Introduction: Rustic Metal Coasters

About: I love DIY and design stuff and I post my projects both here and on my blog. Design files and more thorough steps can sometimes be found on my blog at

As soon as we showed these little coasters to others, we couldn't keep up with the demands.

Everyone wanted them for a birthday or Christmas gift, for at the cabin or cottage or just to spruce up their home with a little rustic element.

And with a little work you can turn out your own custom little coasters that look amazing too!

So long as you have access to a software program like AutoCad (which is incredible!) or a similar program that can export cut files you can make your custom coasters just like these.

If you don't have AutoCad, you can download some of the cut files from our website at Timber Ridge that you can send out to have cut.

If you would like to see some of the finished products, or purchase some, you can do so at The Hardy

But for the rest of us, let's get to the DIY part!!


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Thanks for reading my instructable and I wish you success in your projects!

Step 1: Needed Items

Here is a list of the items you will need to complete this project:

Many of these items you probably already have, and if you don't you can probably find them on Amazon or a store close to you.

Step 2: Getting Your Cut Files

The first step is to find a design that you want to cut out and then create the digital cut file that you can send out to a local shop that does either laser, plasma, or water cutting. (Unless of course, you're fortunate to have one of those machines on your own.)

When choosing a shape to cut, you want to choose something that will work as a silhouette, as you will have to cut away the negative space to reveal the shape of the object.

Once you have your shape, trace it out and make sure to include the outside final shape of your coaster.

The coasters we've made are about 3.5"x3.5".

Some design notes:

  • Make sure that you have radius corners on all your edges as it will make life much easier for the laser when cutting your project, as it can common-line cut everything. By adding a radius, the machine doesn't have to start and stop for every little change in direction..The radius can be extremely small, but if it's there it will allow the machine to cut better.
  • The thicker the material you use, the more difficult it can be to keep the detail on your part especially when using a laser or high-def plasma cutter. The problem is, with more detail and the closer the lines are together you can get a lot of heat build up in one area that can cause your material to begin to melt together. And when this happens your lines don't come out as crisp as they look in the file you designed. We used 12ga steel for these coasters and they worked pretty well.
  • If you want the rustic, rusty look you'll need to use mild steel or HRPO steel plate. Some cutters prefer using HRPO (hot rolled pickled and oiled) plate as it's cleaner and less rusty to start than regular mild steel plate that becomes rusty over time. Using either is fine but if you start with rusty plate you may not need to add the rustic effects that we will later, but you might not get the look you're after either.

Now that you've got your cut file, all you need to do is go and get a few cut.

Again, if you don't have your own cut file, you can download one for free at Timber Ridge

Step 3: Aging Your Coasters

Now that you've got some coasters cut, we can start aging them by adding some rust to them.

It's super easy!

To get started, place your coasters on some sort of surface like an old cookie sheet - something that doesn't matter if it gets some vinegar on it.

Then take a small bowl and pour some of your white vinegar into it.

After that, grab an old towel or rag and dip it into the white vinegar and start dabbing it repeatedly onto your coasters so there are little puddles of vinegar all over your coaster.

Now let the coasters sit like this for 15 minutes or so.

After that, take a dry portion of the towel and sop up the remaining puddles of vinegar. We recommend not wiping them up as this will smear your rust look.

Then cover the coasters with a rag that is lightly soaked in vinegar and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

Once you've done that, you can again dab any noticeable areas of vinegar puddling on the surface of the coaster and then you're ready for the next step!

Feel free to vary the times you leave the metal sitting or smear the vinegar around in order to achieve the look you're after.

Step 4: Finishing the Coaster

To finish the coaster, coat the top side of the coaster with a heavy coat of the clear semi-gloss or gloss spray paint and let it sit out until it's dry.

This is usually about 30 minutes.

Once you've done that, take a piece of cork and trace around the outside of your coaster.

Then cut away the cork on the outside of your tracing so that it fits the profile of your coaster.

Then use the hot glue gun to glue the cork to the metal.

Quick Tip: Put the hot glue on the cork first then put the metal coaster onto the cork with the glue on it as if you put the glue on the metal first, the glue will cool and dry before you can attach the cork!

And there you have it - a great looking vintage coaster!

Step 5: Conclusion

This design is something you can certainly modify to suit your own tastes as you can use virtually any material that can be cut using a CAD file - like wood, plastic, aluminum, and so on.

But whatever material you use, the end result will be a great custom coaster for all your cold drinks!

Metal Contest 2017

Participated in the
Metal Contest 2017