Thanks to friends and family, I finally had enough corks for this project. Turns out you need to use real cork corks because the plastic-y ones will melt (yikes!) if you put a hot pot on them. Melting things, like the counter top, is exactly what I’m trying to avoid so that wouldn’t be good. I saw this project on Pinterest, but the link and subsequent searching didn’t have step by step photos, so I’m not certain I followed the suggested steps correctly, but it seems to work well enough. Besides, it only took about half an hour.
***Addendum: It took me extra time because I didn’t organize before. To save yourself the trouble, start step 0 by fitting the corks into the frame without glue first.***
Step 1: gather materials: a hot glue gun, a frame (I went with a cheap one from Wal-Mart), corks, glue sticks, cutting board, knife and some toothpicks. After I took this photo, I realized all the corks weren’t the same exact size so I was going to need to be creative and for sure cut a few, so I soaked some in hot water for easier cutting. (Note: This step is unnecessary if you have an electric knife as I discovered shortly after soaking the corks. If you have an electric knife, skip to step 4.)
But since real cork floats (yay! These were real cork!) I needed to weigh the corks down so they could absorb the water better.
Step 3: get out the fantastic electric knife J got me for Christmas. (Thanks again!). Turns out, I didn’t need to soak the corks because an electric knife cuts them just fine dry without crumbling! Yet another reason I am in LOVE with this knife.
Step 4: We didn’t have any of the recommended plywood (seriously, who does?), so I went with the next best option and cut a cork into four pieces so that wood frame wouldn’t be touching the counter top and would allow some airflow under the finished trivet. Just hot glue the pieces to the back, flip it over and make sure it’s level and move on to step 5.
Fair warning, step 5 is the longest step. This took at least 25 minutes. Mostly because I didn’t organize before I started. Step 5 is to fit all of the corks into the frame making sure they are above the wood. Some crafty Pinterst people suggest cutting the corks in half, but I decided that was too time consuming and might make the corks not be tall enough. If you get hot glue on yourself or on the top of the corks, just use a toothpick to wipe it off while the glue is still warm. I learned the hard way if you wait for the glue to dry, some of the cork will come off with the hot glue.
Step 5.5: You might discover that some of the corks no matter what you try are just too short for the frame. In that case, cut a cork into a few pieces. Use the pieces to fill the gap.
Now keep adding the corks until they fill the entire frame.
When the corks fill the entire frame, you’re ready to move on to step 6!
Step 6: Make sure a heavy pot is level.