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Tips for Wood Burning Stencils on Cork

Personalize your cork trivets and coasters with wood burning stencils! I created a set for Thanksgiving, but you can customize them for any occasion!

Customize your own cork trivets with wood burning

I have zero drawing skills, so I rely on stencils to create designs like this painted tile floor or my Let it Snow sign. You can also use them as wood burning stencils to personalize things like coasters and trivets! I'm sharing my tips and tricks for wood burning on cork to make these Thanksgiving themed table essentials!

Every Thanksgiving, the dining table is littered with hot dishes that could damage the beautiful grey wood stain finish. I keep these holiday trivets with our other Thanksgiving decor that gets hauled out after Halloween. That way, we'll have them on hand for the big feast, then store them away the rest of the year when they're not needed.

cork trivets with wood burning designs

Cork trivets and coasters are the perfect first wood burning project! It burns easily without catching fire, and the smoke is non-toxic (always important!) The design won't transfer to the bottom of a hot plate like paint will. Use wood burning stencils to create a personalized set for your Thanksgiving host!

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wood burning tool, stencils and cork coasters

Materials Needed for Wood Burning Cork

Tips for Wood Burning Stencils on Cork

Trace the Stencil

Rub your hand over the surface of the cork to brush off any loose bits. Then center your wood burning stencil on top, and lightly trace the design with a pencil. The pencil point can dig up the cork if you're not careful, so don't press too hard!

In the video, I used carbon paper and a round tipped tool to transfer the design. This works much better!

tracing design onto cork coaster with a stencil

Remove the stencil and go over areas that are hard to see with the pencil again. You can see that the head and some of the feathers are difficult to make out here. The carbon paper method is much easier to see!

traced turkey design for Thanksgiving themed coasters

Prepare the Wood Burning Tool

Open a nearby window to allow any smoke to escape. You don't to set off the fire alarm and startle yourself with a hot tool in your hand!

My wood burning kit came with lots of different tips, but I typically just use the universal tip with a pointed tip and flat side. Changing hot tips partway through is a pain (sometimes literally!) and is only necessary when you're freehand drawing a design.

various wood burning tips on gray stained table

Set your wood burning tool to medium to medium-high heat. I like to stay on the lower end for more control over the color. You can always burn more in, but you can't take it away!

Another handy tip: Tape the stand to the table! It's too easy to accidentally knock it over, and you want to avoid any mishaps with a hot point!

wood burning tool stand taped to table

Using the Universal Wood Burning Tip

Use the tip of the wood burning tool to fill in the smaller areas. Rotate the cork piece rather than the hot tool as you work.

wood burning tool filling in small areas of a cork coaster with a stenciled turkey design

Use the tip to outline larger curved areas before filling in the center.

tracing outside edge of traced design with a woodburning tool

Use the flat edge of the wood burning tip to create crisp, straight lines. Then pull the edge towards the center to fill in the rest of the design quickly.

wood burning Thanksgiving themed coasters

If you leave the tip on the cork for too long, it will burn up and flake off. Just repeat the process with less heat on the new layer underneath.

Keep the wood burning tool vertical when you're close to the edge of the traced design. If you let it droop too much, you'll get burning where you didn't mean to!

mistake made when wood burning

Create Wood Burning Stencils with a Silhouette or Cricut Machine

You're not limited to premade stencils! It's easy to make any design you can imagine with a Silhouette or Cricut machine and vinyl. You could easily print a design on paper and cut it out too.

wood burning stencils made with a Silhouette machine and vinyl

Just adjust the design to fit your piece! These 7" cork trivets worked really well with my custom wood burning stencils. The larger area made it easier to burn crisp edges with the flat part of the tool and really make the design pop!

cork trivets with wood burning stencils
cork trivet with "thankful" wood burned into the surface

Makes a Great Gift Idea!

Wrap up a pair of custom created trivets to give as a hostess gift!

custom made cork trivets wrapped as a gift

You could make these cork coasters and trivets for Christmas too! I'm planning to give a few sets as gifts this year. For less than $30, you could make enough for the whole family!

Customize your own cork trivets with wood burning