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How to Burn Cork: A Cheap & Easy IKEA Hack!

Learn how to burn cork and easily make your own DIY burned IKEA cork trivets!

Just use a basic wood burning tool and burn any design into some inexpensive IKEA cork trivets, coasters, or boards!

It’s a simple and inexpensive IKEA hack that makes great personalized gifts, too!

How to burn cork and make your own DIY burned IKEA cork trivets! An easy IKEA hack!

Earlier this year, my husband and I made our first-ever trip to IKEA…and it was incredible!

Seriously, it was everything I hoped it would be.

Pinterest is of course filled with all these amazing IKEA hacks and DIY projects, so I was eager to give my own a try.

Oh, and let’s not even start on those prices!  #takemymoney

We didn’t get too carried away and buy an entire showroom, but we did snag a few items, one of which was a 3-pack of cork trivets.

I had first planned on painting them with some cute design that was TBD, but then I started worrying (because that’s what I do)…

Would the hot dishes cause problems for the paint???

Or would the paint cause problems for the dishes???

Either way, that would not be good.

I mean we’re actually going to use these bad boys in the kitchen, so I wanted their upcycling design to have some staying power and also not wreck our kitchenware.

Maybe craft paint and hot casseroles go together like peas and carrots, but I didn’t feel like testing it out here. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So I put on my thinking cap and started brainstorming ideas, then it hit me:


How to Burn Cork: A Cheap & Easy IKEA Hack!

Here I’ll show you how a complete newb like myself can learn how to burn cork in no time and create cute and custom home decor items or gifts!


How to Burn Cork: Supplies

Here’s what I used for this DIY cork burning IKEA hack:

The IKEA Cork Trivets

Here are the inexpensive cork trivets we snagged at IKEA:

3-pack of IKEA HEAT cork trivets.

The Wood Burning Tool

Like I mentioned earlier, this was my very first time ever using a wood burning tool, so this was a pure experiment for me.

I picked up this particular wood burning set that came with a bunch of different interchangeable tips as well as a handy dandy storage case.

It also allows you to adjust the heat depending on what type of material you’re burning.

I like having options.

This wood burner can be used on not only wood and cork, but also leather, paper crafts, or other home decor items like fake pumpkins…guess what I’ll be trying out this fall!

How to burn cork using a wood burning tool, accessories, and case.

Step 1: Create the Designs or Stencils

Since I am completely obsessed with my Silhouette Cameo, I put it to good use and cut out the stencils.

You of course don’t need a Silhouette or other cutting machine for this task though (but I highly recommend picking one up because it is my most favorite crafting tool in the history of ever).

A stencil can also be created with a pair of scissors, an Xacto knife, or stickers.

You could even just free-hand the design and draw straight on the cork.

I’m not that brave though.  #cantdrawastraightline

Therefore, I created the designs for my three cork trivets in Silhouette Studio then cut them out of contact paper.

This was my first time ever cutting this medium on my Silhouette, and it worked perfectly, plus it’s way cheaper than using precious vinyl.

Silhouette Cameo cutting contact paper.

Once all three of my stencils were cut, I trimmed them and weeded (or removed) all the excess parts.

DIY Burned IKEA Cork Trivets: Cheap & Easy IKEA Hack!

This particular pattern of contact paper was rather busy and made it somewhat difficult to see my final design, but holding it up to the light made it easier to double check that I had weeded everything that needed to go.

Moral of the story: try and find a plain, solid color contact paper if you can. Your eyes will thank you.

Stencil cut out of contact paper with Silhouette Cameo.

Step 2: Apply the Designs or Stencils to the Cork

Next, it was time to apply all three design stencils to their respective cork trivets.

If you have enviable artistic ability and free-handed your designs straight onto the cork, you can of course skip this step.

I first added some transfer tape over the stencils then used the fail-proof hinge method to apply them.

NOTE: I describe the hinge method in more detail here, here, or here. It’s pretty amazing.

Stencil being applied to IKEA cork trivet using hinge method.

And here’s a stencil once applied to the cork:

Contact paper stencil applied to IKEA cork trivet.

I then grabbed the closest writing utensil I could find which happened to be a pen, but a marker would work too.

All the elements of the design were filled in and then I removed the stencil.

Collage showing filling in contact paper stencil onto IKEA cork trivet prior to using a wood burning tool.

Step 3: Burn the Design

Now it’s time to burn, baby, burn!

You’ll need to select what tip(s) your design calls for, adjust the temperature to the ‘Cork’ setting, then allow the wood burner to warm up.

Thanks to a little bit of serendipity, the dots on my design ended up being the same size as the flow (or round) tip on my wood burner, so I quickly burnt those by just pressing straight down for a couple seconds over each dot.

It’ll sizzle and smoke a wee bit, but it’s not too bad, just something to be aware of.

I then let the wood burner cool down completely, removed the flow tip and replaced it with the calligraphy one (it’s sort of angled with both skinny and wide parts)

Then I burned the rest of my design once the wood burner was preheated again.

I found it was easier to complete all the thick, chunkier sections first, then go back and do all the thin lines.

