A Twiggy Trivet

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Project by freestateworker posted 12-02-2015 06:50 PM 1357 views 20 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is another project for sale at our church Bazaar. As with my box, these were intended to be made inexpensively out of reclaimed materials. The trivets are based on an idea my wife and I saw at a market. In that case the twigs were not sealed, so it was more of an art piece.

It is just a whole bunch of slices of twigs and small branches found in the yard and neighborhood park glued on end to a piece of plywood. It is a mixture of all the woods I could find around so there is hickory, sycamore, ash, black walnut, locust, oak, pine, some type of cedar, tulip poplar and a few of unknown type. It is then framed out with whatever scraps I had around—oak, sycamore, birch, pine, etc. The twigs are then sealed in with a bar top epoxy coating. A couple of coats of varnish makes sure the whole thing looks good.

The mix of grains and the slight amber hue from the finish makes them look far better than the quality of materials would suggest. Here’s hoping they sell well.

Thanks for looking and thanks for the inspiration I’ve drawn from all the fabulous projects on LJ.

13 comments so far

View mattkrusen's profile


15 posts in 463 days

#1 posted 12-03-2015 01:27 AM

Nicely done. I’ve always liked that look. I’m curious how long this took to make? I’ve always thought they look like they’d be quick but would end up taking way longer than expected. Good luck with the sales!

View freestateworker's profile


9 posts in 393 days

#2 posted 12-03-2015 03:52 AM

You guessed correctly—they take longer than I thought. The big pieces are quick, the medium size pieces aren’t bad, but then after that it slows way down and is very tedious. I was amazed how much stuff thinner than a pencil each trivet required to look fully packed. I now know why the art pieces we saw as inspiration were not sealed and used empty space as part of the design.
I would guess there might be 4 hours total labor into each one from start to finish. The first one probably longer, while the last ones were a little shorter. It takes longer than that since I found it worked best to glue in larger stuff, let it dry then fill in with smaller stuff, let that batch dry and then go in for the very tiny stuff. Then sanding it all down to one level, framing it out and finishing with waiting involved at each step.

View Betsy's profile


3336 posts in 3317 days

#3 posted 12-03-2015 04:28 AM

Looks good.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 598 days

#4 posted 12-03-2015 12:03 PM

That is a beautiful pattern. I hope they do well at the church bazaar.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View david38's profile


2391 posts in 1764 days

#5 posted 12-03-2015 02:15 PM

i like it

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


22685 posts in 2288 days

#6 posted 12-03-2015 02:43 PM

This is very creative and nicely done. Congratulations and welcome to Lumberjocks.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View mattkrusen's profile


15 posts in 463 days

#7 posted 12-03-2015 03:50 PM

Did you glue down each piece individually? I wonder if pouring a small layer of epoxy on the bottom then dropping in all the sticks would work. Precut a ton of pieces of various sizes so you always have a supply ready to use once the epoxy is poured. I might have to try that. Seems like it may speed up the process a bit. Looks like I’ll be collecting some sticks at the lake cabin over Christmas! Thanks for the inspiration.

View freestateworker's profile


9 posts in 393 days

#8 posted 12-03-2015 05:17 PM

Matt, Yeah I glued them down separately to the maximize the best fit. A layer of epoxy might work, especially if it were a slow cure. You really will need a ton of sticks cut – it surprised me how many times I had to go cut more stuff. Depending upon your chosen layout you could skip some of the really small stuff and use open space in your design.

I rough cut my stuff around 3/8” long and then after the glue set put it on the belt sander to bring it down to a uniform 1/4” thickness. That seemed easiest to me since cutting some of the fine stuff in a precise way was not working for me. Some of my pieces are slightly smaller than a pencil lead. Since I had to do the sanding I framed the trivets last.

I will say I hated doing them—especially about the 5th or 6th one, because it is slow and tedious. But now that they are finished I like the looks of them.

View Colin_Zimmerman's profile


37 posts in 1397 days

#9 posted 12-03-2015 05:19 PM

I did this idea around my electric fireplace insert. Our chimney cracked, so actual fires are not going to happen. I bought an electric fireplace and slide it into the opening. Then I cut plywood to size to fill the void around the heater. I did like your project here and glued slices of a dead aspen from my yard to the plywood. It looks like I have stacks of wood around my heater insert. Great project here ya got.

View finns's profile


99 posts in 2537 days

#10 posted 12-03-2015 06:40 PM

Looks great. I’ve seen these done in the past at craft shows but they were not as nice and detailed as yours. I would think they will sell well.

View majuvla's profile


8714 posts in 2289 days

#11 posted 12-04-2015 05:03 AM

Nice natural look.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Lazyman's profile


611 posts in 808 days

#12 posted 12-04-2015 02:48 PM

If you are going to pour epoxy over it anyway, I wonder if you could just sit the pieces in there and let the final pour lock everything in place. Just a thought.

I have not looked up the heat tolerance of epoxy. Have you put a pot or pan from the oven on one to test? I’m making some trivets of other designs and I am trying to figure out the best finish to put on them.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View freestateworker's profile


9 posts in 393 days

#13 posted 12-07-2015 10:13 PM

Well they all sold at the church bazaar this weekend. Thanks everyone for your nice comments. If you’re going down this same road, good luck and collect a lot of twigs—you’ll need them.

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