Easy DIY Rustic Wooden Coasters

By 3 m read
Wooden coasters - Finished coasters
(Photo by Erich Boenzli)

I poured myself a glass of refreshing iced tea with just a hint of lemon and went to take a seat on the sofa to relax. I sat down and admired our new maple coffee table, with its warm brown tones, antique brass drawer pulls, and smooth glossy surface. Now all I needed was a coaster, to protect this beautiful piece of furniture from my cool drink. I saw one nearby and noticed again that our coasters were old, beat up, and really in need of replacement. Inspiration struck and I decided to finally replace them, in a way that would bring a bit of the outdoors in.


We bundled up in warm coats, hats, and gloves – and grabbed a hand saw too – and headed out for a walk in the snowstorm. After a few minutes of searching, we found the perfect branch, lying there on the side of the road. It was just the right size, with a warm golden tone to the wood. This branch would become our new coasters!


Tools & Supplies for Wooden Coasters

  • Hand saw
  • Table saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Polyurethane
  • Paintbrushes


Cutting the Wood

Using the hand saw, Erich cut the branch to a more manageable length and we returned home.  

Wooden coasters - Erich cutting branch
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

After letting the branch fully dry out in a warm spot of the house for a few days, he started up his table saw, and cut the branch into several slices, each approximately 5/16” thick.  

Wooden coasters - Cutting branch with table saw
Cutting branch with table saw (Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Sanding & Staining

Once the medallions of wood were cut, I lightly sanded each piece, then brushing them clear of all dirt and dust. I also found some 4” x 4” coasters that we had cut a while ago, but never got around to finishing…so now was the perfect time to do both!

Wooden coasters - Cut slices of branch (Photo by Erich)
Cut slices of branch (Photo by Erich Boenzli)

I laid out some butcher paper on a table and spread out all the squares and circles of wood. I decided to apply a Natural stain to the square coasters, but left the branches circles alone. Once the stain dried, I then found my can of quick-drying polyurethane, gave it a gentle stir, and got to work.

Wooden coasters - Ready for polyurethane
Ready for polyurethane (Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Applying Polyurethane

Carefully brush the polyurethane onto one surface and the sides of each piece of wood, then let dry according to the manufacturer’s directions on the can (mine instructed 2 hours between coats). After the drying time is up, flip them over and repeat the same process.

Wooden coasters - Applying polyurethane
Applying polyurethane (Photo by Viana Boenzli)

For the first coat or two, the brushing was a little more difficult, as the poly soaked up into the grain very quickly. After a few coats, though, the poly spread much more nicely and I was able to brush on thicker coats in order to give it a smoother surface.  


Final Notes

Depending on the type of wood you choose and the smoothness of the finish you desire, the number of coats of poly you’ll need will differ. For my circles of wood from the branch, I used five coats…but the cut 4 x 4’s took eight coats to get them to the look I wanted. Again, follow the instructions on your can of polyurethane regarding total drying time required before use.

Wooden coasters - Finished coasters
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

I’m thrilled with the look of our new coasters! They have a rustic charm and warm tones that fit perfectly in our home…and I finally have a beautiful coaster for my refreshing iced tea.


The wonderful thing about these coasters is that each one will be unique…so let’s see the coasters you’ve created!


Did you make these Rustic Wooden Coasters? Let us know in the comments below!

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