Shape Shifting Wood Trivet




About: Hi, my name is Britt Michelsen, I'm a Chemical Engineer especially interested in Computational Fluid Dynamics. To balance all the theoretical work I like to make stuff in my free time.

In this tutorial I'm going to show you, how to make a trivet, that can change the shape and be very easily stored.

Being a student space is very valuable in my kitchen. This trivet can be used for pans and pots of different sizes, without needing a huge amount of storage space.

Btw this is a great gift for mums and grandmas.

Step 1: Basic Concept

I'm convinced that a picture is worth a thousand words. The image shows the concept of the trivet. Every piece can be turned freely around the neighbouring pieces.
You can of course connect more than one piece to another.
In one of my earlier tries I've used round 2x2 lego plate to connect the pieces, like probably you I wondered, whether the plastic is stable enough, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get it to melt, by placing hot pots and casserole dishes on it. This is not to surprising, because wood is a pretty good insulator and because of the holes between the disks a heat accumulation is prevented.
But the connections weren't strong enough and it kept falling apart.

Step 2: What You Need

  • wooden disks (at least 30; the height should be at least 6 mm), the size doesn't really matter, they shouldn't be smaller then 3cm, remember the smaller they are the more you will need.
  • smaller wooden pieces, the height should be between 4 and 8 mm and the diameter about 1,5 cm (I've used game pieces)
  • very strong glue
  • a silicone sheet (to get the exact size follow this Instructable and then calculate it accordingly to your trivet)
  • sandpaper

  • a drill press
  • a Forstner drill bit (the diameter has to be the same as the smaller wood piece)
  • a Circle Cutter, not really necessary, but makes your life a whole lot easier)
  • a box cutter

Step 3: Cut the Wooden Disks

I wasn’t able to find wooden disks in the size I needed them (and I don't have a circular saw), so a friend offered to cut them (and I forced him to take photos ;-)). He used spruce, but you should get a hardwood, because it's more durable and softwood tends to get black when it's getting to hot.

Step 4: Drill

It is very important, that the hole is perfectly centred. You can either make a stencil out of paper or buy one.
How deep you will have to drill depends on the hight of you smaller wooden pieces. There should be enough space to connect the pieces, but not much more or your trivet will get unstable. Remember, that the centre point is longer than the hole you are going to drill.
Once you've adjusted the drill, don't change anything any more and drill every piece in the exact same way.

Step 5: Connect the Pieces

In order to connect the pieces you should make the connections out of a silicone sheet (if you can't find any check out the last picture). The length between the two holes has to be the diameter of your wooden disks.
The holes need to be a bit bigger then then your small wooden pieces. I've started to cut the outline with the circle and the box cutter and when I was done with all the pieces, I started cutting the smaller holes.

Step 6: Glue

Now you will have to glue the pieces that will connect your top and bottom part to your wooden disks.

Start by glueing the smaller pieces, into one of the bigger disks, lay out the connectors and glue the second piece on top of it. Make sure, that you don't glue the silicone to the wood, by always trying to turn the pieces.

Step 7: What Now?

There are many ways, to improve this concept. I tried using heat-resistant spray paint and it worked very well.
An other way could be to use different types of wood, to make it look more interesting or carve something into it.
Maybe you can think of a way to use this concept for something different, e.g. jewellery or a toy (I can't stop playing with it ;-)).
So please let me see with what you come up.



    • Pets Challenge

      Pets Challenge
    • Sensors Contest

      Sensors Contest
    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest

    24 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    What a great design idea!!
    I'm going to use this as an optional project in my technology classes this year. The only part I'll change is to use our laser cutter to cut the plastic connectors. I can cut a gazillion of them in no time and just have them on hand instead of cutting them for each project.
    Different contrasting woods, lots of different grain patterns, the desing possibilities are endless. Great inspiration!

    1 reply
    andrea biffi

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi BrittLiv this is awesome! I hadn't see it before, but I've found it at the side of my last ible. I really like your trivet, it's much more up-to-date than mine ;-)

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Are you sure you wan to further your studies in computational fluid dynamics ???
    You are very talented as a designer : don't run from your calling !!!…

    I'm in awe !…
    Want do you want me to say ?…
    Oh yes : excellent design. excellent !…


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm thinking craft magnets as the center. Thanks for the idea. 5 stars.


    8 years ago on Step 6

    makes me want a drill press even more now...

    what gave you the idea?

    Like it!

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 6

    Thanks a lot, I actually bought the drill press for that and I love it. I had the idea quite a while back (the kitchen in my last apartment was extremely small), but couldn't realise it due to missing tools.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This concept is fantastic! I'm not sure the title pic and title quite do it justice though! I will definitely be making one.

    8 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Shape Shifting Trivet perhaps? Or Flexible Trivet, Many Shaped Trivet.

    I bet that silicone sheet would laser cut brilliantly. I might have to find a sheet. Or maybe OHP sheets would be strong enough.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    You are right "Shape Shifting Trivet" sounds a lot better, oh well now it's published... I'm so jealous, I would love to have a laser cutter. It takes quite a while to cut it. I found my sheet on ebay, it is 0,5mm thick.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    It is fairly obvious that most projects on this site are telling you 'How to' and 'Make it yourself' So the title could be kept concise just to read 'Shape Shiftin Trivet'. I feel it gives the project a more precise title.

    (ps, it was Jayefuu who featured the instructable for you! If you look at the 'info box' on the right hand side it will show the author (you) who has featured the instructable)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    So FT could remain anonymous if they wished I should think.