Saturday, 11 April 2015

Coasters and Placemats - Revamp or Make Your Own.

I do love it when you find another unexpected use for something. You know the sort of thing, you buy something, have a little too much of it and look for another way to use it up, or maybe an idea just comes to you.

Our house always seems to have coasters everywhere. At least two per side table. Some upstairs, others in the conservatory. They all get grotty and stained. Yuck.

It comes from having teas and coffees just a bit too full or a drip from a teapot. So before long, a quick wipe will no longer make them clean and shiny again.

In the past I have used my cutter to make new tops for them and then varnished over that. It works if it is tough enough varnish but you need several coats and it is a bit of a smelly process!

Anyhow, I just felt the need to refurbish some coasters and suddenly remembered some nice tough plastic I'd got for another project. The plastic is sold here by the metre for applying to windows or covering tables. It's strong, easily cut and of course, not harmed by liquids. You can buy it patterned in bright colours but mine was just a plain frosted one.

I measured my coasters and used SCAL to make rounded cornered squares. Now here is where you need to be careful. The first thing is to use cheap paper to make your first cut. Compare the corners to the ones on your mat, and check that the diameter of the corner (it's roundness) is the same.

You may need to do this a couple of times to get it right but it makes all the difference to the finished product.

Once you know what size to cut, choose your design card. It's a great way to use up small pieces or you can make a whole matching set. Cut your card and then cut matching sized plastic covers.

Use a permanent spray glue to stick all the layers together and use a brayer to help it adhere properly. (Depending on the original surface, it can be a good idea to give the old coaster a quick swipe with some sand paper).

That's more like it!

To make coasters and mats from scratch

It's easy peasy! Just use craft foam for the base, top with card and then with the plastic. ( I found it is a good idea to make the foam 1mm bigger than the card top - I think it sort of shrinks up a bit as it's cut).  It's fun to make custom  print and cut ones for friends too - or maybe as a souvenir of a special occasion.  

Most of all, have fun, that's what it is all about!

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