Dyed Basswood Coasters

By  Melony Miller Bradley 

Hand dye thin basswood strips and arrange them in colorful patterns on cork foam board. The foam board is sturdy, but lightweight, and the cork creates a great, nonabrasive base.

  • Dyed Basswood Coasters


  • Elmer’s Cork Foam Board
  • Basswood strips, 1/2”-wide


  • Rit Liquid Dye: Apple Green, Purple, Lemon Yellow, Sunshine Orange, Cocoa Brown, Aquamarine
  • Adhesives: Beacon Adhesives Premium Tacky Glue, DecoArt Triple Thick Gloss Glaze

Basic Supplies

  • sandpaper, rubber gloves, ruler, pencil, paper towels, stirring spoon, measuring cup, measuring spoon, plastic containers or bowls, craft knife, old pair of scissors, newspaper (to cover work surface)
  • Size
  • 1. Size is 4"x4".
  • Coasters
  • 1. Use ruler and pencil to draw 4" square on foam side of cork foam board. Use craft knife to cut out, using several passes to score and then cut through cork foam board.
  • 2. Use ruler and pencil to mark 15-20 lengths measuring 1/4"-4" on basswood strips. Use old pair of scissors to cut strips. Sand cut edges as needed.
  • 3. On covered work surface, separate basswood strips into six piles. Wearing rubber gloves, prepare six dye baths by mixing 1 Tbsp. of dye with 1 cup hot water in each plastic container. Stir mixtures until dyes have dissolved. Place piles of basswood strips into each dye bath. Let set for a few minutes; remove strips and let dry on paper towels.
  • 4. When dry, arrange dyed strips on foam side of cut square from Step 1. Arrange strips vertically and horizontally. When satisfied with arrangement, apply tacky glue onto back of strips. Press strips onto foam side of square; let set. If desired, layer strips along edges to create raised border. Let dry.
  • 5. Spray coaster with several coats of gloss glaze to seal. Let dry. Repeat process to create additional coasters.
  • Tip
  • 1. For lighter, pastel colors, mix 1-1/2 cups of hot water with 1 Tbsp. of dye.