This trivet project combines two of my favorite trends: woodsy wood and geometry. Simple to make and good looking, this would make the perfect hostess gift!
Step 1: What You'll Need
- 10 tree branch discs/slices approximately 1 3/4" diameter and 1/4" thick
* I bought mine pre-cut at Flax art supply store but you could also cut your own. Just make sure the wood is dry.
- 10" x 10" piece of medium thick leather
* I chose a neutral color, but a bright color could also be fun as it would show up in between the circles
- print out of leather backing pattern on 8 1/2 x 11" paper (file attached below)
- Guerrilla Glue or contact cement
- a pen, ruler & exacto knife
- sandpaper (120, 240 & 400 grit - 1 sheet each)
- fabric scissors
- 3 clamps (not pictured)
- 12" x 14" piece of plywood or a large hard cover book
- inexpensive painting brush
- matte Clear & Clean wood finish (water based)
Step 2: Sand Your Slices
Check to make sure that your discs/slices are all the same thickness.
If they aren't, you'll need to do a bit of sanding in order to achieve this.
If they are, you can skip this step.
To even up all your thicknesses, tape down your 120 sand paper and using even strokes and elbow grease, sand each disc ON ONE SIDE ONLY until you've achieved 'sameness' for all 10 discs.
Change out the 120 grit for the 240 grit and give the sanded sides a couple of passes each.
*The reason you only sand one side is to keep the side you'll be gluing to the leather rough so it 'grabs on' to the glue for a better bond.
Step 3: Cut Out Your Pattern
Using craft/paper scissors, cut out your leather backing pattern.
Step 4: Trace Pattern Onto Leather
Using your pen, trace the pattern onto your leather piece, suede (rough) side up.
Step 5: Cut Out Your Leather Backing Piece
Using your fabric scissors, cut out your traced leather piece.
Step 6: Play With Your Pieces
Now you're going to arrange your wood discs/slices on the leather backing piece (suede side up, smooth side down).
Because they're not perfect circles, it will take a bit of fiddling to get them all touching each other and centered on the backing piece.
Step 7: Get Gluing
If you're using Gorilla Glue, before you start gluing, you'll need to find a little scrap piece of wood, a popsicle stick, or piece of stiff plastic for spreading out the glue.
If you're using contact cement, follow the instructions on the container and use the glue placement suggestions outlined below.
Gorilla Glue Gluing (love me some alliteration):
You'll be gluing one wood piece at a time in an effort to keep the alignment you worked so hard to achieve in the last step.
Lightly wet the back of your first disc using your brush and set aside. Squeeze a bit of glue onto the exposed leather spot. Use your wood scrap piece to thinly spread it out, being careful not to spread it onto the leather spots that will be seen in between the discs. *Gorilla Glue expands as it dries so it's very important that the glue layer be thin!
Put the first disc back in place, wet side down. Repeat the above process for the remaining 9 discs.
Step 8: Squish and Clamp
Once you have glued down all your wood bits, carefully move your trivet to the edge of the work table and put the piece of wood ply (or hard cover book) on top of it. Place your clamps as close to the points of your trivet triangle as possible and snug them down.
Keep clamped for 2 hours.
Step 9: Seal It
Once you've removed your trivet from it's clamp 'hug', you'll be applying a thin layer of matte wood finish. Be careful not to put so much on that it drips down the sides. It helps to paint each disc individually as opposed to brushing a whole row at once. And really, just a thin layer will do.
Let dry for 2 hours.
Step 10: The Finishing Touch
Once the finish is dry, carefully tear off a small square of your 400 grit sand paper and give the discs a light sand. This will give the piece a smooth to the touch feel and remove any excess finish.
This trivet has been tested with a kettle that was heated over a gas burner. It passed. : ) I wouldn't recommend it for things coming straight out of the oven.