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!
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:
BURN THE DESIGN!
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:
- 3-pack of IKEA HEAT 7″ cork trivets
- Wood burner with interchangeable tips and adjustable heat
- Contact paper stencil
- You could also use paper or stickers to create a stencil, or just freehand the design
- Silhouette Cameo
- You could also just use scissors or an Xacto knife
- Pen or marker
The IKEA Cork Trivets
Here are the inexpensive cork trivets we snagged at IKEA:
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!
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.
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.
Once all three of my stencils were cut, I trimmed them and weeded (or removed) all the excess parts.
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.
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.
And here’s a stencil once applied to the cork:
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.
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.
Adjust the Wood Burner to Vary the Design
You can change up your design by playing around with the wood burner and adjusting the:
- 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.
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.
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!
- 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
- Determine your design
- Apply your design to the cork by either freehanding it directly with a pen, or use a stencil to trace the design
- 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:
- Length of time contacting the cork
Other IKEA Hacks!
Here are a couple other IKEA hacks I’ve undertaken!
If You Enjoyed This…
Make sure you check out my Project Gallery for all of my other crafty creations, tutorials, and freebies, like these!
Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed my first IKEA hack! :)