For anyone who has had to struggle to carry hot drinks like tea or coffee will appreciate this super cool drink carrier. They not only look and work great, but they also save us having to recycle paper carriers that take up tons of room before they find their way to the recycle bin ... but there is a warning ... 

Watch it on Youtube:

Nearly every time I take my drink carrier to pick up coffees, I am asked "how much do they cost?" "where I get one?",  "Are you taking orders?", "can you make one for me?" ... these drink carriers are super popular items ... 

At this point in time, all of the take-away coffee places will NOT refill a cup you bring in to them, and often I don't have a refill mug with me. I don't feel guilty about using disposable cups because they are all recyclable and, in many jurisdictions in my area there is a "bounty" on disposable cups of 25 cents, so not only do you rarely ever see any being thrown out, I see people going through public trash bins looking for them, something like the deposits we all pay on drink containers, only now many places have extended it to disposable cups too.

I know that many places will already give you drink carriers of recycled paper, but there is something special about having your own carrier ... especially when it draws so much attention. 

Coffee Carrier Woodworking Project
You will need some things to start off with and the first thing is wood blanks to work with. My 2 cup carrier design is 8 inches wide by 9 inches long. This makes it easy to carry and not so large that you can't find a convenient place to store it.  The more stunning the wood you start with, the more eye appeal you will get with your carrier. 

The stock thickness I found best was 5/8" thick

Spalted wood

The pattern is pretty simple.

The diameter of the holes for the drinks is 2-3/4 inches
The center point of the holes is 2 inches from either side, which makes 4 inches between the holes
The Snack Pocket is approximately 5 inches wide by 3 inches long
The placement of the top line of the Snack Pocket is 5 inches from the top of the pattern 
The pocket depth should be a minimum of 1/4 inch and a maximum of 3/8 inch

Woodworking Template
For cutting the Snack Pocket you will need a "Dish Bit" with a top bearing. The one I used is a Freud #19-506 which comes with a 1/4" shank. If you do not have one of these you can check them out on the woodworkweb Amazon store HERE (or click the image below)  

round pocket router bit

You will also need a template to cut the Snack Pocket and the easiest way I found was to simply cut some 3/4" MDF strips at  1-1/2" wide, and while you are at it you might as well cut some 1/4" or better like 3/8" plywood strips in the same width.

With the MDF, cut 2 of the pieces to a length of 8" (to match the width of your drink carrier) plus cut 2 more at 3" long.
You will next need to cut your plywood 2 pieces 6" long and 2 pieces 4-7/8" long.

Fasten these all together by using glue and air nail if you have one, otherwise finishing nails will work fine too. So you will end up with something that looks like the template below.

After cutting the holes with your drill press or another tool, next, you will need to cut the snack pocket. The bearing on the top of the router bit will need to ride along the inside of your MDF template, which means you will need to pre-set the depth setting. (another good reason to use larger handheld router rather than a trim router)
Set your depth Turret and the plunger to the depth you want, I suggest making your pocket cut using a 2 depth setting. This way you cut a shallow pocket, then reset the depth slightly deeper and make the final cut. 

Wood router depth setting

Below is the first drink carrier I made using my original pocket template, which I later re-made using the MDF strips. 

Below is are the original carrier and the one I made in the video 

Drink Carrier Woodworking Project
Here are a couple more options for carriers which include some modifications in wood. Sadly the highly figured maple does not show properly in the video or in these pictures. In both cases, I used walnut to make my wood slightly wider. There is no end to the creativity that someone could do to make these drink carries more attractive. I also thought Zebra wood would be an excellent alternative for a wood if you cannot secure spalted wood.

coffee cup carrier

It will be interesting to see what others come up with for designs and wood in their builds .. I look forward to seeing some new ideas and creations.

Copyright Colin Knecht