Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Handmade Gifts for the Holidays

Do you have someone especially difficult to buy for?  Or do you just want to give something thoughtful, that you made with your own two hands?  I've got a quick and easy tutorial for you, for something that pretty much everyone needs: Coasters. 

Not just any coasters, CUSTOM coasters. 

Here is the supply list:
  1. Simple Green or your favorite all-purpose cleaner.
  2. 4-inch clay saucers - I got mine from OSH.
  3. Spray paint - I chose Krylon's metallic ORB paint that I already had on hand
  4. Scrapbook paper, labels, fabric, photos, etc.  I used vintage beer & wine labels for these, scanned printed on regular copy paper.
  5. Mod Podge - mine was DIY
  6. Non-yellowing clearcoat.  I used a Krylon archival quality clear poly that I had on hand.
  7. Felt pads
First off, I cleaned the coasters with a paper towel dampened with Simple Green.  It's my go-to for pretty much anything, as it doesn't leave a residue behind that could cause streaking or adhesion problems.  Once I had the dust cleaned off (clay saucers are dusty!) I didn't plan to prime these, so I roughed them up just a smidge with some medium-grit sandpaper and wiped down again. 

Then I used my very professional work surface (ahem, the top of the garbage bin) to spray paint the saucers.  Now, mine started out brown, so it didn't take as much paint as I thought it would to get good coverage and go from this...

 To this...



I ended up using 2 coats of ORB to get the color and coverage I was looking for.  I did need to sand down the edges once, because I was impatient and turned them over before they were fully dry (rookie mistake - doh!)

While you are waiting for the paint to dry, start working on your inserts.  I chose to scan some vintage beer and wine labels for mine, since my giftee is a wine-o and her hubs (my bro) is a beer man (love you guys!).  I sized them to fit and printed them all out on plain copy paper.  You could use a pretty scrapbook paper, or even print photos on copy paper for this, though I don't recommend using photographic prints, due to the layers of paper and the chemicals used in the printing process. 

Once you've got your inserts ready (and your paint is finally dry!), you can start adhering them to the saucers.  I used a 50/50 mix of white glue and water, applied with a cheap sponge brush.  I made sure to apply a coat on the bottom of the saucer before I laid down the graphic, then applied more over the top.  You will probably need more than one coat of Mod-Podge.  I went ahead and applied the MP all the way up the sides of the saucer, but that's by no means a must.



I loved the horseshoe label here!
And I thought this elephant was pretty cool.

And this EAGLE!  I confess, the first time I looked at this I thought it said GASSER, which I thought was pretty darn funny.  Oh well.  It's still cool.

Another elephant.  And I just really liked the parrot.

Once everything was dry and pretty waterproof from the MP, I sprayed on two coats of the non-yellowing clear poly.  I know some people like those thirsty-stone kind of coasters, but I've always found that the stone chills down with the liquid, and leaves a ring on the furniture anyway!  Much nicer to just swab or tip the liquid out of a saucer I say...

After your clearcoat is dry, you want to make sure you protect that furniture!  I found some small felt circles in the craft section of the Dollar Tree and used those on the bottoms of the coasters.  They were pretty thin, so I doubled them up to get good coverage.  They slid across my coffee table nicely before I figured out what the boys were doing and put the kibosh on coaster hockey.  After all, these were supposed to be a gift!!

I had originally thought to tie these up with some jute twine and put a cute handmade tag on, but the project pretty much emptied my brain of creative resources, so I opted for a gift bag and lots of tissue paper. 

I'm happy to report that my SIL loved the coasters.  Even my bro thought they were cool.  I think I'll put these on my go-to for DIY gifts from now on...
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