The first thing I thought might be fun to make are these adorable DIY mini-pallet coasters! They are tried and true; I made the lighter one a month or so ago when I saw it on Pinterest and simply couldn’t resist! It’s been pretty useful so far and holds up really well, especially for being made of popsicle sticks. I love the pallet design because I feel it really captures the nature of any DIY-er! My personal favorite is the stained one, but feel free to get creative with design.
As far as actually making these cute coasters, they take a fair amount of time and a lot of patience. The good news is most of that is spent on waiting for glue to dry. It also doesn’t take too much experience, though you may need to take a trip to the store if you don’t keep many crafting supplies on hand.
It’s worth mentioning I did not follow the tutorial I found, I just used the picture. If you would like the original tutorial, click here.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably dying to get started so here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- 15 clean and smooth popsicle sticks (I recommend buying a large pack as they can be quite useful and because some will come bent or splintered, which will make things difficult.)
- Glue (I used Elmer’s and it worked just fine)
- Something to take off the rounded edges of the sticks (An electric grinder is quick, easy and smooths the ends for you, but is generally around $30. You could also use a saw or knife.)
- Sandpaper (to smooth the edges and any splinters you find along the way)
- Wood stain (optional)
- Foam brush or paint brush (for applying stain)
- Paper towel, shop rag, or old cloth (to remove stain)
- Mat to work on (Waterproof is important if you are using stain, I used an old plastic Sesame Street mat I played on when I was younger)
Once you’ve got all of that you’re ready to get started! I took pictures along the way to help you through the process.
Go through your popsicle sticks and pick out 15 that are straight and smooth. If you plan on staining, look closely at the patterns and try and get some that have neat designs. The stain will bring these out.
Draw lines on your sticks as a reference for when you grind or cut them so that they will all be about the same length.
Then you need to cut and sand the ends to the lines you have drawn. As I said previously, my dad’s old electric grinder (pictured above) works excellently for both of these and is pretty quick. It also gives the ends a dark color so you won’t need to stain them.Either way, make sure that the sticks are all about the same length. They don’t have to be perfect, but they should be pretty close.
If you decide to use stain, now’s the time (if not, skip to the gluing). I used an old can I found in the garage and a spare popsicle stick to stir it with. I opted for a foam brush because they are easy and disposable, though occasional splinters in the wood tore off bits and pieces every once in a while. Also, most stains will tell you that you need to treat softer woods, but that isn’t necessary in this case because we aren’t too worried about consistency.
When you stain, move quickly and be careful not to use too much. Since popsicle sticks are a soft wood, and we aren’t pre-treating them, they will take on the color quickly. I recommend doing one side at a time so you can lay them down, but don’t forget the sides!
The towel will come in handy wiping off the stain. I painted the top and sides on each stick, wiped of the stain once I had finished all of them, and then repeated the process for the bottom. This cuts down the wait time as opposed to doing each individually.
This is what my sticks look like after staining. It was my first time, so it’s a little uneven, but I still love how the stain brings out the patterns in the wood! Depending on what stain you use, and how much, yours may end up being lighter or darker.
At this point, choose the six you would like to be the top of your pallet and set them aside. They will be the last part we add.
***If you didn’t stain, this is where you come back in.*** Next you’re going to form the base. Glue four sticks together in a square, and add two more in the middle parallel to the ones on top. Let this dry completely.
Now, this is where it starts getting a little bit tricky. From here on out, be prepared for a few collapses. Going the opposite direction as the two sticks in the middle, add three more, this time on their sides. Put one on each of the two edges and the third in the middle. These might fall a few times, but don’t be discouraged. If you can get these to stay, go ahead and let them dry. If not, feel free to move on to the next step, just know that it’ll make it a little bit harder.
This is our final step, and one of the trickiest if you couldn’t get the last step to stay put long enough to dry. Go ahead and pull out the six sticks you designated for the top. Glue these evenly across the top, in the opposite direction as the sticks on their sides that you glued in the previous step. If those aren’t dry, it might collapse a few times. Just breathe, and be patient. Watch and make sure that they do not slip and become crooked. The sticks on their sides will probably have a tendency to do this.
Once the glue is tacky, and somewhat holding together, put a thin protector on top of the pallet (I used a page of a magazine) and then put something relatively heavy on top. I used my box of popsicle sticks but a textbook or dictionary would work just fine.
Once that dries completely, you are done! I couldn’t resist taking a few photos with mine outside in the ice with a hot cup of tea.
Good luck and have fun!