After building a new wooden table/work desk I’ve been in dire need of some coasters to protect it from all the cold beverages it encounters. After shopping around a bit I have to say, the retail coaster selection seems pretty lacking! Of course I decided to make my own. Several trips to the seashore inspired these little sand dollar coasters which ended up being the perfect addition to my work space!
- Smooth/Clean work surface
- Oven & flat pan for baking clay
- White Polymer Clay
- Empty aluminum can
- Clay Sculpting Tools*
- White chalk pencil
- Assorted Sandpaper (100g, 220g)
- Flat plate or lid
- Tacky glue
- White wool felt
- Small fabric scissors
- Fine sharpie
- Matte spray sealant
1. Using a knife cut a square section off of your polymer clay block. Mine weighed 63 grams and measured 0.5″ x 2″ x 2″.
3. using a flat and smooth surface, press down evenly on the clay sphere until it has spread into a round disk that is roughly 1/4″ thick. Once you have lifted your pressing device you can smooth the clay disk out by hand if necessary or place a sheet of parchment paper on top of it and gently roll in all directions with a rolling pin for optimal smoothness.
4. Using a heavy duty safety scissors, carefully cut a square section out of the aluminum can. I found it was easiest to cut the can in half and work form there. The aluminum square should measure roughly 1.25 ” x 1.25″.
5. Carefully roll the aluminum square into an oval shaped tube. Try to get the ends as flat as possible by pushing one side inward a little farther than necessary and then overlapping it to hold the other end in place. Use the white chalk pencil to mark roughly where the five holes should be cut. Use the aluminum tube you made cut out the 4 holes on the perimeter of the coaster. For the center hole you will need to make two connected cuts, roughly 1.5x the length of the others (it should be about 2/3″ long).
7. Gently mark 5 petal shapes with the white chalk pencil. The petals should not close completely at the points and the top petal shape should be slightly elongated compared to the other 4. I used a bone folder to mark and smooth out the indentations before using the tip of a utility knife to mark the smaller lines. As noted above, tools designed for sculpting clay would be more appropriate here and yield a cleaner look but the neat thing about DIY crafts is that you can make a lot of things work in ways they weren’t designed to!
8. Preheat oven to 225° F. If necessary you can smooth out the coaster gently using the parchment paper/rolling pin method. At this point you made need to go back and smooth out the holes again, basically make any finishing touches until you are happy with the way it looks!
9. Bake at 225° F for 30 minutes. Be careful not to overcook as the color will darken if it burns. (If this happens to you, don’t worry! You can always apply a few coats of white spray paint before the sealant). After baking the coaster may seem flexible but that’s OK and normal, it will harden as it cools.
10. Once cooled, douse the coaster in water and begin gently sanding in all directions while adding more water as necessary to keep the clay wet. Start with the 100g sandpaper and finish with the 220g. Allow to dry.
11. Spray the coaster with a matte finishing sealant. Apply 2-3 coats allowing for appropriate dry time in between.
12. Use your coaster to trace a round shape out of the wool felt. This will be glued to the bottom of your coaster for added surface protection. Using fabric scissors cut the round shape out of the felt, cutting an additional ~1/8″ off of the felt all the way around. Set the coaster on top of the felt shape and use a fine sharpie to mark the hole shapes as seen in the photo above. Cut out these marks in oval shapes using a detail sewing scissors.
13. Apply tacky glue to the bottom of the coaster and attach the felt. Allow glue to dry fully before using.
That’s it! A few of these tied together with some twine would make such a cute handmade gift, don’t you think?
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