The cork is obviously softer than wood, so it doesn’t require much pressure to get a nice sear.

NOTE: You could use some pliers and carefully switch out tips if you don’t want to allow for a full cool down.

Just please, be extra careful if your impatience wins.

Nothing kills a good DIY project like a trip to the ER or a visit from the fire department.

How to burn cork and make your own DIY burned IKEA cork trivets using a wood burner!

Adjust the Wood Burner to Vary the Design

You can change up your design by playing around with the wood burner and adjusting the:

  • Tips
  • Temperature
  • Pressure
  • Angle
  • Length of time contacting the cork

It’s quite an amazing little tool.

There’s of course no eraser or undo button (nuts!), but I’ve read that you can fix tiny mistakes when burning wood with just a little sanding.

This could also be a handy tip for any light mistakes that might happen when burning cork, too.

The Completed DIY Burned IKEA Cork Trivets!

And here they are: all three of my DIY burned IKEA cork trivets!

I cannot tell you how easy it was to burn cork with a wood burner, or how much I love these guys.

They just look SO cool, and are still completely practical and functional.

How to burn cork and make your own DIY burned IKEA cork trivets! An easy IKEA hack!

We put them to good use in the kitchen all.the.time.

I’m also quite proud of myself for making all three of them without any mistakes…or third-degree burns. ;)

One of the details that I especially love about these is that the designs are three-dimensional thanks to them being burnt *into* the cork.

How to burn cork and make your own DIY burned IKEA cork trivets! An easy IKEA hack!

Yep, the wood burner provides great texture and character that you just can’t get with paint, vinyl, or a Sharpie.

I think using this technique to personalize cork trivets, coasters, or boards would be such a fun and unique (yet still very practical) gift idea!

Three designs burnt into IKEA cork trivets with a wood burner that say "Yum!", "nom nom nom", and "Let's Eat!".
DIY Burned IKEA Cork Trivets: Cheap & Easy IKEA Hack!
How to burn cork and make your own DIY burned IKEA cork trivets! An easy IKEA hack!
How to burn cork and make your own DIY burned IKEA cork trivets! An easy IKEA hack!
How to burn cork and make your own DIY burned IKEA cork trivets! An easy IKEA hack!
Yield: One Burned Cork Project

How to Burn Cork

DIY Burned IKEA Cork Trivets: Cheap & Easy IKEA Hack! | Where The Smiles Have Been

Learn how to burn cork!

Just use a basic wood burning tool and burn any design into some inexpensive cork trivets, coasters, or boards!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $20


  • Cork trivets, coasters, or board
  • Design (either freehand it or use a stencil)


  • Wood burning tool
  • Pen or marker
  • Optional: Silhouette Cameo or other cutting machine


  1. Determine your design
  2. Apply your design to the cork by either freehanding it directly with a pen, or use a stencil to trace the design
  3. Using a wood burning tool, burn the design into the cork


You can play around with the wood burner and how it burns your design into the cork by adjusting the:

  • Tips
  • Temperature
  • Pressure
  • Angle
  • Length of time contacting the cork

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Share this idea on Pinterest!

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Other IKEA Hacks!

Here are a couple other IKEA hacks I’ve undertaken!

The Super Easy Way to Add Legs to an IKEA Kallax Shelf | Where The Smiles Have Been
Personalized Lazy Susan IKEA Hack! | Where The Smiles Have Been #Ikea

If You Enjoyed This…

Make sure you check out my Project Gallery for all of my other crafty creations, tutorials, and freebies, like these!

Pretty Foaming Soap Dispensers with Etched Glass Vinyl + FREE Silhouette & SVG Cut Files! | #Silhouette #Cricut #soapdispenser #freecutfile
How to Repaint a Porch with Rollable Stone Coating | Where The Smiles Have Been #DIY #homeimprovement #porch #backporch #repaintaporch #howto #video #videotutorial #RollerRock #howtorepaintaporch
How to Add LED Backlighting to Any TV in Five Minutes! | Where The Smiles Have Been #TV #LED #TVbacklighting #home #homedecor #homeimprovement

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed my first IKEA hack! :)

Where The Smiles Have Been | Crafts. DIY. Home. Mom Life.


Sunday 27th of October 2019

Do you put anything on the design area to prevent the charred area from rubbing off?


Sunday 27th of October 2019

Nope! And nothing really comes off since the design is pushed into the cork. It's pretty solid, even all these years later! They look as good as the day I made them, and we use them pretty frequently for hot dishes.


Wednesday 13th of February 2019

I've never heard of the Silhouette. Is the software used on your computer and as user friendly as Publisher?


Thursday 29th of November 2018

Good thing I came across your post! this is helpful! been looking for DIY cork burning technique ;) Thank youuuu!!!!! this would be a great present this coming holiday! :)


Friday 5th of January 2018

Love this idea! Is your template available for purchase?


Thursday 17th of August 2017

I've been toying with the idea of getting into wood burning and you just solidified that decision with this adorable DIY! And IKEA?? That just makes me love them even more! I'd love to know what kind of burner you got and where. Love your blog!

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