Do you have cups that sweat all over your table? Do you have a favorite video game character? Sounds like you need a brand new coaster! Today I'll be showing you my process for making an 8-Bit character coaster from wood. Time to turn the NES off and get to the garage!
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Step 1: Materials & Tools
For this project you will need the following materials:
- 1/4" plywood - I used some reclaimed scrap wood, but you can use whatever you want to.
- Paint - I used acrylic paint because I'm comfortable with it and it works nicely with the wood.
- Polyurethane finish
- Optional: Something like a piece of cork or foam for the backside of the coaster. It prevents the coaster from damaging the surfaces it rests upon.
The tools you will need are as follows:
- A saw - a jigsaw, hacksaw, or scroll saw will work the best
- Brushes for paint
- A printer and paper
If you have access to one, a laser cutter would be incredibly useful. In my case(an many of yours), I do not have one, so saws and sandpaper will do.
Step 2: Print Templates
It's time to figure out what character/item you want to be your new coaster. Maybe it's a Legend of Zelda character. Maybe it's from a Mario game. I chose to do Mario. I got my sprites from the internet, then scaled and printed them. I scaled them to be 4"(10cm) in height, so there would be enough room for a cup to sit on top of it. Then, cut out the shape of the sprite. Trace around the shape on the wood so that you can cut it out later.
Step 3: Cutting
Now you should have a shape drawn on your wood. Cut the wood using something like a wood saw or a hacksaw, just getting the wood to size. From this newly cut rectangle, cut out the shape with a saw, tracing the outline you drew from your template. Then use sandpaper on the front and back, smoothing out the surface and slightly rounding the corners; this keeps it from being too sharp. I started with 80 grit sandpaper, then I used 200 grit to make it smoother. The sandpaper doesn't have to be those exact grits, but just something to get the shape, then to smooth it out. If the front of the piece is a little bit rough, don't worry. The paint will adhere better to a slightly rough texture.
Step 4: Marking and Painting
Next up is painting. To start, use a ruler and pencil to make markings for a grid across the piece. Then, look at your template. Which colors are where? Mark with your pencil which color each square is. I used "R" and "G" for the red and greenish brown colors, and no marking for the orange-yellow skin tone. This will make painting it much easier, because everything is clearly marked. After that, start mixing your paint to get the colors just right. I mixed a dark green with yellow and red to make the greenish-brown of Mario's mustache, sleeves, hair, and shoes. Then, I used some red for the pants and cap. Last, I painted the yellow-orange skin by mixing a little yellow paint with orange. It took a few tries for some parts because of overlapping, but it I worked it out by making small corrections here and there. Make sure to paint the sides as well as the top; wood color won't look quite right just below your painted surface. Let your coaster dry for a few hours.
This concludes the visual detailing of your coaster, now onto the technical!
Step 5: Adding Finish
Now that the coaster is painted and dry, it needs one more thing. To keep the newly added paint from coming off due to sweat, you need to apply something to keep it liquid tight. I used a polyurethane finish which will keep it safe from liquid as well as helping the aesthetic by giving it a nice little shine. Make sure it drys; polyurethane is nasty stuff!
Tip: If you get some polyurethane on your hands, just use some vegetable oil to get it off if you don't have paint thinner or another solvent.
Now that your new retro coaster is finished, it's time to use it! I hoped you enjoyed this instructable. If you have feedback, suggestions, or advice, be sure to comment!
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