Protect your dining table from hot serving ware while adding a touch of seasonal beauty, with this leaf-theme trivet.
1. Draw a circle on paper large enough to fit six to eight small to medium leaves inside. Mark the centerpoint of the circle so you’ll know where it is later. Position the leaves inside the circle. Each leaf should overlap a few others near the edges, and several leaves should touch the circle line. These overlaps connect the leaves to the outer ring of the trivet. When laying out your leaf pattern, leave enough space between them so you can cut out these areas. These little details make your pattern more interesting. Trace your leaf pattern in pencil, then go over the pencil lines with a fine-tipped black pen (see Photo 1). Add a few leaf-vein details as well, if you like.
2. Cut a piece of 1/4 or 1/2-in. thick wood large enough to fit your circle leaf pattern, plus an extra 1 in. in length and width.
3. Cut out your paper circle. Mount the pattern to your workpiece with spray adhesive so the pattern is centered on the wood. Press it flat with a soft cloth.
4. Using the centerpoint you determined in Step 1, draw a ring around your pattern on the wood with a pencil compass (see Photo 2). Make the ring about 1/2 in. larger than the outside of the leaf pattern.
5. Cut out the larger circle, following your layout line, using a scroll saw or band saw (see Photo 3). Sand this edge smooth to remove any saw marks.
6. Turn the pattern board over so the bottom faces up. This will become the top face of your trivet. Use a rotary tool or small router and a roundover or chamfering bit to ease the edge of the circle (see Photo 4).
7. Now it’s time to cut out your leaf pattern. Begin by drilling a pilot hole through each waste area with a 1/8-diameter or smaller drill bit (see Photo 5). These will serve as starter holes to thread a scroll saw blade through.
8. Cut out the waste areas, starting from the innermost cutouts and working outward. Use a new blade to ensure crisp, clean cuts (see Photo 6).
9. Next, cut a larger base for your trivet from a contrasting-colored wood. You can make a circular base or choose another geometric shape. Make the base about an inch larger than the circular pattern to create an overlap. Ease the top edge of your base with a router or rotary tool and a profiling bit. Or, break the edge with sandpaper.
10. Carefully sand or scrape off the paper pattern and spread on a thin coat of wood glue. Try to keep the glue away from the edges of your pattern to avoid squeeze-out (see Photo 7). Set it into place on the base, centering the pattern. Use a stack of heavy books to press the parts together until the glue dries. Scrape off any tiny bits of dried glue with a hobby knife.
11. Brush on a few coats of a wipe-on finish. Flood the finish on so it reaches all the crevices in the pattern, then wipe off the excess finish before it dries (see Photo 8).
12. Finally, apply several stick-on felt tabs to the base of the trivet to keep it from scratching your dining table, and it’s ready for your next holiday meal!