07 March 2012

How To: DIY Fabric Coasters

This is a project that I've been dying to do, but never buckled down and got to work. This past weekend I finally kicked myself in the butt and did it. I have to admit, after looking through tons of tutorials all over the blog world I expected this to be a super easy, 5 minute project. While it didn't take very long to do, it wasn't quite as easy as I had thought it would be. 

We've been using these coasters on our coffee table for some time now. I bought them from Pier 1 a few years back. They are perfectly fine coasters (except for a little paint spot on one), but they just didn't match our living room.

I decided I wanted to make my own coasters to better match the colors in the room. I've seen many versions using scrap paper or photos for the design, but I really wanted to use fabric. 

I had these fabric cases that our new sheets and duvet set came in when we received them for Christmas. I know that once the sheets are on our bed, we won't use these cases anymore to store them. We have pretty much been using just the new sheets and wash them during the day and put right back on the bed instead of using a different set. They are just so comfortable that we don't want to use any other sheets!

The supplies I used to make my coasters:
- plain ceramic tiles from Home Depot (I forgot, but maybe $.16 each)
- fabric (or paper/pictures) to cover the coasters
- Mod Podge with sponge brush
- felt tabs for the bottom of the coasters
- clear acrylic sealer spray

Most websites I read had you cut a piece of fabric about the same size of the coaster (maybe a bit smaller) to attach to the top. I attempted that first, but once I cut the fabric, I could see the small threads fraying at the cut edge. Trying to trim these threads just resulted in an uneven edge, and the fabric square getting smaller and smaller with each cut.

I decided to try my own, different approach and wrap the fabric around the entire top of the tile and use a Mod Podge seal on the back. I liked this option better because it resulted in clean edges without the bare ceramic showing. I also can't stand the sound of two ceramic tiles rubbing together. It's like nails on a chalkboard to me, so I wanted to have the fabric act as a cushion when the tiles were stacked or if they knocked against each other.

I put a thin coat of Mod Podge over the entire top of the ceramic tile. I then flipped the tile over and pressed it onto the back of the fabric, leaving at least half an inch to an inch around the edge of the tile.

Once I had a small border cut around the tile, I also cut a slit in each corner of the fabric to make wrapping it around the tile a little easier and look smoother.

I started with opposite sides and put a small coat of MP on the edge and back of the tile (just a half inch or so from the edge) and wrapped the fabric tightly around the edge. I then applied one more thin coat of MP on top of the fabric to seal it. (With Mod Podge, thin layers are key. It's much better to use multiple thin layers of MP than one thick layer.)

The next two sides and corners are a bit tricky. The best way I can explain is that you want to wrap it sort of like a present, where the edges are clean and flat.

Once all four edges are MP-ed to the back of the tile it will look something like this:

The last step before applying the felt tabs is to seal the coasters. I bought a bottle of this clear acrylic sealer from AC Moore. This step is important since you want to keep the fabric from getting damaged from hot mugs, cold glasses and condensation.

I put all the coasters outside on the deck and sprayed three coats of this acrylic sealer on each of the coasters, allow time to dry between coats.

Once the acrylic is sealed take these small felt pads and put them on each corner on the back of the tile. These will protect your table from getting scratched by the ceramic tile. It also keeps a nice cushion between each coaster when you stack them.

If the ceramic tile showing on the back of your coaster bothers you, can can simply cut out a scrap square with your leftover fabric and Mod Podge it to the back of the coaster before you seal it and add the felt cushions. I did this with one coaster to show as an example. I didn't do this with all my coasters simply because it didn't bother me that the tile was showing. No one will really be flipping them over to see the backs. 

Once your coasters are sealed and your felt cushions applied, they are ready to use! 

I'll admit my coasters are not perfect, so if you are picky about your finishing on the back, my tutorial might not be for you. But I'm really happy with how they look. The back doesn't bother me since you will never see it.  And the fabric I used is a perfect match for my new pillows in the living room. 

I think I folded the corners pretty well, too. The look flush and aren't bulky at all. I'm pretty please with my take on the other fabric coaster tutorials I saw around the web.

I took a vacation day from work today so Lucy and I are off to run lots of errands (and possibly squeeze in some thrifting!)


  1. LOVE! I am trying to decide between MP-ing photos or fabric on tiles for coasters, and I think you have convinced me to do fabric.

  2. Yay. The photo idea is great, too. I'm sure I'll be mod podging some photos in my future.

  3. Love the dressmaking fabric coasters, will certainly have a go at these, thank you.

  4. You could also glue felt or dark or foam sheets to the back, even hot glue it....

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