Thursday, January 17, 2013

DIY Tree Stump Coasters

I know this is a little late but I have to say it...Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
It has been a  month since I have managed to find time to share with you any new ideas I have had. I have a long list of things I made for Christmas gifts, that I never got around to posting. So, I thought I would just continue to share the homemade gifts and if it is something you like or think you could make as gifts, you can always remember the instructions are here or simply 'Pin It" and come back.

I had set a goal of an almost all homemade Christmas and I have to say I did pretty well. Female homemade items are pretty easy to find and make but I really struggled for ideas for the males in my family.

As I have previously mentioned, my sister lives on a farm so they keep all the wood they cut down in the field to burn in their wood stove. I had the idea of making tree stump ornaments for the men, so I asked if she had any old Christmas tree stumps in her piles. She found a cedar stump that was a nice width that had been in the pile for over a year allowing it to fully dry.

When I went to make the ornaments, they weren't turning out to be exactly what I wanted. After leaving one of the circles sitting on my kitchen counter for a week (does anyone else do that, you don't have a home for something so it sits on the counter?) I realized that it was the perfect size for a coaster. So my gift for the men was found!  I ended up making these simple and free tree stump coasters for my husband, brother, brother-in-law and uncle.

They were very well received by all the men!

Materials:

  • Miter saw
  • Tree stump (approximately 4 inches in diameter)
  • Polyurethane (or another sealant)
  • Foam brush
  • Sand paper

Method:

I plugged in my miter saw, shoed my kids into the house, put on my gorgeous safety goggles (they really are horrible things, but I would be in serious trouble if I was caught not wearing them) and placed my 3 foot stump on the miter saw.

I held my breath, made sure my fingers were very far away from any moving parts, and cut a 1/3 -1/2 inch slice of the wood off the stump. I continued to do this until I had enough disks. I planned to give each person 4 coasters.
I tried my best to keep the oddly shaped disks together so that they could be stacked nicely when I give them as gifts. The imperfect ones, where a branch came out, were by far the most interesting coasters in the end. So don't worry if they are oddly shaped.

Once all the coasters were cut, I quickly sanded them with some fine sandpaper. If I was smart, I would have pulled out my mouse sander, but I didn't. So each was sanded by hand.

I pulled out my scrap cardboard, laid out all the coasters and gave the tops and sides a few coats of polyurethane I had laying around with those cheap foam brushes. Once dried, I flipped them over and did the same on the opposite side.

After they were completely dry (follow the instructions on your sealant) I stacked the stump coasters, aligning any imperfections and wrapped them with raffia.
I love the idea of making one coaster (or ornament) every year with your fresh Christmas tree. We personally are in the artificial tree camp, but if I were to have real trees, I would make on slice a year, write the date and a special note on it to remember that Christmas. Most tree cutting places would probably cut off a piece for you when you purchase the tree, so you really don't even need power tools to do this!

What do you do with your old trees?

What do you think of this? Not bad for a spur of the moment, first idea failed, gift!

I hope everyone had a great holiday season!
Stephanie

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