Upcycle Tree Branches and Make Cool Coasters

How to make environmentally creative natural wood coasters.

Miriam Diaz-Gilbert
4 min readMar 8, 2021


There is Beauty in a Dead Tree

Last summer my husband chopped down a dead tree in our backyard. Dead trees rot. During rain, wind, and snow storms they break and can be dangerous. Sometimes they cause property damage. Two summers ago, a heavy rain storm with whipping winds knocked down a huge branch. It went right through the back windshield of my car parked on our driveway.

As my husband was sawing the branches from the dead tree for winter fireplace firewood and kindling for our fire pit, I realized that many of the branches were long and thick enough in diameter to make coasters. I thought of my son and his wife. They had recently purchased a new home. The coasters would make a cool and practical house warming gift.

I want to share with you how we made the coasters. There is beauty in a dead tree. Upcycling describes what we did with one dead tree branch.

Upcycling, a term coined by Reiner Pilz, and also known as creative reuse,

is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products, perceived to be of greater quality, such as artistic value or environmental value.

Photo by Miriam Diaz-Gilbert

Instructions and Equipment

The coasters were easy and fun to make. To chop down a dead tree and saw off its branches, you will need a ladder, a chainsaw, goggles, and work gloves. For safety reasons, it’s a good idea to have someone with you.

Or you might not need a ladder. You might find a good size tree branch you can pick up from the ground. Find a nice, long, and thick branch three to four inches in diameter. Then, saw the branch into half-inch slices. You can use a handsaw, but a chainsaw will be quicker. However, do not attempt a chainsaw if you lack good balance and a steady hand.

You will have many slices to choose from. Select the best ones and begin sanding each. You’ll need an…



Miriam Diaz-Gilbert

My debut memoir Come What May, I Want to Run: A Memoir of the Saving Grace of Ultrarunning in Overwhelming Times is published. Website: miriamdiazgilbert.com