quick craft: preserving cardboard coasters with glass

When I’m traveling, one of my favorite ways to get to know a city is by sampling local beers. I’m a big fan of brewery tours because the history of a brewery directly correlates to the history of a town or region, and it’s always interesting to learn about how companies get started.

preserving cardboard coasters with glass - yes, that's just water

Since beer is one of my preferred tools for getting to know a place, I end up with a lot of souvenir beer glasses and cardboard coasters. I always hoard the cardboard coasters with plans to stick them in a photo album, but my pictures never make it past the digital world. I just can’t get myself interested in scrapbooking, “memory keeping”, and the like.

So what better way to display my coasters… than as coasters?

Approximately 2 lifetimes ago, also known as 2006, I won a shoe decorating contest with my Starburst wrapper ballet flats. One of my crafty prizes was a glass coaster-making kit, still available at Go To Great Panes. It’s a simple kit: 8 circles of clear glass and some stained glass foil tape, which is readily available at hardware stores. The coasters are simple to make: sandwich an object between the glass circles and then run foil tape around the edge to seal. The kit suggests creating coasters using pressed flowers, but that wasn’t quite to my taste. So when I finally unearthed the kit again and had my, “if you don’t make this right now it goes in the trash” moment, I did the obvious math: coasters + coasters = coasters.

preserving cardboard coasters with glass

I used the glass circle as a template to figure out which coasters would be well-suited to the size and shape of the glass. I also chose coasters from different trips for variety.

preserving cardboard coasters with glass

I made a giant mess cutting away cardboard until my coasters were all perfectly sized. Then it was just a matter of lining everything up, applying the foil tape, and using a bone folder to smooth down the wrinkles.

preserving cardboard coasters with glass

On the back of each coaster, I wrote the location and the year.

Clockwise from top left:
Montreal 2012: Brutopia beer pub & microbrewery
Berlin 2013: Berliner Pilsner, whose logo I just love because that bear looks so happy.
Seattle 2013: The Pike Brewing Company at Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA
Cologne 2009: Gaffel Kölsch, whose coaster is cute on both sides. The back reminds me of a “check yes if you like me” note from grade school, although I have a feeling it wouldn’t get great results in a bar setting.

preserving cardboard coasters with glass

The kit also included tiny adhesive rubber feet to keep the foil from scratching the table. A coaster wouldn’t do much good if it protected the table from moisture but left it covered in scuffs!

This isn’t a super noteworthy project but I love that these coasters can now be used indefinitely. And they couldn’t have been easier. I’d like to make more but I’m still hunting for appropriately-sized 3.5″ glass circles… let me know if you find a good source!

If you’d like to make your own, I did find some super cheap 4-inch glass squares. And 1/2-inch foil tape is easy to find.

Enjoy, and I’d love to see what you come up with!