Introduction: Decoupage Coasters
The Holidays will be upon us sooner than you can say Jack… Stumped for unique and meaningful gifts - not to mention, useful - that don’t require you to bust the bank? Here’s an easy one for the last-minute (non)shopper:
Holiday Coasters! With all that entertaining many, if not most, of us do around that time of year, what better way to help a host save their favorite table or tablecloth from beverage rings!
Depending on how many coasters you choose to make, the entire project can be completed in a couple of hours to half a day. The most time-consuming part involves waiting for either the protective finish or the glue to dry. But it is also the least labor-intensive or should I say, the part where you are not really ‘laboring’ at all! So if you plan this out well enough, while one batch is at a certain stage of drying, you could be performing some task related to another batch.
3'' - 4'' diameter circular object to serve as a template for tracing the outline (glass/plastic jar, lid, coffee can, bowl etc.)
Safety goggles and a Mask
Jigsaw or scroll saw (if you have one)
Sandpaper: medium, fine, and extra-fine grit (You don’t need a power sander as it will remove too much material too quickly)
Wood stain or paint - optional
Glue (regular Elmer’s type, school/craft glue) OR Mod Podge
Step 1: Select Your Pictures and Stabilize the Print
1. Flip through your Holiday gift catalogs and look for pictures of Holiday wreaths.
2. Tear out the pages that have the pictures you want to use
3. Place on a flat surface in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors.
4. Use a mask or hold your breath for a few seconds while you spray your picture(s) very lightly with polyurethane or some other protective coat.
5. Move away from the area and leave the pages to dry. One coat is sufficient.
My Rationale for TheAbove Steps: Why do I go this route, rather than simply cutting out the desired pictures, gluing them on, spraying with a protective finishand calling it a day? To use a well-worn phrase, ‘Been there, done that’! If you do not stabilize the surface before cutting out the shape, then the blades of your scissors will tend to scrape off some of the print right along the edges that you are cutting out. This is more of a problem on intricate patterns and is most noticeable where there are sharp corners. It takes away from the final finish of your work.
The other problem, and what I think is a bigger one, occurs when gluing your cut-out onto the base material. If the print was not stabilized prior to this step, then as you smooth out the newly glued picture in a bid to get rid of any entrapped air bubbles, you end up dulling the print - often wiping off areas of the image altogether!
Step 2: Cut Out Your Discs
While your pictures are drying, using your circular object as a template, trace out as many circles onto the luan, as you would like to make coasters.
Don your goggles and mask. With your jigsaw or scroll saw, cut out the discs as carefully as you can. Try to stay just outside the marked circles.
Some might find it amusing that I suggest using safety gear for what appears to be such a simple craft project but getting sawdust or a tiny splinter in one’s eye isn’t exactly fun! Besides, it could lead to permanent eye damage…
Step 3: Prepare Your Discs
Sand the entirety of each disc, paying close attention to the periphery. Round over these edges, starting with a medium-to-fine grit and finishing up with an extra fine. If you didn’t do such a great job of cutting out the discs, now is the perfect time to fix those edges.
Note: Luan is a very thin material so you don’t want to use a coarse grit on the main surface of the discs. It would come in handy (read ‘should only be used’) if you really need to work on those edges - in other words, if your circles are not quite circles...
You may stain or paint the discs at this stage. They do not need a protective coating just yet as that will be done after the cutout has been applied.
Step 4: Cut Out Your Wreaths
When completely dry, cut out your wreaths. Keep the cutting lines clean and try to maintain as much detail as possible. Many wreaths have some sort of needle-like leaves. You can not just cut along the outermost edge and be done with it. You could, but then your coasters will look terrible! If you want a good finish to your work, where the wreaths look like they were actually painted or printed directly onto the coasters, you will need to ‘feather’ out the edge by placing numerous cuts in close proximity to each other all along the periphery. Keep changing the angle of the scissors back and forth ever so slightly, while you make these cuts.
Step 5: Apply the Wreaths to Your Discs and Protect the Application
Apply glue to the back of your cut-out and center it on the disc.
Use a rolling pin or a glass bottle to get rid of any air pockets. Leave it to dry
Again, use a mask and spray on a couple of light coats of polyurethane lacquer. Walk away while allowing each coat to dry before spraying on the next one.
You could also use Mod Podge as both glue and protective coating but it needs to be applied with a brush.
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