Essential Tools

DIY These Wooden Trivets (Without Tools!) to Gift to Teachers, Neighbors, Friends

August 19, 2016

My heart skips a beat for aesthetically simple, uber-functional products. One sees more and more of them these days! (The Food52 Shop is brimming with examples—here, here, and here, to start—and no, they did not ask me to say that.)

My love for the simple wooden bits and parts at Craftparts.com is also no secret (here, here, and here), and I most love these soft, visually stunning split wooden balls. I'd swim in a pool of them if I could. Below, my favorite way to craft with them. Trivets!

Photo by Linda Xiao

This project is simple and flexible: Build-a-Cross.com sells wooden triangles in all sizes, so you could go big with your trivet (even up to 10 or 12 inches) or small (like 3 or 4 inches for a set of coasters—fun!). Completely up to you. These trivets are tough, to boot: They hold a significant amount of weight, useful for propping up casseroles, heavy soup, or sturdy enameled cast iron pots (like this one, pictured above).

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I chose 6-inch and 8-inch trivets—large enough to hold a standard Dutch oven, small enough to tuck inside in a kitchen drawer. Although, I have to admit, I leave mine out on the kitchen counter when not being used: I find this one too pretty to store away.

Photo by Linda Xiao

Here's what you'll need:

How to make them:

1. Lay split wooden balls on a flat surface. You'll want to weed out the misshapen balls if there are any in your batch (or not, they add character!).

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Top Comment:
“I counted (correctly, I hope) the number of split wooden balls used for one small trivet and one large trivet, and it looks like you would need 49 ball halves to complete both. Amazon has a package of 50 - 1" unfinished wooden ball halves, Prime, for $18.99. This looks like a very fun project.”
— Jackie S.
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2. Begin lightly sanding each ball using fine sandpaper, setting aside those you've sanded from those you haven't.

Photo by Linda Xiao

3. Mock up your trivet first! Place each split ball, one at a time, on the triangle. I like to arrange them in even lines horizontally until the entire triangle is covered. You'll want to allow for a little overlap when working on each of the three sides.

4. Using extra strength wood glue, begin adhering them to the triangle. A little glue goes a long way here; I tend to use a dot the size of a pea.

5. Starting in one corner, work to match the mocked-up horizontal lines while gluing each split ball. You want to be mindful of wonky lines: Keep as even of a line as you can while gluing.

Photo by Linda Xiao

The wood glue takes a moment to really set, so you can always quickly lift and re-position a split ball if needed. I like to keep a Q-tip close while doing this! Sometimes the glue is visible in pockets—simply wipe away with a moistened (with water) Q-tip.

Let dry a minimum of two hours, ideally overnight.

6 Comments

Jackie S. January 6, 2017
I counted (correctly, I hope) the number of split wooden balls used for one small trivet and one large trivet, and it looks like you would need 49 ball halves to complete both. Amazon has a package of 50 - 1" unfinished wooden ball halves, Prime, for $18.99. This looks like a very fun project.
 
jpriddy January 6, 2017
Grammar Girl is free online: "anything you have laying around" should be "lying around" and yeah, go ahead and please delete this annoying message after you read it and correct your copy.
 
sue M. September 16, 2016
where do you get the split balls?
 
Smaug August 19, 2016
Well, if you really must.... you'd be better off to use Titebond3, which is waterproof-also gives more open time. To make a solid glue joint you need some clamping pressure- you could use a weight in this case (being sure the pieces didn't shift when you put it on). If you surfaces are really flat, you can use air pressure- make sure that both the flat part of the hemiball and the triangle are completely covered with glue- put them together and slide the ball around a bit to make sure there's no air between them; done properly this will give you roughly 32 lb./sq foot pressure, which should be plenty. Or you could use a vacuum sealer if you have one- this is basically how veneers are usually glued nowadays.
 
Smaug August 19, 2016
Oops- 32lb./sq. inch
 
Eileen G. August 19, 2016
Can they be painted?