Sunday, June 10, 2012

Here, Put This Under Your Glass

I wish wish wish I could remember the website where I first saw this idea: the name is almost on the tip of my tongue and I'll know it when I hear it so if this is yours, let me know and I'll give you all the credit. This is such a great little craft and I've done this several times for Craft Night with my patients at work. It's always a hit, mainly because the materials used are so unexpected. Plus, it's glorious how inexpensive these are to make.

We've had this old pair of coasters for a few years now and they were holding up pretty well. Until, that is, someone took a fancy to them. I'm not naming any names ...

... but apparently someone who is otherwise fairly clumsy can manage to get up on the table in order to help herself to something to chew on. So if the scratch marks all over the table top fit the foot .....

Huh? What?

Anyway, you'll need:

  • 4-inch terra cotta trays. We usually make a set of four during Craft Night but however many you need. Usually way under a dollar each.
  • Scrapbook paper, or even magazine pictures, old cards, etc. You could even use photographs (but don't use the originals for Pete's sake).
  • Gesso (optional, maybe)
  • Paint- I use plain old acrylic craft paint.
  • Felt
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush
  • Polycrylic- more on that when we get to that step.

Yup, that's right, the saucers meant to catch the water from your clay pots. As coasters. Genius! Wish I had thought of it.

OK- the first thing you want to do is paint the saucers with gesso. This is possibly an optional step but sometimes the saucers will soak up tons of paint. If you want more of a "stained" look, like when you see wood grain, it might work OK for you not to use the gesso. I've made these without painting teh saucers at all and they can be nice (you do still want to seal them) but the gesso will make the paint color more opaque. Paint one side first, let it dry, flip it over and do the other side. I usually start with the bottom but there's no actual reason for that.

Once the gesso is dry, paint the saucer with the paint. I used a silver metallic for these coasters. Paint the bottom first and let it dry very well before turning it over to do the inside. Sometimes the paint will goop up along the edge from laying on the table surface (I use waxed paper over the table). If you do the bottom first you can use a nail file to gently even out any thick areas before proceeding.

I painted the inside with two coats since this will be the visible side, making sure to dry well in between coats.

While the paint is drying, cut out circles from your paper, magazines, photos, whatever to go on the inside. For a 4-inch saucer, I use a wide mouth canning jar lid as the template. It has just a bit larger diameter but that lets the edges of the paper go up the sides of the saucer just a bit. Keep in mind that some saucers barely curve up, some have a relatively deep side, so you'll just need to play around with this part to get what you want. I get my saucers at Lowes because they have the shape I like.

I drew out a butterfly template and cut out some little blue fellas to go inside the saucer.

OK- once the paint is dry, use the glue stick to glue down the paper inside the saucer. I like to do this as a separate step instead of with the Polycrylic so that I can smooth out the paper and get rid of any wrinkles or bubbles. Next, glue down the butterflies or whatever you might want to add to the saucer.

I use this Polycrylic product from Minwax to seal the coasters. I found this after searching for something I could use inside with my patients that is low-odor, water clean up, but water resistance once dry. This babe fits the bill perfectly. So, again working on waxed paper, coat the bottom and let it dry, then coat the inside with two coats, letting it dry well in between each coat. Don't rush it. You want your coasters to dry for at least 24 hours before you set your cool drink on them. You can use these for hot drinks as well but I've noticed that the hot mugs stick a bit for the first few days until they polycrylic is really hard.

Last thing you do is add a felt circle to the bottom. The dog may scratch your table top but you wouldn't want your lovely new coasters to scratch it. Maybe some felt doggie shoes....  I used the canning lid again as a template but then cut about an eigth of an inch inside the marking so it would fit.

And there you have it... custom coasters.

Thanks for visiting the jungle today. Hope to see ya again! And today's butterfly pic ...

Chrysalis of Marsh Fritillary
Image by Deanster 1983 via Flickr


  1. What a great idea for using those little adorable terra cotta drip saucers. Since I happen to enjoy the look of terra cotta I would probably leave the clay untouched - but I love the idea of the inserts!

    1. Thanks Pam- and they are so easy and inexpensive it's almost embarrassing if it weren't so clever! I have a photo somewhere of an unpainted one that I'll share with y'all when I find which camera it's in.

  2. Hope it's not too late to ask this question, but can you use mod podge in stead? That's what I actually have on hand. I've seen other tutorials that use it. Thanks!