Functional household items do not have to be boring. Quite the opposite, actually. You can– and should– turn every day items into pieces of art. Coasters are the perfect example.
What’s the first thing you do when somebody comes into your home? If you’re Southern like me, you offer them a drink. Because nobody wants to stain their surfaces, coasters have a place in every home. So why not make them visually appealing protective barriers that allow your personality and tastes to shine through?
I rounded up a plethora of DIY coaster ideas for you. These DIY coasters are divided into six categories: tile, wood, cork, marble, photo, and other. Most of these are relatively simple and inexpensive.
Regardless of which DIY coasters you choose, be sure to do yourself a favor and hot glue felt circles to the bottom so they will not stick, slide, or otherwise scratch your surfaces.
DIY Tile Coasters
Ceramic Tile Coasters
Venture to your local craft or hardware store to stock up on ceramic tiles as you’ll be using quite a few of them. Mod podge will be your best friend throughout these recipes so make sure to have it on standby as well. Trace wallpaper samples to fit the tile, adhere with mod podge and add another layer on top. Repeat several times.
From: Design Improvised
Colorful Tile Coasters
Similar to the previous recipe, this one differs with its use of scrapbooking paper and clear acrylic glaze. Scrapbooking paper typically offers simple yet colorful designs that are not as intricate as wallpaper patterns. Once the paper is glued, dried, and topped with mod podge, add two coats of acrylic glaze to make the tile waterproof.
From: The Blue Pillow
Fun & Cheerful Tiles
Either wrapping paper or construction paper will work for this design. The more cheerful, the better! Feel free to get festive and create a holiday motif. Be sure to use mod podge before placing the paper and a final coat once it is secured.
Clean the tiles and try thoroughly. Use dishwasher safe paint to create a masterpiece. Freestyle or create a specific design. Let the paint dry overnight to err on the side of caution. No mod podge is necessary for this recipe.
From: 7th House on the Left
Sharpie & Washi Tape
A sparkly gold or silver Sharpie is all you need to achieve mastery with this idea. Consider writing humorous phrases, especially cheeking saying that pertains to adult beverages. Small drawings such as arrows or stars work well also. While the Washi tape is not essential, a few strategically placed strips can elevate the design from simple to artiste.
Don’t be fooled by the watercolor title– there is no painting involved in the making of this coaster. Gather a group of permanent markers in assorted colors and make curlicues and squiggles on your tile. The color choice is your decision, but warm colors and cold colors tend to work best with shades in the same family. I suggest using an eyedropper to put a few drops [don’t go overboard or you’ll be left with a chaotic mess] of rubbing alcohol on the tile to soften and blend the colors. Once dry, use a clear spray and you’re good to go.
From: Pop Sugar
I absolutely love this concept. How delightful it would be to keep a running tally of where you have traveled by placing various state maps on a coaster. Another fun way to incorporate international maps would be to use a specific region of France for your Bordeaux or The Netherlands for your Heineken. Even if you chose to use random maps with no particular meaning, it still looks cultured and may even leave your guests with a geographic knowledge refresher.
From: The Country Chic Cottage
DIY Wood Coasters
Wood Log Coasters
Wood coasters require some additional work, given the rough texture of natural wood. For those willing to put in a little extra effort, the payoff is well worth it. Cut 1-inch slices of wood from a log to create coasters of equal size. It is crucial to use sandpaper to smooth the surface of the wood. Whether you chose to use paper to trace and ultimately paint designs or just paint by hand is entirely up to you. Be sure to use a clear waterproof sealant as the final step.
From: Design Sponge
Wood Bead Coasters
Purchase a few dozen wooden beads of the same size from the craft store. Each bead will have a small hole in it, so use string [colored or clear fishing wire depending on your preference], to connect the beads. String them together to create concentric circles with a bead in the middle. I’m a fan of this chunky, textured look.
Balsa Wood Coasters
Minimalists, rejoice! All it takes is balsa wood and a pair of heavy-duty scissors to create this design. Trace an ‘X’ pattern and cut the wood, which is considerably lighter and softer than the other log-like forms we’ve been working with thus far. Spray paint the coasters black to enhance the modern, minimal look.
