DIY Wood Slice Coasters

Nov 10, 2019 | Handmade

I love making home décor myself especially when it saves me money and is fun to do! Wood slice coasters are quick and easy to make, and are great to give as Christmas presents, housewarming gifts, or just to spruce up your own living room.

I first got the idea to try making DIY wood costars when I was planning a housewarming party for my sisters. I wanted to have an activity and I knew my sister loves a good group craft.

Wood slice coasters were the perfect thing to make at the party since they were free, took little prep, and were housewarming themed.  We had guests from age 7 to 70 and everyone was easily able to make the coasters, and had a great time doing so.


 Here are all the materials and steps you will need to make your own wood slice coasters.

  • Wood slices
  • Sandpaper
  • Pencil
  • Permanent marker
  • Template (optional)
  • Wood varnish


    Step 1 – Make or Buy Wood Slices

    The first thing you will need to do is make or buy some wood slices. 

    I made my wood slices from our firewood, well actually my husband Eric did so I could photograph it.  For cutting your own wood slices use wood that is dry so that it does not split later on. Also look for wood that could fit the bottom of a mug. I used a stick of firewood that was about 3 – 3 ½ inches in diameter. 

    Once you have found a piece of wood the right size, cut it into ¼ inch (or slightly thicker) slices. To slice my coasters Eric used the chop saw. This tool will work best, just be careful when cutting the round branch. 

    If you do not have access to pieces of round wood or a saw, no worries you can find wood slices for sale at many places. You can order them online at Amazon and Etsy, or check a local craft supply store like Michaels.

    Step 2 – Sand

    Once you have cut or purchased your wood slices the next step is to sand them. If you bought your wood slices you will likely be able to skip this step. However, if you have chopped them yourself they will make much nicer coasters if you take a few minutes to sand them down.

    I used 120 grit sandpaper to smooth down my coasters. Any medium grit sandpaper that you have on hand should work fine for this.  When sanding move the paper in a circular motion to avoid little groves being left on the wood surface. 

    I sanded the bottom side as well so that the coasters wouldn’t scratch the table when used. I did not sand the edges where the bark is because I wanted to keep the rough woods look.

    The smoother you get the wood surface the better the marker will cover, and therefore coaster will look crisper and more professional. 

    Step 3 – Choose Design

    Once your wood slices are prepared it is time to add your design. This is the fun part where you get to be creative and artistic. If you are not feeling overly artistic and would rather have a template to follow you can download the one I made below.

    I made this coaster template sheet with some designs that I wanted to try out.

    If you want to use a template but are not in love with any of these designs you can make your own template. Just find an image online that you want to use, scale it to the proper size, and print it out. I find silhouette images work best, since they are simpler to trace.

    Step 4 – Transfer Image

    Now that you have your template, or an idea of what you want to draw it is time to put it onto your wood slice.

    To transfer the image to the wood slice take a pencil and color over the back of the image. Make sure to get lots of graphite on the paper and completely cover the back of the image. If you have a softer graphite pencil it will make the transfer easier to see, however, a regular HB 2 pencil is what I used and it worked fine.

    Once you have enough graphite down, flip the paper back over and line up the image on your wood slice. The front of the paper should be up, with the graphite side touching the wood.

    Now, with your pencil trace over the image to transfer it to the wood. Once you have the image traced you will be able to faintly see it on the wood slice.

    Step 5 – Go Over With Permanient Marker

    Next, go over top of the pencil tracing with a permanent marker. I found a fine tip Sharpie worked best for tracing the outline of the image, to get clean edges. Then I used a regular Sharpie to fill in the image.

    Go over your images until there are no wood flecks showing through.

    Step 6 – Varnish

    The final step to making wood slice coasters is to varnish them. Varnishing seals in the wood and gives the coasters a more professional look.  I used a jar of clear wood varnish that I found in the barn. Really any clear wood finish would do.

    You can use spray varnish or brush on. I recommend giving the marker some time to soak in before varnishing. I found that if I painted on my varnish right away some of the black marker streaked across the coaster.

    You can varnish the top or all side of the coaster. I did the top and the rough wood sides, but not the bottom because I didn’t want to wait for the top to dry.  I made sure to varnish the edges because it helps hold the bark on the wood.

    That’s it, you have made your very own wood slice coasters!


    These coasters are cheap to make, especially if you can make your own wood slices.  Although they do not cost much to make, they look beautiful and are a great gift idea.

    Make a set of four coasters that are unique to a friend and bundle them up in some twine to give for a thoughtful handmade gift.

    I find these coasters bring a natural element to my living room and help warm up the space.

    I hope you have fun making your own wood slice coasters!



    1. Aunt Lois

      Very cute Maggie. I think I will try some..!!

      • Maggie

        Thanks Lois! That awesome, you will have to show me when your finished 🙂

    2. Cynthia Tynan

      How did you get the coasters to be level? I’ve tried to cut some with the chop saw but one side seems a bit higher than the other. Logs are not level.


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    Hey, I’m Maggie. I hope you will join me and my family in getting back to the land.  Here you will learn about making things yourself, cooking homegrown food, and beginning a homesteading journey.


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