‘Tis the season of holiday gatherings with friends, family and coworkers. I always like to take a little something to thank the host for inviting me into their home for festivities, and chocolates seem to be a traditional and crowd pleasing gift. Increasingly though, I’ve noticed that invitations specifically ask guests not to bring the hosts sweets. And I get that. For those of us trying to cut back on sugar or maintain a healthy diet, having truffles and fudge and cookies within reach all December long is the worst kind of torture! So out of consideration for my sweets-averse friends and family, I’ve been bringing bundles of these painted cork coasters to holiday gatherings instead. I made a bunch of them early in the month and have simply tied a handful together with twine as needed. Throw in a bottle of wine or a nice aperitif, and you’ve got a lovely hostess gift! They’d make a great stocking stuffer, too.
You can make the coasters any shape you like, pick any color scheme and get creative with patterns. But before you get started there are a few rules to bear in mind that will make your finished coasters look like something from a holiday market rather than a kids craft table (like my first couple, whoops!). First, skip the cork that comes in a big roll from the craft store. It’s nearly impossible to get it to lie flat, which sort of interferes with the functionality of a coaster. I used pre-cut cork tiles instead and they work like a charm. If you have sharp scissors and a careful cutting hand, circle shapes are possible to achieve but if you lack either of the above, try sticking to angular shapes like hexagons. They’re easier to cut out cleanly. Lastly, make sure to paint at least three coats. Since cork is porous and bumpy, it takes a good amount of paint before your designs really stand out.
Keep these guidelines in mind, and you’ll have a bunch of unique coasters on your hands in no time. If there’s one thing a hostess hates, it’s running around protecting her furniture from water rings the whole party. Come armed with coasters and there’s one less thing for her to worry about! As always, I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Tag me with #craftsandacat so I can see your lovely coasters!
- cork board
- acrylic paint
- masking tape (optional)
- Find your largest mug and trace the bottom onto the cork board for round coasters. For other shapes, I recommend printing shapes on the heaviest paper you have, then using them as stencils. Cut out.
- Paint your first layer. I did a combination of "lines and blobs" coasters, and a handful of more deliberate geometric ones using masking tape for perfect lines. Watch the video at the top of the post to see how to use the tape if you're unsure.
- Allow pint to dry completely before applying the next coat.
- Continue applying coats until the design stands out and the color is opaque.
Lighter paint colors and metallics will require more coats of paint. The salmon color took three coats, and the metallic copper took four coats.