If your house is anything like mine, there are dozens of games with missing pieces. Scrabble is one such game. This activity allowed me to use the wooden letters from an incomplete set and hot glue them together. Add a coat of sealant after the glue dries. Bonus points if you can spell multiple words on each coaster.
From: Gourmet Gab
This process seems a little too labor-intensive for me– not to mention I don’t have a compound miter saw [what even is that?!] or a sander– but these coasters looked so rugged, outdoorsy, and cool that I had to include them. Heavy-duty machinery is not my jam, but if you were to enlist the assistance of a friend with a woodshop, this seems well within the realm of possibility.
From: That’s What Che Said
DIY Cork Coasters
Yet another slightly intimidating process, but these look like such breezy, fun summer coasters. Though I can tell by the name precisely what a circle cutter does, that’s not something I have in my toolbox, so I’d try my best to attempt it with scissors. Because the recipe calls for shelf liner, no glue is necessary, just press and go. Yet I found one ingredient very baffling: a self-healing mat. Not only am I unaware of what that is, but I also could not figure out its purpose in the process as it was never again mentioned other than the ingredient list.
From: 86 Lemons
Cork Paint Pen
Simplest. Coaster. Ever.
Select your cork coasters and some paint pens from the craft shop. I used a white paint pen to make polka dots on one coaster, stripes on another, and a henna-like pattern on the third. Keeping with the theme of simplicity, I felt it was best to use only one color and keep the designs clean and neat.
From: Fellow Fellow
If you drink as much wine as I do, you should have no problem accumulating enough corks for this project! Arrange the corks in the pattern of your choosing [I personally like two rows each of two vertical corks next to two horizontal corks] and whip out the hot glue gun. Pro tip: Try to use corks from white wine, so there isn’t a deep red stain.
Custom Painted Corks
I very much appreciate the simplicity of most of these cork coasters. Painting over the texture of the cork makes for an interesting canvas. Whether you choose to paint it a solid color, swirls, stripes, or anything in-between, it’s always fun to unleash your inner Picasso. Consider using a thin brush to paint your initials in the corner so everyone knows who’s responsible for the artwork.
From: Thinking Closet
This design feels dainty and sophisticated as if I’m going to a tea party. Albeit one with coasters instead of saucers, but you get the idea. Bring out the mod podge fo9r this design. Go in your fabric box for some lacy scraps or use doilies to place over the cork. With a sponge brush, paint over the coaster. Remove and let dry for a polished pattern.
From: Mod Podge Rocks
This is such a cute idea! The recipe offers a link to a kiwi pattern to be printed on white card stock and adhered to the cork. Although I’m partial to the kiwi pattern, I could also see fruits like watermelon or grapes working well in this context. I’m sure other patterns could be found, but if you’re not a fan of the kiwi provided, there’s always the option to paint another fruit yourself.
From: Oh Happy Day
DIY Marble Coasters
Marble is so versatile. There is a tremendous variation amongst styles and colors. And it can be cut into any shape. I don’t have much guidance for you on this one except to experiment with the different options and find which one suits you best.
From: Lime and Mortar
Marble Gold Edging
So this isn’t technically marble, but contact paper cleverly disguised to look like marble. Many a life hack can be had with this magical marble contact paper, but for now, we’re going to glue it to a square of balsa wood. Use a gold paint pen to make a small 45-degree angle in the bottom right corner of the coaster for a chic, modern look.
Believe it or not, I actually had one of these on hand from my stint at Camp Ozark in the late ’90’s. I fondly remember being in the arts and crafts cabin, precisely lining up my mini marbled mosaic tiles and the smell of the hot glue gun warming. With adult supervision, this could be a fun activity with the kids, as you can choose whether or not to randomly place your mosaics, follow a color scheme, or make a pattern.
