It was Jill’s birthday recently and Matt and I had gone in on a (really nice, very aesthetic) coffee table for her because we’ve taken that step into adulthood where you start gifting furniture to your friends. But I obviously couldn’t just throw a coffee table at her and call it a day because of a lot of gross emotional best friend crap that I’m not going to expand on.
Anyways, about a year ago we were window shopping somewhere on
Queen West and we saw these coasters that we loved because 1) they’re coasters, and 2) they’re rude coasters. They were also like $35 for 4 and we were not (and still are not) willing to drop that kind of money on coasters. I’m pretty sure we just said “pft we could just make those ourselves” and then never got around to making them. It was nice that they were wood but I definitely think we just loved them for the phrases.
So I feel like it worked out that we ended up getting her that coffee table because now when I gift the coasters it’ll be a theme! If you feel like making some cork coasters keep reading – it’s honestly pretty simple and you can customize them however you like.
The sketchy dollar store in Bridgeport Plaza didn’t have cork board and I was too lazy to take the bus to a real Dollarama so I ended up just buying a pack of 4 12″x12″ boards from WalMart when I stopped in to buy the (matte) ModPodge. I would suggest you just buy cork board from Dollarama though. They’re smaller + cheaper + you also don’t need to buy 4 at a time which was completely unnecessary for this project since a single sheet of cork made 7 coasters. I will warn you that the cork from Dollarama is less thick than these, but they come in a 2-pack so if you glue them together you’re probably fine.
NOTE: I never ended up using a glue gun in this project, the multi-purpose glue spreads better and is more forgiving when it comes to timing and adjustment.
1/ Use a pen/marker and trace whatever you want as a coaster shape. With the power of hindsight, I would recommend shapes that don’t involve curves for ease of cutting. Obviously, I would choose a goddamn circle to maximize difficulty for myself. You want a shape that is larger than whatever drinkware you end up putting on these coasters.
2/ Use an Exacto knife to cut out your cork shapes. Scissors are not the best choice for cork because it’s a really crumbly material and Exacto goes a lot smoother. Also, protect your work surface and cut on a piece of cardboard. (This first circle actually went really well I’m so proud of myself.)
3/ Take your cork shape and trace it onto the foam to use as backing for the coasters. Again, the power of hindsight allows me to make the strong suggestion that you make the foam shapes a bit larger than the cork because later when you’re trimming them to be flush with each other, foam is so much easier to adjust than cork. Sigh.
4/ Now you can paint your designs onto the cork! I went with generally rude statements, straight forward instructions on how to use coasters, and our initials because we’re gross. Black acrylic paint works fine and I painted with the smallest brushes, but marker would also work. If you mess up you can always just flip the cork over to the other side and try again. That’s why it’s important that you wait until after you finish painting to glue on the foam unless you’re really confident in your painting abilities. I was not at all, and for good reason (half of the cork things were redos).
5/ Wait for the paint on the cork to fully dry, then match up all the foam to cork pieces and glue them together. I used a multi-purpose glue that bonded the foam and cork together really well and also used a popsicle stick to spread the glue flat but it’s not a super crucial step. Leave them to dry for about 15-20 minutes while weighing them down with textbooks or something else heavy just so the cork dries flat.
6/ After the glue is dried go ahead and trim off the excess foam. Exacto knife is probably the best way to go.
7/ The last step is to apply ModPodge to the top and sides of the coaster. It seals the cork so that you don’t have to worry about water getting on the paint and spreading it everywhere, and also so that the edges of the cork where you cut it doesn’t crumble further. I applied 2 layers to these and called it a day (wait for each layer to dry before the next application). I also just used one of the bristled brushes for the application but a foam brush would probably have been better. There was a lot of hindsight involved in this DIY.
8/ Let those dry, then enjoy your drinks without worrying about water damage to your furniture!
Happy birthday Jill! Your present is this blog post.