Summer is here in the Southern California desert. With the temperatures exceeding 100*, I’ve always got a cold beverage on hand. Where cold drinks go, a coaster must follow. The problem is, most coasters I’ve found can’t keep up with the exorbitant amount of sweat an iced beverage produces. What’s the point of going to the trouble of using a coaster if it doesn’t protect precious furniture from unsightly rings, stains, and warping? That is why I decided to make my own super absorbent, but not soggy, sisal rope coasters. I made about nine of these little beauties in the span of an hour. I’d love to show you how to make your own as well. But first, a few notes:
*I chose sisal because it had a nice rustic farm look that seemed to fit nicely with the vintage French farmhouse, craftsman, victorian estate, English cottage, colonial America, haunted mansion vibe of my home. You can use any kind of rope your heart desires!
*Get creative! Along with different types of rope, you can paint your coaters (use a fabric paint impervious to water), and add designs or monograms.
*Your backing can be any type of porous material, just be sure it is soft enough to keep from scratching surfaces. I used felt because it’s what I had on hand. I wanted to use cork, but alas, I didn’t have any. Make do and mend is my philosophy.
*Glue guns are hot. You will inevitably be burned by one. Maybe not today, maybe not with this project, but soon and for the rest of your relationship with hot glue crafting.
*To clean up extra glue, you can either smooth it down with your fingers while it is still soft (my method of choice, complete with screaming and cursing), or apply heat from a blowdryer or iron and let the glue settle into the rope.
*Also, pardon the poor picture quality. I decided to start this project at eight o’clock PM, and my parlor’s mood lighting isn’t exactly made for crafting.
Step 1: Gather your supplies. You’ll need a spool of rope (I found mine at Home Depot for about $8). Natural fibers like sisal, manila, or cotton will all work nicely. You’ll also need a hot glue gun with plenty of glue, scissors, tape, felt or cork backing, a sharpie marker, and a round template.
Step 2: Lay your backing fabric, henceforth known as “felt”, on top of your template, and trace the desired shape and size on to the felt. I made my coasters a little on the large side as my Mr. likes big oversized glasses, whilst I prefer more delicate vintage glasses.
Step 3: Cut out your circles. They needn’t be perfect, but try to keep a uniform shape. I doubled my felt to be extra sure it would be sturdy and absorbent enough, so if you do the same, remember to double the amount of felt circles as coasters you’re making.
Step 4: (optional) If you’re doubling the felt bottoms, run a line of glue along the very edge of one felt circle. Then, place the second circle on top of it, carefully pressing the edges together.
Step 5: Fold the circle into quarters (half, and then half again). Place a dab of glue, or use your Sharpie to mark the center point. This will keep your rope curl even.
Step 6: Carefully place a dab of glue on the end of the rope, and then curl it onto itself. Keep gluing and curling until you have a single row coil.
Step 7: Add a healthy amount of glue to the center of your prepared felt circle. Press your coil onto that. Hold it in place until the glue dries.
Step 8: Apply a generous amount of glue along the rope coil and felt. Don’t be shy with the glue! The idea is to have it grab the felt, coil, and new lengths of rope. Repeat this step until you have completely covered the felt circles. Remember to press and hold the coil in place as the glue dries. The rope will want to snap back to it’s original shape, and you certainly don’t want that!
Step 9: Wrap a piece of tape at the point where you want the coil to end. Cut in the center of the taped portion at a diagonal with the long side against the coil tapering outward. Dab a bit of glue at the end of the cut pieces, keeping the rope from unraveling. Remove the tape.
Step 10: Glue the last bit of rope to the coil. And you’re done! Enjoy your coasters and stain-free tables.
I do hope you enjoy your lovely little coasters. As always, drop me a line via electronic post or telegram (twitter) with any questions or requests.