Remember when I talked about the lacy corks giving me a tea party vibe? This offers an actual alternative that reminds me of a China tea set! I recommend following the recipe’s lead and using blue tile paint because it makes me feel like I’m having high tea in England. However, I modified the recipe and used white marble instead of baking clay. I felt the marble more closely resembled a fancy tea saucer.
From: The Lovely Drawer
These look like they belong hanging on a wall in an art gallery. Unlike the previous recipe, we’re actually going to use clay this time. Yes, I’m aware this is being grouped under a marble category. But we’ve already had a few other marble shortcuts, haven’t we? The instructions are quite involved but I think the glorious gallery-worthy art at the end is well worth the time and effort.
DIY Photo Coasters
Pro Tip: Much of the instructions here will be redundant as it’s the material used differs only slightly. Instead of focusing on the how-to, I’m going to explain who these would best be suited for and nostalgia associated with making them.
Contemporary Photo Coasters
I actually gifted one of these to my own father so he could see the smiling faces of his grandkids every morning with his coffee. They’re also on his mouse pad, calendar, and even a T-shirt…but I digress. Using a photo is such a meaningful way to realize personalize a gift. One of my friends plans to get married next spring and I mentioned this to her as a possible favor for her bachelorette party. She told me it was “classier than a coozie” and would definitely be more memorable.
From: Pop Sugar
Vintage Photo Coasters
There is a black and white picture of my grandparents on a sailboat during their honeymoon in the 1930’s. It looks like something out of the glamour days of Old Hollywood and it’s always taken my breath away. I would love to use old family photos such as these to integrate into our daily lives so my own children can know more about relatives they never had the privilege of knowing.
From: Oopsey Daisy Blog
Comics or Art Coasters
My 12-year-old son and his friends obsess over comics. They are one of the few mediums that can actually get them away from their screens, so I encourage frequent comic book consumption. I think using strips from a comic book would be a fantastic touch to a birthday party with a superhero theme.
From: Mod Podge Rocks
Being the bookworm that I am, I absolutely adore the idea of putting pages of text from my favorite books on a coaster. Not only is it a reflection of one of my greatest passions in life, but it’s a great ice-breaker for new guests or a conversation starter for old friends. Explain why the passage and the book is meaningful to you and see where the discussion takes you.
From: An Oregon Cottage
Other DIY Coasters
Pizza Clay Coasters
This idea got me a little too excited. Although the recipe uses pizza, the possibilities are endless– in terms of food or anything else you choose to create. Get a 1lb package of air dry clay, cookie cutters and/or molds, and a rolling pin. After rolling the clay flat, make your design and let it dry overnight for 24 hours. Paint accordingly.
Whoever invented chalkboard paint deserves an award. I’ve always wanted to paint a kitchen wall or a space in the kids’ playroom with this magic stuff. In the meantime, I’ll settle for using it on a coaster. Be sure to include a clear dish on your table with multicolored pieces of chalk so guests can doodle.
From: Hello Lidy
Terra Cotta Coasters
Props for ingenuity for finding a way to recycle the saucers from my terra cotta pots. Obviously these are from the smaller ones and not the 50lb fern container that lives on the back porch. Speaking of which, I envision these being used at an outside barbeque or dinner on the patio. You can paint them or leave them plain– I think there is a certain simplistic charm to the latter.
From: Organize Your Stuff Now
Yet another amazing way to repurpose household items, this one involving juice lids. Get a nautical rope, hemp, or anything with a similar texture from the craft store. Wash the lids and put a blob of hot glue in the center. Applying pressure to the area where the rope meets the glue, wrap the rest of the rope around the lid, and cut off any excess. The nautical rope especially makes me want to have a picnic by the water.
Crocheting is not among my skill set. I’ve always envied anyone who could, yet I don’t see it as an endeavor that would work well for me. For those of you who can crochet, however, these instructions seem simple and straightforward. If you are skilled enough to make these, please do. I certainly would if I could.
From: Crafts Tutsplus
I’m starting to wonder if I need a coffee break because it took me entirely too long to realize that there were English translations under the German instructions. The article suggests getting cheap leather scraps from a local tailor, shoemaker, or even an old item from your closet. Trace various leaf patterns and cut. Seeing these makes me yearn for sweater weather and boot season.
