The harvesting of cork
Before you embark on your wine cork hot plate, let’s learn a bit about cork. Cork is a harvested products coming from an oak tree. I like the concept of working and up-cycling a product derived from a tree, but not so much guilt comes from working with the cork product. Though it comes from an oak tree, the tree does not get cut down for cork harvesting. In fact, the tree must be well over 25 years, and can only be harvested roughly every 8-10 years. The process does no harm to the tree, and the tree is kept in tact, thus re-growing the thick bark. An amazing invention from man, made from nature indeed. Which is why, making your own wine cork hot plate purely makes sense.
Some cork facts
Taking the concept of up-cycling, cork is not a new one. Yet so much can be done with the discarded cork. In fact, the corks origination for sealing wine bottles is only about 250 years old. I think a great discovery indeed. It all boiled down to a scientific process. I’ve read that the wine cork allows something like a milligram of oxygen a year into the otherwise perfectly sealed bottle of wine. This aids in the fermentation process of wine. I’ve heard a lot of debate over the topic of whether to cork or not to cork. Well, it’s not my dilemma. Though a fascinating topic, using equally fascinating material, I’m going to keep this topic light.
Traditions passed down
Well over 15 years ago, my lovely Uncle Paul presented me with a cork-hot plate present. I loved it. So much so, that I requested a bird house from him. It also hangs in my garden and has been host to several generations of wasps. Uncle Paul’s lovely cork gifts have been so cherished in my house, that they made it into the packing boxes upon our move to Switzerland. Sadly, my Uncle has now passed away, but his memory lives on every time I use the gift he made me.
We’ve been collecting our wine and champagne corks now since a few years. I noticed that finally, our collector box was full and something had to be made here. My hubby decided to re-craft Uncle Paul’s idea. Your wood working skills can even be that of a novice. All this projects takes is a bit of wood, corks, glue and a good idea. Not to mention, these little cork products make a perfect unique hostess gift, or any other gift to give for that matter.
So, don’t be a cork dork. Recycle your corks, as it’s a shame to throw them away. Plus with so many ideas flooding the internet on how to use your extra corks, the sky is the limit. Enjoy this little step by step instruction post including a drawing of the design.
Note: This project is based in cm and mm. If not otherwise noted, measurements are in cm. Of course, you can adjust the size of your coaster to really any size. My suggestion is to layout the corks first and measure width and length. The 1/4 round piece should be a bit smaller then the cork diameter. I used standard wood glue to secure the wood.
Step by step Do it yourself (DIY) instructions
Hotplate, coaster or trivet
- Lay out the corks to the size of hot plate you like, start with about 50 pieces. Choose a pattern you like
- Measure the size (width and height) because it will most likely not be square
- Cut the frame pieces with a clean 45 degree miter cut
- Glue the frame first
- I used a fast setting wood glue, sets in about 10min
- do it on a flat surface, like a table but put some paper underneath it
- Measure the frame, width and height and cut the base plate
- Now glue the frame on top of the base
- if the base has a bow in it, make sure the bow is on top in the middle
- Let it set for 30min and put heavy books on top to ensure it dries flat
- Mark the 4 holes for the stand
- Drill the 4 holes and add a wood screw and screw on the campaign cork to the base
- Add just a bit of glue on the campaign cork
- We are ready to assemble all wine corks
- decide what should be readable and add glue and put in place
- Put a piece of paper on the corks and then add a few heavy books on top to keep the corks in place
- Let it dry overnight