DIY: Coasters

Updated: Apr 12, 2015 17:47
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Much like bookmarks and ashtrays, coasters are the kind of crafts you make when you’ve screwed up your intended craft project, are six years old, or are a newbie crafter just testing the waters. Coasters are just that kind of craft because they’re easy to make out of anything and something that everyone can use.

That being said, Google has over 2 million results for “DIY Coasters” and quite a few of them are…not pretty. Fortunately for you, I am a dedicated DIYer and waded through the slew to find several genuinely appealing and creative examples. To start with, you’re going to have to pick a base material, then choose an image or design and you’re off to the races. Most coaster crafts will only require simple supplies like spray adhesive, Mod Podge and scissors, and only a few steps.

Now, most coasters are made from tile – usually ceramic, sometimes marble – and an image. You can find your image almost anywhere: blueprints, maps, wrapping paper, old cookbooks, just try to stay away from anything printed on an ink jet as those tend to get smeary. For a basic coaster, all you’ll need to do is cut your image to size, brush some Mod Podge onto the tile, center your image and press it flat. Seal with an additional light brushing of Mod Podge, then use rubber cement to glue felt to the bottom of the tile. If you’ve got a porous material like marble, you can even use a stamp to make an image. If you’re working with regular tile, you also have the option to paint it over with chalkboard paint to endlessly customize your coasters.

Pretty basic instructions, but it produces diverse results ranging from maps and paint samples, to ticket stubs, bar napkins, scrapbooking paper, magazine pages, online templates, or comic books. Pretty much anything made of paper will do the trick. Even photographs, which are a nice way to personalize them. And don’t be afraid to improvise with whatever is handy; if you don’t have any tile, perhaps you’ve got an unused round lid that can be easily upcycled? Or, maybe you’ve got some cork.

We’ve already talked about how useful cork can be, and it works particularly well in coasters as it relieves you of having to add felt backing. Most of the images that can be added to tile, can just as easily be added to cork. Plus, cork can be painted with decorative patterns or simply numbered. If you’re concerned about warping your images, just seal them with laminate sheets or packing tape before you adhere them to the base. Alternatively, if you’re working with tile, you can seal the coasters with resin (that’s going to require materials, time and strict adherence to instructions).

If you’re a fan of felt, you’re also in luck. Just grab some fabric glue and scissors and you can whip up neat citrus circles, cork and felt combos, and mod square-shaped coasters with just a few snips and some squirts of glue. There are some inspired felt creations out there, as well as some really simple crocheted versions if you’re into yarn. If you’re not, then you can still weave together a coaster from strips of paper which can be sealed with acrylic sealer. And if none of that is working for ya, just lay some lace down and spray paint right on over it.


Images courtesy,,,, and

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Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

A freelance writer, blogger and poet based in San Francisco, Amber has written for PC World, InfoWorld, and the 16th & Mission Review. She has performed at City Hall, Litquake, the Brainwash, 16th & Mission, BlueSix, and SFSU among other places. Amber is also consummate fan of swearing, organizational freak, yoga practitioner, music geek, caffeine addict, and tattoo enthusiast who enjoys platform shoes, making out, thumb wrestling and fighting the good fight. She owns a bicycle named Gretel, a motor scooter named Elroy and a cat named Simon. She can be found in various virtual locations all over your interwebs.