Tools and materials

  • Hand saw
  • White pencil
  • Electric (hand-held) drill with 50mm Forstner drill bit. Ideally, use a pillar drill if you have one in your workshop
  • Coloured tape
  • Sandpaper (#150)


Cut branches, approximately 6cm wide; these must be completely dry before using. We’ve used olive wood, but you could also use oak, elm, or similar wood.

We keep the bark on these small rustic egg cups to bring a natural and personal touch to our breakfast table. They were inspired by the hand-carved salt cellars that Andrea created for our wedding while he was trimming the olive trees on his family property in preparation for the special day. The dry branches ended up as salt cellars on the 22 wedding tables we set up in the olive grove. If you want your egg cups to live a long life, you should place the cut branches on a grate and let them dry slowly (not in the sun) for a minimum of six months. The wood will set itself and will be much easier to work with. We like to keep the branches kind of round, so we just clean them along their shape, so the line around the edge becomes roughly even and straight.

Step 1

Choose a straight branch, as this makes it easier to drill a clean hole. Perhaps consider whether you’d like a smaller ‘arm’ sticking out of your egg cup. Using the saw, cut off the nicest part of the branch — approximately 4cm–5cm in length. Each cup doesn’t need to be exactly the same height. Look at the wood and go with your sense.

Step 2

Use the pencil to mark the centre of one end of the branch. Place the point of the drill bit over the pencil mark and drill about 1.5cm down into your egg cup to create a hole. You can add a 1.5cm piece of coloured tape to your drill bit to indicate how deep you should drill.

Step 3

Use the sandpaper to ‘clean’ and polish the rough edges, making sure the base is smooth and flat so that the cups sit well on a table. The bark around the egg cups will eventually dry out and start to fall off, but we think they are just as pretty without — or you can always go
in search of more branches and make
another set if you love the bark.

This is an edited extract from  (Jacqui Small, $39.99) by Samina Langholz and Andrea Brugi.