Wood and Cork Coasters for Wedding Reception
Posted by
Lake Ozark, Missouri 
Joined Oct 14, '15 


My niece was married on Saturday. They requested some type of memento or favor for the occasion. We went through some different ideas and they settled on coasters. I know they are the Glowforge version of the summer camp wallet project, but low hanging fruit tastes just as sweet.

I had thought about using chipboard coasters and doing a letterpress print job, but my new rollers for my press didn’t come in yet.

Gave them a selection. I wanted the split initial. Kind of classy and would have more staying power through time, but they wanted to highlight the wedding itself, so that’s great.

I ordered these blanks from Amazon, lauke Unfinished Wood Pieces 50 Pcs 4 Inch Square Blank Wood. I would have liked a rounded corner, but for the price, I couldn’t pass it up. Also wasn’t sure if I could assure the the corner radii matched between cork and wood. Didn’t want to add cutting time to the project. They were unfinished and were all perfect. A few had very small knots in them that didn’t detract, otherwise they were clear. A variation in the shades, but otherwise very good. Just a slight hint of start stop point on one side.

I ordered cork from two different sources. Self Adhesive Cork Squares and Round - Premium 110 Pack Mini Corks 4" x 4" Board Sheets Tiles with 1/8" Thickness from Decopom on Amazon and another batch from Blisstime.

I prepped for 350. The bride said they had sent out 330 invitations. I started engraving away. Watched a lot the Stanley Cup and a few movies and caught up on the forum during the 21 hours of engraving. Kept praying that the Glowforge wouldn’t have any problem. Nothing would indicate that it should, but sometimes when reading the forum, one begins to expect a break down at any minute. Actually no issues.

I did the engrave light enough to not have to do any post processing. There is a little laser soot at the edges of the thicker letters, but that is character and home made. The cork just attached to the bottom with the adhesives. I made a jig to do four at a time. That means I would have to switch them out more frequently but cut down on the length of the periods where I would have to babysit.


When I reached 20 hours and 300 coasters, I called to get the final tally of guests. My sister said 285, so I stopped there. That was good. I think I would have had to pull an all nighter to get that last fifty done.

Since they were unfinished, I got some triple thick polyurethane varnish and a good quality four inch brush. A little problem with crumbs from the cork getting transferred to the varnish, but not too bad. I really appreciate now more than ever the pre-finished Proofgrade. I doubt if I’d ever be able to finish wood as nice. I know spraying is more efficient and gives a better result, but I don’t have that setup. Took about three hours for that, just one coat.


Only a couple hours for drying, so I boxed them up in some PLA boxes that were perfect for holding fifty coasters.


I had some fun with my sister and the rest of the family on the Thursday night before the wedding. I made a special, one off coaster and put out into the family group text that I had finished the coasters.


This one was freshly varnished so the brush lines are still up. Note that the date says 6/23/2019. That would be Sunday. The wedding was Saturday. My sister called about five seconds later. I didn’t leave her hanging too long. My niece was a bit ruffled though too. I hadn’t worried about her because I had already texted her pix of the coasters with the right date. A little bit of panic and fun. I’m sure they will take revenge on me some time.


Here are the place settings.


Here is with a full plate of food!

When I saw the square plates with the coasters, I really was glad I got the square instead of round. So everyone got a souvenir from the wedding. I’ll make some coaster caddies from my sister and for the couple for the leftovers and the extras that got left behind.

It was a fun project. The whole weekend was great. I had coverage in my own parish so I got the weekend free to have fun with the family. And there were lots of toasts to the Glowforge because my family has to take a drink every time I mention the name!

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