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!
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.
Q-tips (the cheaper/non-brand name kind has less white fluff to get in the way!)
Sand paper (anything you have laying around that's on the fine side, nothing too coarse or your sanding lines will show).
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!).
2. Begin lightly sanding each ball using fine sandpaper, setting aside those you've sanded from those you haven't.
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.
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.