had meant to say something witty and then gently clink her glass, but the coaster chose that precise moment to dislodge itself from the glass, and Guy watched in silent horror as the coaster arced through the air and impacted upon the woman’s bosom. Were this all that happened, Guy would have escaped with nothing more than a red face. But the woman was wearing a rather tight corset beneath her dress (as was customary at the time), and the corset amplified the trampoline effect of her bosom, thus sending the coaster flying back towards Guy, where it had the dismal fortune of glancing his monocle and sending it and the coaster crashing to the marble floor, whereupon they shattered into an untold number of pieces.
The shock of this unlikely encounter of coaster and monocle forced a high-pitched yelp from Guy’s lips, and he stumbled backwards until his legs were stopped by Table 12, at which were seated a man and a woman about to indulge in two steaming crocks of lobster bisque. Their plans of enjoying the fine lobster bisque prepared in Rick’s kitchen were waylaid when Guy’s top half continued backwards, his legs shot forward and he crashed through the wooden table and onto the stone floor. The two bowls of lobster bisque flipped into the air and dispensed their contents on Guy.
Humiliated, defeated and dripping with bisque, Guy stood up and risked a glance at the woman at the end of the bar. She sat there, still staring at him, a smile still on her lips. Guy looked away in shame. He made his way to the entrance, retrieved his top hat and walked out into the night.
The woman watched him go and then took another sip of her Spiced Rum.
Guy’s night would have gone a whole lot smoother if his coaster hadn’t stuck to his glass. I feel his pain. It happens to me all the time in the summer. It forces me to use cork or stone coasters, though even they get saturated and eventually stick. I had been wanting to make coasters from a birch log and a maple log that have been sitting around in the basement. The birch log came from my parents’ yard, and it had been sitting for years outside, but protected under their porch. The maple log was leftover from a project I did two Christmases ago. I had this idea to make smooth and shiny coasters using a two part epoxy resin – the same stuff they use to make bar tops. The only problem – and the thing that kept me from making them all this time – was that the coasters would stick to the glass with only the smallest amount of condensation. I’d have to use the coasters for red wine or drinks without ice. That’s no fun. I needed a way eliminate coaster-stick.
Then it hit me. I needed to raise the glass a little bit and have it perched up on three legs – three points to be precise. I searched online and found these little cabochons – perfect for what I needed!
Let’s start with the cabochons and finish up with the coasters.
Behold my martini glass.
Inexpensive, good-looking and a magnet for wet coasters. It needed a lift. These cabochons should do the trick.
They have a diameter of 12mm and are flat on one side and round on the other – perfect for the task at hand.
I lined up my two glasses. I’ve broken a few in the dishwasher and in the sink, so these are all I have left.
I cleaned the glasses and the cabochons with rubbing alcohol.
I used E6000 glue, as it is the best for gluing glass to glass. I squeezed a small amount out and used a toothpick to apply it.
Just a dab is all it took.
I firmly pressed the cabochon onto the base of the glass until glue squeezed out of the edges.
I repeated this for the other two. I eyeballed the spacing. I used three feet instead of four so I would have a stable base, even if one cabochon was sitting slightly higher than the rest.
I didn’t care about how much excess glue seeped out, because with E6000, it is easy to trim off.
After 24 hours, I ran a utility knife around the edge of the cabochon and peeled away the excess glue. It is rubbery and easy to peel.
My glasses were ready.
Time for the coasters!
I started with the birch log.
I just picked a thickness I liked, and sliced the logs with my compound miter saw. Here is the maple log. Those black lines running through the log are called spalting. It is a type of fungus that can attack a tree as it grows. It makes for beautiful woodwork!
I cleaned off the dust and prepared to epoxy them. I used Parks Super Glaze for this project. It is a two part epoxy resin that must be mixed in equal parts for 6 minutes.
Most projects, including these coasters, require a thin sealing coat before you can apply the full flood coat. If you skip the sealing coat, you can get air bubbles, or the wood may just drink up the first coat you put on. This is what happened to me with the birch slices. The log was so old and dry, that the wood absorbed the first coat completely. Once the seal coat hardened, I put a seal coat on the bottoms as well. I would later cover the bottoms with cork, but I wanted the whole coaster to be waterproof. When the bottom coat had hardened, I mixed up a bigger batch of epoxy and flooded the coasters. I used a small paint brush to coat the sides.
To get rid of air bubbles, I used a propane torch on the lowest setting, and simply waved it over the coasters. It doesn’t take much, just a quick wave of the flame over the coasters, and the bubbles disappear.
To fully cure, this resin needs three days, but I gave it a few more days, since my basement is colder and since it has been humid here. During the first few days of curing, it is a good idea to rig a tent over your project to protect it from dust or dog hair. Just don’t let the tent touch the coasters!
All of the coasters had some hardened drips hanging from them.
These were easily sanded off with my disk sander, though any sander would work.
I used adhesive-backed cork for the bottoms of the coasters.
I traced the shape of each coaster with a utility knife.
Then I peeled and placed them on all the coasters, and that was it. My coasters were ready!
The wood just shines with the epoxy resin finish.
And the best part is that my martini can now sit on them without sticking!
Guy stopped in his tracks two blocks from Rick’s Cafe Fabuloso. He was angry with himself. Not for being a clumsy buffoon, but for running away from his one chance with the Woman at the End of the Bar. He wanted to go back. If only he could go back!
Yes, he had left his cane leaning against the bar in his haste to run away! He looked down at himself, clothes wet and stinking of lobster.
“Bah! No matter!” He cried into the night and turned back towards Rick’s.
He marched into the cafe and across the marble floor. The waiters cleaning up the remains of Table 12 looked up with wary surprise. The barman looked up.
“Ah, Monsieur Martini! You came back for your cane?” The barman said.
“Bother the cane! Bring me a drink!” Guy said to the barman. The barman poured.
Guy snatched the drink and walked to the end of the bar. The woman sat there still. He approached and set his drink next to hers. She cast a sidelong glance his way.
“You smell nice.” She said and offered a small smile.
“Yes, well…it’s a new cologne I’m trying. I’m glad you approve.” He held up his glass. “I believe you owe me a toast.”
She held up her glass. “To strange men who smell of fish.”
“To the stranger women who like such men.” He said and touched his glass to hers.
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