Introduction: Cheap Homemade Coasters

About: I'm an artist based in McKinney, Texas, who is always looking for something cool to build. Signed up here after seeing some really interesting ideas, as well as I'd like to show how to do a few types of my own…
Alright! My first instructable! So, a quick intro to what you're doing. You'll be using some basic utensils and items found around the house to put together a neat little coaster for your drink.

I'm always putting together cool projects, and lately, I've been using a lot of cardboard. It occurred to me a couple hours ago that I was thirsty, and I didn't want to set my drink down in fear of the condensation getting on any of my works, so I decided to build a cool coaster.

Step 1: Items You'll Need

Again, some basics:

- Packaging Tape
- Circular object that is the size you want for your coaster
- Sharpie (any writing utensil will work)
- X-ACTO Knife
- Magazine Page (with image you want on coaster)
- Cardboard
- Box Cutter
- Glue-stick
- Scissors

Step 2: Base

You need to get the main part of the coaster made first. Pull out a piece of cardboard, as well as whatever circular object you grabbed as mentioned above. I used a half-used roll of duct tape. It was perfect size-wise.

Trace around the outside of the circle onto the cardboard. Now, use the X-ACTO to score the outside rim. Don't cut all the way through. Just enough so you have a "track" for the box cutter. Finally, use the box cutter to cut through the rim. Now you have a circle!

Pro Tip: Move slow. Never rush through cutting an art piece!

Step 3: Picture

You need to make it fancy! Alright, you could literally use ANY image from any book/photo that you want. I have an enormous collection of National Geographic magazines that I have shredded up for other projects, but I've found a few leftover images that looked neat.

First, find your image. Next, place the coaster on top of the image. Center the image to it as best as possible. Now, trace around it.

NOTE: Another way to accomplish the trace is to use the original circular object you used to trace the coaster template onto. Because I used the duct tape roll, I used the hollow center of it to center my picture.

Now pull out that X-ACTO again! Cut that sucker out!

Finally, glue the picture onto the cardboard coaster. But, don't feel too excited now. We still have one last step.

NOTE: To make it easier to stick the image to the cardboard, I used the cap from the glue stick and rubbed the top of the coaster repeatedly to get out any air bubbles and to flatten it as best as possible.

Step 4: "Laminating"

This is easy, but stressful. If you mess up, there's not much you can do. Get out that packaging tape. And scissors.

Cut a piece of tape longer than the diameter of the coaster, and lay it flat, covering the top half of the coaster. Smooth out any bubbles. Flip over the coaster. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE TAPE HANGING OFF THE EDGE AS PICTURED.

Use that X-ACTO and cut the excess away. Another option is to cut "rays" and fold them over. I did not do this on any so far, so I don't have any picture. Sorry :(

Now, this is the part that can be a little stressful. You're going to do the same thing as you did before, BUT you have to make sure to line that strip up perfectly. You could just overlap with the other piece, but, we don't do that in MY class. If you lay the tape wrong, more than likely, you're gonna have to redo it. The tape will usually pull any color if you try to remove it to reset it.

By lining it up perfectly, you can almost completely hide the "seam". Another option to keep from doing two packaging tape pieces is to actually use laminating stuff, but I tried to make this on the spot. I wanted a coaster within two minute of getting my drink. So, I didn't see a reason to go to the store if I could make it. These are not infinite, they won't last too long, I presume, but you never know. I literally invented it a couple hours ago, so, ya know.

So, there you have it! A quick, cheap, custom coaster! A great project for anyone looking to knock out some time or prepare for a little birthday party or something!