I come from a family of artists. My mom is all around crafty; she can literally make something from nothing. Growing up our garage was always filled with buckets of bottle caps and empty bottles. I would often stare into the heaps of junk and think to myself: my god my mother is a hoarder what the hell is she ever going to do with that stuff?! Two months later I would look in the garage to find a funky coffee table, made from you guessed it, bottle caps and beer bottles. My father, brother and sister-in-law have been lucky enough to make careers purely from their artistic talents (check out their sites: Tad Dowdy Custom Models and Dowdy Studio). My older brother (another artist) can literally scratch weld/build/create anything from hand. Yes, I am totally jealous. I have always played it safe and kept on the corporate career route. However, every now and then I like to try and get a little crafty and put what little “art skills” I inherited to use.
Every time Bryan and I go on a trip, I collect just about every piece of literature you can imagine from the city we are visiting. Brochures, receipts, postcards, ticket stubs, maps, bus schedules, newspapers; if its paper it goes into my purse. Like my mother, I collect these things with the intent of making some kind of cool art piece or scrapbook. I rarely ever get around to doing it. A couple of weeks ago while enjoying my favorite Friday five o’clock beer, Bitburger, I decided to dig into the box that holds all these random pieces of paper and do something with them. I knew it would have to be something easy and something that didn’t take longer than an hour to do (I have a short attention span for art projects). Looking around our apartment I noticed we were in need of some new coasters. Bingo!
A quick trip to the local Michael’s Craft Store for a decoupage set and a bag of circle and oval wooden cutouts and craft night was on!
The first step in creating the custom coaster required sanding the perimeter of the wooden cutouts. Seeing as I don’t craft that often I had to use what I had…so I sanded with a nail file. It got the job done.
Next, I dug through my box of trip paraphernalia and chose a bus schedule brochure that I collected in Vancouver, Canada last year.
I selected the scene I wanted to use for the main focal point of the coaster and began to clip away.
Once I had the scene cut out that I wanted to use it was time for the fun part: Modge Podging! Just lather up a sponge brush and paint under and over the selection.
Keep slathering on the modge podge until the paper is smooth and shiney! The result a fun custom coaster that is also a good conversation piece.
You can take an even easier route and simply glue a pre-existing coaster to the wooden cutouts. That’s what I did with a few coasters I picked up at bars in Amsterdam and Scotland. The other coaster in the photo includes a section of a street map from San Francisco. A fun happy hour project complete!