Cupcake Inlay Template

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Purchase the Cupcake Inlay Template
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$15
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$25
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Cupcake Templates
What's Included in the Kit
  For $15 you'll receive the Cupcake inlay template that can be used to add a cupcake to your project or be placed in the center of a coaster. When building a coaster the Cupcake template is used with the Crafters kit. If you already have a Crafters kit great! If not it can be purchased for $25.

How to Build the Cupcake Coaster

Select and Prepare the Inlay Materials

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  To build the Cupcake Coaster you're going to need three different spices of wood. For the video build we chose a figured Walnut as the base material, curly Maple for the frosting, and Canary wood as the cupcake. For the pictures included in the instructions we used Redheart for the base material, Goncalo Alves as the cupcake, and curly Maple for the frosting.

  The base material, or the coaster itself, should be at least 5" X 5" by 1/4" to 3/8" thick. For the cupcake inlay you'll need a piece of wood that's at least 3" X 3" X 1/8" thick. For the frosting the minimum dimensions are 4" X 3" X 1/8" thick.

  To prepare the inlay materials all you really need to do is apply double sided tape to the back of the inlay material and affix it to a sacrificial or backing board such as MDF. Click here to review how to Prepare Inlay Materials.

Create the Alignment Marks

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  To create the alignment marks place the Crafters template, using the Coaster cutout, over the base material where you want your coaster to be cut from. Take a pencil and trace out the shape of the coaster and notch where the alignment marks will go. Using the edge of the template, extend the alignment marks so you have a big plus symbol on the base material.

  Align the L1 shape, from the Cupcake template, over the coaster using the alignment marks to center the template. Trace out the shape of the cupcake and the template. This drawing will assist you with applying the double sided tape.

  After the shapes are drawn apply double sided tape around the cupcake shape but not in the void area or outside the shape of the template. Peel the backing off the tape, align, and firmly press the template into place.

  For the inlay materials use the Cupcake template to trace out the shapes on the respective inlay material. i.e. use L2 to trace out the frosting pattern on the curly Maple. When tracing the inlay shapes you don't have to worry about alignment marks. You do, however, want to pay attention to the grain patterns where the shapes will be cut. Find an area, with a grain direction, that is pleasing to you and trace the shapes.

  After tracing out all the shapes you should have something like this:

Cupcake shapes and alignment marks drawn on the inlay material

Cut the L1 Void

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  Set up your router to route out the L1 shape void in the base material. Place the Bushing On the router and adjust the depth of plunge. You want to cut a void that is almost as deep as the inlay material is thick but not so deep that you cut all the way through the base material.

  I recommend always routing voids using two passes. The first pass removes the majority of the material while the second pass is used to ensure the void has sharp edges for the inlay to fit into. Click here to review how to Cut Voids.

  After the void has been routed use a paint scraper to gently pry the template off the inlay material. Use a little care as the templates are somewhat pliable but will snap if bent to far.

  After routing the L1 void in your base material it should look something like this:

L1 void routed out in the base material

Cut the L1 Inlay

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  Select the area where you want to cut the L1 inlay from. Trace the shape and template outline on the inlay material, apply double sided tape, and firmly press the template into place.

  Clamp the entire assembly to the workbench so nothing but the router moves during the cutting process.

  To set up the router to cut out the L1 inlay take the Bushing Off and adjust the depth of plunge to cut all the way through the inlay material. Click here review how to Cut Inlays.

  After the inlay has been cut use a paint scraper to remove the template. Then use the paint scraper to pry the inlay material away from the backing board. Once again use care as this is a pretty small piece of wood making it fragile. I recommend working the paint scraper in the same direction as the woods grain pattern. If you pry against the grain pattern you could snap the inlay in half forcing you to cut out another piece.

  After routing out the L1 inlay it should look something like this:

L1 inlay cut out

Assemble the L1 Inlay

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  Once the L1 inlay is removed from the backing material do a quick check to see how well it fits into the void.

  Don't be surprised if the inlay is to tight and needs sanding. Quite often there will be some routing debris on the bottom of the inlay along with some of the tapes adhesive that needs to be removed to ensure a proper fit.

