I tend to have bazillions of lists of crafts, projects, or recipes that I want to create. Out of those lists some things will be created and finished. Other projects won’t get that lucky. They will become half-finished projects, waiting to receive some love, so that they can come to life! Today’s DIY Rustic Tree Branch Coasters is one of those projects. I told myself this year, that I would push myself to finish some of the projects that have been left hanging for months.
Now that I have basically finished this project, I’m actually really excited to share it with you! Let me also point out that these DIY Rustic Tree Branch Coasters would make a super cute Valentine’s Day gift for your special someone, or any of your friends! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner after all! If you’re not really into V-day, that’s OK too. This would make a cute and inexpensive gift any time of the year! What else do you want!?
Two summers ago, we removed a pine tree from our front yard. It wasn’t a very healthy looking tree, and I felt that its shadow made our home even gloomier than it already was (and trust me, I love my sunshine!). Plus, the needles that it constantly shed had a high level of acidity, preventing anything from growing underneath it. So we decided that it had to go.
Kevin climbed up a ladder and used a chain saw to cut it down. My job was to pull as hard as I could on a rope that had been tied to the tree. Oh, this was done to encourage the tree to fall in my general direction. Obviously we did it in a way so that it wasn’t supposed to fall on me. Or was that actually the plan? Kevin!?
The sad part was that I lost all the little friends that were living in that tree. The bark on the tree was so textured and bumpy, creating shapes that I imagined to look like faces. There was a cat face that was always staring at me while working on my lap top in the living room. Yeah, sometimes I am a little strange, and I’m OK with that.
Speaking of being hit by trees, I do actually have a story of where I was barely spared. I used to work at a day care that was in the same building as the University that I attended. On this particular day we had taken the kiddos outside to play in the playground.
I was standing with my back leaned up against the building (this part of the building was a long narrow hallway, leading to the gym), when suddenly a tree branch came swinging over the roof and landed literally right in front of me! I was SO shocked, but luckily not hurt, since I had been standing right against the building.
The maintenance guys had been cutting off some large branches on the other side of the hallway, when I guess they lost control of where the branch was heading. They immediately came running our way though, to make sure that nobody was hurt.
OK, lets actually get to the point now. When we cut down the tree in our front yard, I had asked Kevin to cut a thick branch into thin discs for me. I knew I wanted to make either these DIY Rustic Tree Branch Coasters, or some kind of ornaments out of them. So I left them to dry in front of our house. They were resting here for a long time, along with some hopefully friendly spiders and their spider webs.
Eventually, when I thought they were dry enough, I took the nicest looking ones inside. Some of them had cracked or the bark was no longer intact. I later talked to a lady who is really good at this kind of wood work, and she said the trick to avoid cracking, is to dry the wood slowly. I would also recommend using a saw that actually cuts the wood smoothly. We just used a chain saw, which left the wood pretty jagged. So, if you want to know how to make these rustic wood coasters, continue reading mate!
DIY Rustic Tree Branch Coasters
You will need:
- a thick branch (about 3 inches in diameter, or however large you want your coasters to be)
- a chain saw or a hand saw
- 60 grit sand paper
- a pencil and an eraser
- a wood burning kit (something like this)
- a water-based, non-yellowing, satin clear wood finish (I got this kind, except an interior one)
- obviously a mug filled with hot chocolate, tea, or coffee!!
- Begin by sawing the branch into 1/4″-1/2″ discs (or desired thickness).
- Allow the discs to dry slowly.
- Sand the wood until you reach the desired smoothness.
- The pine tree wood was very porous (perhaps because it was cut with a chain saw?), so after sanding it I took some of the saw dust, and smoothed out the little holes with it, hoping that the sealer would hold it in (I avoided blowing away the dust).
- Using a pencil, lightly write the words or design of your choice directly on the wood.
- When your wood burner is hot, using the instructions, slowly trace the outlined words.
- Using the eraser, erase any pencil markings.
- Finish off with four coats of the satin wood finish, following the instructions on the can. You could also opt for a glossy or semi-glossy finish, if you prefer more of a shine.
And that’s it! Your DIY Rustic Tree Branch Coasters are ready to be used! I have to admit my project isn’t FULLY done, as I still need to seal my coasters with the wood finish. I’m hoping the finish will seal in the loose saw dust that I filled the holes with. If not, they will still look great, just with a little more texture than I would have prefered. The reason why I didn’t finish, is because I wanted to post this project for you peeps today, and therefore didn’t have the required time to let it dry.
I hope you get creative the next time you find the perfect tree branch. Do you folks have any other tree branch craft ideas? I would love to hear from you! Enjoy your weekend!! 🙂