From: Naeh Marie
Bottle Cap Coasters
Ever since my college days, I’ve saved tops from beer bottles. With kids in the home, I’ve also added soda bottle tops to the collection. A friend of mine used his collection to make an incredible coffee table surface, but I’m not sure I have the time or patience for that. Plus I like my coffee table. So this seems like a smaller scale, more feasible version of his idea. Bottle tops + hot glue gun = coaster.
Literally all you need for this recipe is a small glass candle plate and a white paint pen. You can find both at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. The use of the paint pen on the glass makes the design resemble etched glass. I wanted to be sure to include a simple glass recipe for those of you who prefer a different type of material. You could also try something similar with mirror cutouts.
From: Homemade Ginger
Despite the fact that this is one of the most complicated processes out of everything we’ve discussed thus far, I had to include it. This is the sort of piece that looks very high end but also quirky. I’ll attempt to simplify the process: use small objects [extra buttons, tiny seashells, pebbles, etc.] to place in molds. Pour resin slowly into the molds over the objects. Let the resin set for a few hours and your design will pop easily out of the mold.
From: Lil Blue Boo
Felt, scissors, and glue sound like a winning combination to me. You can use felt, fabric, or both. Make patterns or keep it simple. I remember attending a party once where the theme was cards and the host used black and red felt to make hearts, spades, diamonds, and clubs as the coasters. Quick and easy, just the way I like it.
From: How About Orange
Sliced Agate Coasters
I saved the best for last! Well, in my humble opinion at least. Every since I was a little girl I have been beyond obsessed with rocks and gems. You’re talking to a card-carrying member of the local geology society, I kid you not. Some stores sell flat agates, but you can always find them online through Etsy or eBay. I already have a stash on hand from last year’s Rock and Mineral show….but that’s probably just me. To make the look seem extra polished, use a paintbrush to drag gilding paint along the edges. I guarantee these will be in my kitchen within the next few days
From: Making Lemonade Blog
My Own Personal DIY Etched Leaf Tile Coaster
My aunt’s birthday was this month and I wanted to give her something inexpensive but thoughtful, more of an “I’m thinking of you” gift then a “big fancy happy birthday present,” you know?
Here’s what I came up with:
I picked up 6 brown tiles at the Habitat Restore for 10 cents each, then put together a design for them in my Silhouette Cameo. Here’s a screen shot of what I ended up with:
I went with 4 monogrammed tiles and two fall themed tiles (though I only ended up giving her 2 monogrammed ones and then the 2 with the leaves… I really need to work on centering my vinyl better).
I printed up the design on my Silhouette, placed the vinyl on my coasters, and used glass etching cream to etch them. I have this glass etching starter kit, which is super helpful because it comes with a hook and a scraper tool.
Because the ceramic tile is a bit more durable than glass, I let the cream sit for about 3 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Then I was left with this:
It’s really subtle, but they came out very cute. With a little felt hot glued to the bottom they were good to go!
To gift them, I just added a little fall themed ribbon and a tag and called it a day. Easy peasy!
At 10 cents a pop I feel like these could be easily adapted to any holiday… or just buy whatever color tile matches the decor of the home and stick with a monogram.
A final toast to you for having the best coasters on the block. Cheers!
Want to Check Out More Great Projects?
My Silhouette Challenge friends and I are all sharing projects on our blogs today, so peruse the projects below for a wealth of Silhouette inspiration!
3. unOriginal Mom // 5. The Kim Six Fix // 6. One Dog Woof // 8. Living My Given Life // 9. Architecture of a Mom // 10. Put A Bird On It // 11. Just Add Paper // 12. Weekend Craft // 13. Silhouette School // 14. Minted Strawberry// 15. My Paper Craze // 18. Mama Sonshine // 19. Creative Ramblings // 20. From Wine to Whine // 21. Please Excuse My Craftermath… // 22. Dragonfly & Lily Pads // 23. The Thinking Closet // 24. Simply Kelly Designs //