It’s an issue that most hosts and hostesses deal with at one point or another: how to keep their guests’ drinks from marking up their antique table.
While our parents’ generation may have a stack (or multiple stacks) of coasters, maybe monogrammed with their initials, or plain old coasters made of woven grasses, today’s entertaining “youth” often don’t have their own. Yet, when your coffee table is a hand-me-down antique from your grandmother, you really should have some coasters on hand.
I recently spotted these multi-tasking coasters from Modern-Twist in a tea shop in New York City. Sold in sets of 4, these coasters are made out of non-toxic, food-safe silicone, which allows you to write on them with a ballpoint pen and later erase it — it’s like a coaster meets personalized cocktail glass marker that is perfect for entertaining (just make sure the guest takes the coaster along when s/he moves their drink). You can also use the coasters as place cards (they make a fun goody-bag alternative); to jot down notes when tasting wines; or to simply doodle on when enjoying your afternoon cocktail.
If you are in need of some coasters, but don't want to go out and spend your most recent paycheck on something fancy to protect your table, never fear. Inspired by Modern-Twist’s Coaster-Notz, we’ve come up with a couple fun coaster designs that you can create on your own at home.
Yogurt Container Top Coasters
Just when you never thought there would be another use for used (and clean) yogurt containers other than for your children’s art projects, think again. Yogurt container tops, when turned upside down, make effective coasters if you’re in a pinch (or on a budget). To spice up the plain white color (and to disguise the fact you’re recycling a top), have fun with permanent or paint markers and create a pretty border around the edge.
What you need: Yogurt containers, permanent or paint markers.
Ceramic Tile Coasters
If you have extra tiles lying around the house from a recent renovation job, the thin (about ¼-inch) tiles make perfect coasters. You can use them plain, or write on your guests’ names (or other fun quotes or sayings) on the tiles with permanent marker. When it’s time to wipe them clean, simply scrub with a magic eraser. If you’re feeling creative, you can also try decorating the tiles with dots of porcelain paint.
What you need: Ceramic tiles, permanent marker.
Clear Pressed Coasters
If you enjoy pressing flowers, a fun way to make use of your specimens — and show them off to friends — is to press them between sheets of laminating paper. You can then cut out square or round shapes and use them as pretty multi-tasking coaster-place cards. This is an especially fun way to add a crafty touch to showers or weddings.
What you need: Pressed flowers, laminating paper, scissors, and permanent markers.
1. Press your own flowers (or buy them at a craft store).
2. Cut 3-inch squares for the coasters (you will need 2 pieces per coaster).
3. Remove the adhesive from one square and place it non-sticky side down (this will be the top). Place the dried flowers, with the pretty-side sticking to the adhesive, on the square in an interesting formation.
4. Remove the adhesive from the second square and press the two sticky sides together, taking care to line up the edges (alternatively, you can cut the squares a bit big, and then trim them into perfect squares after sealing the two squares together.
If you’ve never tried needlepoint, but always wanted to, needlepointing your own coaster set is a relatively easy and manageable project for first-timers. While it is a more expensive project, and takes a lot more time to complete, the finished product is beautiful and lasts forever.
What you need: Needlepoint template, needlepoint needles, needlepoint thread, scissors. Note: You will have to send off the finished canvases for professional finishing, like rolled thread edges.
Contact Paper-Covered Coasters
If you have experience covering binders (or books) with protective papers or fabrics, this is a project for you. Plain square pieces of cardboard are covered with properly-trimmed pieces of contact paper; just remember that you’ll need to cut the paper in the shape of a cross, so that the corners end up square. If you can’t find contact paper, you can also use adhesive shelf liner paper, which tends to come in prettier patterns and colors.
What you need: Contact or shelf liner paper; cardboard squares, X-Acto knife or scissors, permanent marker.
1. Cut 3-inch squares from cardboard.
2. Using the cardboard templates, cut a square from the shelf paper that is 1-inch larger than the cardboard on each of the four sides.
3. Trim the corners of the larger square so that each side can be folded over the cardboard liner.
4. Fold each side of the shelf paper over the cardboard.
5. Trim a second square from the shelf paper, if you wish, to hide the exposed cardboard on the base.