Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Wood Beverage Coasters

Do you remember when you first heard the phrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? I actually think I heard it on a kids show when my girls were little. But over the years in some degree or another I have tried to adapt this motto, not always successfully, but I have tried to be more aware of using what I have, reusing items and not wasting. Pinterest has been a wonderful resource for learning how to do this, since I'm not always overly creative if left to my own ideas. I usually need something visual to inspire me.

A little while back I saw some coasters on Pinterest that were made with round pieces of a tree limb. I remember thinking, "what a great idea". A few weeks after I, myself pinned the idea, a huge branch fell onto the driveway of the lady I work for. As I stood out there cutting it up (with a hand saw), I decided to save one of the thicker branches that seemed about the right size for a coaster with the intention of attempting this Pinterest idea, because we all know that some Pinterest ideas end up as failures.
My hubby was nice enough to cut it with one of his saws (probably because it sat on our porch for so long since I hadn't gotten around to cutting it myself) and brought me in a stack of 22 wood rounds. Now, I did mess up on one thing, in that I left them stacked in the house for several days, not thinking that maybe they were damp and might need to dry out. It was several days before I realized this and I think they started to get spotty, but I decided to use them anyways. It took several days for them to dry out once I had laid them out over my heating vents.

I decided it would be kind of neat to stencil them as well as stain them. We had stencils, we had paints, we had brushes, so all I needed to buy was a small can of clear varnish, which cost about $7.00 and sandpaper, which was another $7.00 but will last awhile. Not too shabby. We might have actually had sandpaper at home and some varnish, I just couldn't remember so I just bought some. 

Once I felt like they had dried out, I sanded them a bit with a coarse paper, then again with a fine grit paper. DO NOT sand the sides. Mine had moss on them and I left it there for character. 
The stencils I had were self sticking ones which was great since this kept the stencil from moving. 
  • Place stencil in center of wood being sure it is well adhered.

  • Using either a sponge brush or a regular artists paint brush lightly brush on your paint. 
  • Allow to set for a few minutes before removing stencil. I may not have let mine sit long enough because my edges of the words weren't very "sharp".

  • Once the stencils were done and dried, I applied the varnish.
  • Using a sponge brush or a regular paint brush, apply one coat at a time, letting it dry completely in between. I let them dry a day in between each one.
  • Mine took 3-4 coats of varnish.  


  • I wish the rings would have stood out more like the ones in the website picture. 
  • I would have let the stencils sit a bit longer before removing them in hopes that the lines would have been cleaner.

I'll keep some for us and give some as gifts to others. What a fun way to recycle especially from nature. To me, homemade gifts are some of the best I can receive, and if they're made using items from around the home or found at garage sales, even better. 

With Joy UNquenchable,


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