  If you do need to sand it never hurts to put a slight bevel on the bottom edge of the inlay. This will help you fit the inlay into the void without effecting the appearance of the inlay. DO NOT sand on the top of the inlay though as that will effect the visual appearance of your inlay! When fitting the inlay into it's void DO NOT press it to far into place or else it will be a bear to get back out!!!

  After the inlay has been fitted smear some glue in the void and on the inlay piece itself. Place the inlay into it's void and I like to use a soft mallet to tap in into place until it's fully seated.

  If needed, click here review how to Assemble the Inlay.

  After assembling the L1 inlay it should look something like this:

L1 inlay assembled

Cut the L2 Void

  Using the same procedures used to cut the L1 void, configure the router to cut the L2 void into the base material. Place the Bushing On the router and adjust the depth of plunge.

  Using the alignment marks position the L2 shape over the base material and trace the outline of the shape and template to assist you with placing the double sided tape. Apply the tape, align the template, and firmly press it into place. Secure the entire assembly to the workbench and route the void using two passes, just like before.

  After the void has been routed, use the paint scraper to pry the template off the base material. Your project should look something like this:

L2 void routed out in the base material

Cut the L2 Inlay

  Using the same procedures used to cut the L1 inlay, configure the router to cut the L2 inlay. Take the Bushing Off the router and adjust the depth of plunge to cut all the way through the inlay material.

  If the shape hasn't already been traced out, position the L2 shape over the inlay material and trace the outline of the shape and template to assist you with placing the double sided tape. Apply the tape, align the template, and firmly press it into place. Secure the entire assembly to the workbench and route the inlay, just like before.

  After the inlay has been routed, use the paint scraper to remove the template and gently pry the inlay away from the backing material. After cutting the L2 inlay it should look something like this:

L2 inlay cut out

Assemble the L2 Inlay

  Once the L2 inlay is removed from the backing material do a quick check to see how well it fits into the void. If needed sand the inlay to get a proper fit.

  After the inlay has been fitted smear some glue in the void and on the inlay piece itself. Place the inlay into it's void and tap in into place until fully seated.

  After assembling the L2 inlay it should look something like this:

L2 inlay assembled

Cut Out the Coaster as an Inlay

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  Configure the router to cut the coaster out as an inlay. Take the Bushing Off and adjust the depth of plunge to cut all the way through the base material.

  Using the Crafters template, position the Coaster shape over the base material and trace the outline of the template to assist you with placing the double sided tape. Apply the tape, align the template, and firmly press it into place. Secure the entire assembly to the workbench.

  Because the coaster material is at least 1/4" thick we recommend cutting out the coaster using multiple passes. For the first pass don't plunge the router to it's fullest depth, instead just plunge it about half way through the material being cut.

  Make one complete pass around the shape, turn off the router, un-plunge it, and set it aside. Using a shop vac remove the debris from the cutting process. Then make another pass this time plunging the router to it's fullest depth.

  After the inlay has been routed, use the paint scraper to remove the template but leave the coaster attached to the backing material. Take an RO sander, using 220 grit sandpaper, and sand the inlay until it's flat. It's easier to do this initial sanding while the coaster is still held in place with the double sided tape.

  If there are some gaps in your inlay, and usually there are a few small gaps, smear a little glue into them, wipe off the excess glue, and then use the RO sander to do some light sanding. The sanding action will mix sawdust with the glue blurring the gaps making them disappear.

  After you're happy with the sanding use a paint scraper to remove the coaster from the backing material. With the coaster free you can now sand the edges and the back side of the coaster. Your goal, when sanding, is to remove all the tool marks left behind by the cutting process. I also recommend softening the edges of the coasters by lightly sanding them. I prefer to do this by hand using 220 or finer grit sandpaper.

  When the sanding is complete apply the finish of your choice. Personally I like to hand wipe in a coat of Tung Oil, let it dry for 8 hours or so then apply another coat, let it dry again and then apply a third coat. After the oil has completely dried, a couple of days is best, apply a polyurethane coating with UV protection to the coaster. The poly will help protect your coaster from marking and the UV coating will help the inlay materials maintain their original color over time.

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