Thursday, February 21, 2013

Coffee cup lid

Hi Everyone,

If you're like me and you generate a lot of small scrap lumber, you're probably always wondering what to do with it all. One thing that you can make and that is useful are coffee cup lids. These are small, circles of wood that have a small knob on top that you can put on top of hot cups of coffee and they will help to get your coffee warm for a lot longer than just living the top of the cup uncovered. In this blog posting I'm going to describe how to make them.

I work with local hardwoods which means I often have a lot of oak, hickory, maple, and birch scrap in the shop and these pieces are perfect for small things like the coffee cup lid in the center of the photograph. This particular lid is made from hickory:

To begin with you'll need a piece of wood at least 3 1/2" wide. Mark off a square and then find the center by connecting the opposite corners with a straight line. Then mark off a circle with a compass. In the photo the wood is about 4" wide and the circle is approximately 3 1/2" in diameter:

This first blank is hickory:

This blank is maple. Maple is my favorite turning wood. It cuts cleanly and smoothly:

The next step is to drill a hold in the center of the circle on the drill press with a Forstner bit (see my discussion about this on my previous posting about the black walnut vase). Be sure and clamp the wood down with a clamp before drilling:

After you've drilled the hole, roughly cut out the circles. You don't have to cut these exactly into circles but you do have to cut off the corners:

 In this photo I've mounted the blank on the lathe and have begun truing up the edge. I've begun cutting from the face of the blank towards the center of the edge. This is a much easier way of truing up the blank without damaging the surface of the wood:

Next I've trued up the face and made it flat. Even though it looks flat in the photograph, it's not:

 Now I've roughed out the knob in the center. I like to cut a depression underneath and just off to the side of the knob so my fingers will fit around and under the knob:

This photo shows the blank from the side. Notice that the surface of the blank has been cut away and the knob now stands up and away from the surface. I've also cut into the sides of the knob so my fingers will fit under it:

Here is the top of the blank. I've added a little detail to it and I've also sculpted the knob a little:

Next, I'm going to cut a lip on the underside of the blank. This will help the top to stay on the coffee cup (see photo below):

This is the finished top on the lathe with a little bit of linseed oil on it:

And here it is on the cup. Notice that it fits into the cup:

Here is the underside of the lid showing the lip. This lip is 3 1/4" in diameter and should fit most American coffee mugs:

As it's getting cold and I'm beginning to freeze up again, I'm going to defer making the hickory lid until tomorrow. I'll follow the same set of steps that I've shown here. I'm going to make that lid a little smaller in case my cousin has smaller coffee mugs than I do.

You can make this lid any diameter you wish. Just be sure and measure and calculate the average inside diameter of your coffee cups before you begin. If you have cups that are larger than that, then you have a great excuse to go back out to your wood shop and make another one!

Have fun,


  1. Hi Saaara,
    Thanks for reading the blog and thanks for your comment.