How to Make Wooden Coasters

wooden coasters

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Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Total Time: 1 hr - 2 days
  • Yield: Wooden coasters
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10 to $20

Crafting your own wooden coasters is a fun way to add a personal touch to your home's interior that's as useful as it is beautiful. Plus, this easy DIY makes a perfect handmade gift for friends and families. You don't have to be a world-class woodworker or have a workshop full of fancy tools to craft these gorgeous coasters, making this an ideal woodworking project for beginners.

Before You Begin

The steps ahead will outline how to make two simple wooden coasters. One design features softwood construction with an end-grain design, while the other features hardwood and an edge-grain design. Before getting started, plan out your specific coaster design to ensure they're exactly what you want. Below are a few ways you can customize your coasters to better fit your desired look.


The coasters outlined in the steps below will be perfect squares, but they can be cut into several shapes. Here are a few of our favorite coaster shapes and how to make them:

Circular coaster: On a square coaster, draw a perfect circle using a compass, then cut it out using a bandsaw or scroll saw. Once shaped, smooth the edges using sandpaper.

Octagonal coaster: To create an octagonal coaster, simply cut the corners off of a square coaster at a 45-degree angle.

Hexagonal coaster: Hexagons are a little trickier than octagons but make for a beautiful finished product. To cut hexagons, set your miter saw to 120 degrees and cut equidistant sides. An easy way to do this is by marking a 120-degree line on top of a long board, flipping it around, and marking another 120-degree line across the first line, creating an X. Measure the distance between the start of the first line and the center of the X, then use this distance to space and draw a second "X" next to the first. The space in the middle of the two Xs will be an equidistant hexagon. Cut along the lines to create a hexagonal coaster.


When it comes time to determine the wood you use for your coasters, there are a few things to consider. When building coasters, the main difference between softwoods like pine and cedar and hardwoods like oak and maple is the price, with the latter being more expensive. Softwoods will tend to lend a more rustic look, while hardwoods look more elegant and refined. Hardwoods are less prone to warping and shrinking, which can be advantageous for making thinner coasters.


Your chosen finish for your coasters will ultimately determine their look and longevity. You may choose to stain the wood, then protect it using a clear sealer. Below is some information on both practices:

Stains: Stains are a great way to alter the appearance of a wood species to change its color, make it look more rustic and weathered, or even make it look like a different wood species altogether. You may opt to stain a softwood coaster to give it a more elegant appearance or lean into its rustic appeal. However, many people choose to forgo stains on more expensive hardwoods, instead skipping straight to a clear sealer to let the beauty of the wood shine through.

Sealants: Regardless of if you choose to stain the wood or not, a clear sealant is necessary to block moisture absorption. For coasters, a spray-on, waterproof sealant such as polyurethane is the quickest and easiest way to provide maximum protection. However, many people opt to leave wooden coasters unsealed, which allows them to absorb the moisture of drinks and better protect furniture.

Waxes and Oils: An alternative to spray-on sealants, waxes and oils offer great moisture protection while maintaining the wood's natural look. If you go this route, keep in mind that wax and oil finishes must be reapplied on a regular basis.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Miter saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Scrap wood stopper
  • Trigger clamp
  • Router and router table (optional)
  • Roundover or chamfer bit (optional)
  • Staining supplies (optional)


Edge-Grain Coasters

  • 1/4-inch x 4-inch x 4-foot unfinished oak board
  • 120- and 220-grit sanding blocks
  • Wood stain (optional)
  • Spray-on waterproofing wood sealant (optional)

End-Grain Coasters

  • 4x4 x 8-foot untreated pine board
  • 120- and 220-grit sanding blocks
  • Wood stain (optional)
  • Spray-on waterproofing wood sealant (optional)


How to Make an End-Grain Coaster

  1. Cut Coasters

    Clamp a scrap wood stopper to your miter saw spaced 1/2-inch from the blade. Butt a 4x4 board against the stopper and proceed to cut out your desired amount of coasters.


    When using softwoods for coasters, refrain from cutting pieces too thin, as this can lead to eventual warping.

  2. Sand the Coasters

    Sand each coaster with 120-grit paper, then follow with 220-grit to smooth the surface. Focus on the edges to remove any splintering.

  3. Shape the Edges

    Use a router fitted to a router table and a roundover or chamfer bit to shape the edges of each coaster. Sand to smooth.


    If you don't have a router, you can easily add an elegant edge profile with sandpaper.

  4. Finish the Coasters

    If desired, apply wood stain according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once dry, apply spray-on waterproof sealant if desired.

How to Make an Edge-Grain Coaster

  1. Cut Coasters

    Clamp a scrap wood stopper to your miter saw spaced 3-1/2 inches from the blade. Cut each coaster by butting the board against the stopper, then cutting out the coaster.

  2. Finish Coasters

    Follow steps two through four above to finish the coasters.

Cleaning Your DIY Wooden Coasters

Cleaning and maintaining your wooden coasters will look different depending on your chosen finish. If you applied a wood sealant, occasionally wiping the coasters with a damp cloth will be enough to keep them in great condition for years to come. Unfinished coasters are naturally going to patina overtime, but harsh stains can often be removed with a light sanding. For waxed and oiled coasters, wipe with a damp cloth and reapply the finish as needed.