These days, renewable, reusable and biodegradable materials have become increasingly popular to use in homes – including cork. From cork flooring to stools, candle holders to bulletin boards and trivets, its application is endless. For crafters (pros and enthusiasts alike), handmade items made of cork hold a variety of possibilities. So, for those of you wanting to get a little crafty with cork, why not start with something small like these DIY painted coasters. With just a little paint and creative design, you can elevate plain-old cork to something decorative and personal. It is inexpensive and fun to do on a rainy day. These easy-peasy DIY painted cork coasters were done and ready for use in one afternoon. If you’d like to try your hand at it, here’s how.
Supplies you will need:
- plain coasters
- pencil & eraser
- assorted acrylic paints
- paint brushes
- acrylic paint sealer
- mat on which to paint (mine is an old dish-drying mat)
- optional: painters tape & scissors
First, create a design and apply it to your coasters using a pencil and ruler for precision. You don’t need to be perfect, but if you plan to create a geometric pattern it does require a little forethought and careful measuring. And if all else fails, don’t be afraid to use your eraser! That’s what it’s there for 😉 Because it is cork, it will come off relatively easily. You can create your own design or use the one here as a guide. (Optional: If you prefer precise edges, the painter’s tape can come in handy here).
For these coasters, you will need a two-colour palette, pairing white with one other colour of your choice. This will ensure that the three coasters feel cohesive. It’s always nice if the ‘weight’ of the colour choices are similar (i.e., dark colours for all three or pale colours for all three) in order to create a consistent appearance, but it’s really up to you what you are going for. I chose pale pastels for this project in colours that I thought complementary: minty-blue, pale pink, and a soft golden yellow.
For the first colour application, begin with white. Because acrylic is a thin medium, it will be easier to hide any white bits of paint that end up outside the lines, than to paint white over a colour. (In other words, if you painted white overtop of any of the colours, these colours are more apt to show through). Once you are ready to begin, make sure to have a jar of water handy to clean off the brush, as needed.
When you are ready, begin by applying a relatively light coat and do your best to stay within the lines.
That being said, don’t be too precious about it! If you bleed over or don’t quite get to the edge – or go over the edge – its really okay! It is a handmade item you are creating. It’s ‘raw’ and handcrafted quality is what gives it its appeal in the first place.
Once you’ve applied the first coat, apply a second so that the cork doesn’t show through too much and the white is crisp and bright. Because it is acrylic and because the cork absorbs, you don’t need to wait between coats. You can start painting a second layer immediately.
Tip: When applying the paint, use small quick brush strokes using a very small amount of the medium.
Once you are satisfied with the application of your white paint, begin applying the complementary colour. Paint over any white bits that may have gone over the lines along the way. Once you are finished with the first layer, paint a second coat.
When you’re done, repeat these steps for the next two coasters (or however many you have chosen to create).
The final step is to apply an acrylic paint sealer to the coasters, following the instructions on the can.
Applying the sealer will make the coasters functional so that the acrylic doesn’t bleed or run when exposed to water or other liquids. The sealer I used required 2 coats, with a 15-minute waiting period in between.
Once this is complete, your coasters will be ready to use!
And that’s it! Super simple. Fun and easy. You can knock these off in an afternoon and use in your home, if not that day, then the next (depending on the instructions found on the sealer). Create several and give them away as gifts. Their homemade quality will be a hit and so much more appreciated by your friends and family:)