DIY Painted Cork Coasters

painted coasters

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: 

painted coasters materials

  • plain coasters
  • ruler
  • 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).

geometric design - coaster

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.

pre-paint stage - painted coasters

When you are ready, begin by applying a relatively light coat and do your best to stay within the lines.

diy coaster - painting white

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.

mint-blue paint

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).

diy painted coaster

diy painted coaster - side profile

The final step is to apply an acrylic paint sealer to the coasters, following the instructions on the can.

mod podge - cork coaster

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!

painted coasters - ready to use

coasters - long view

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:)


For more creative crafts, DIY’s and decorating inspirations from around the web, check out Family JoyThat DIY PartyPeace Love Link UpThe DIY CollectiveShare It One More TimeSaturday SharefestSweet InspirationCreativity UnleashedThe Wednesday RoundupFuntastic Friday and BFF Open House Link Party.


  • Reply
    Teresa Anker
    August 18, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    These are so adorable!

    • Reply
      August 18, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      Thanks Teresa! They were fun to design and I loved painting them. It was such a relaxing way to spend a lazy summer afternoon 🙂

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 11:50 am

    These are too cute! I’ve never used Mod Podge in my DIY tutorials for my blog hapinesswherever.com but it’s next on my to-buy list 🙂

    • Reply
      September 22, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      Mod Podge is really versatile and has a number of applications that I have yet to explore. Hope you find some cool DIY projects that you can share. Would love to see them 🙂

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 4:10 am

    Love these! Do they actually still absorb water even though you applied the sealer?

    • Reply
      April 27, 2016 at 6:10 am

      Hi Christine,
      Good question! Mine don’t absorb water. Any bit of water that gets on them beads up and stays on the surface, eventually drying off. The coasters have not been sullied in any way since I painted them (last year), even though I most often use them in the morning setting my morning cup of coffee on them 🙂

  • Reply
    Victoria @DazzleWhileFrazzled
    May 22, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Super cute and perfect for a summery drink! Thanks for linking up with Funtastic Friday.

    • Reply
      May 23, 2016 at 7:49 am

      Thanks Victoria! I do have to admit that these little guys make me smile every time I see them. Silly, I know, but I love using them 🙂

  • Reply
    May 30, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    I love how simple this is, and they look great!! I love the colors:)

    I’d love it if you shared this at my weekly link party!

    • Reply
      May 30, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      Thanks Ashleigh. Will do!

  • Reply
    June 4, 2016 at 10:23 am

    My oldest daughter is sitting next to me right now and she says “mom we have the same coasters, we can do the same, they are so cool!!” so I think I have one more project on my to do list… endless list by the way!!

    Thanks for sharing with us at Sweet Inspiration, have a wonderful weekend!

    • Reply
      June 4, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Awwww – that’s so sweet. I take that as a real compliment! Hope you both have a great weekend 🙂

  • Reply
    June 4, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Jelica, I love all of your projects, and these coasters are so so my style and very cute! Perfect for a summer outdoor table!

    • Reply
      June 4, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks so much Katrin! I love the versatility of cork. Great for both outdoor and indoor use. And the colour possibilities are endless!

  • Reply
    June 8, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Jelica, these coasters are so pretty. I like the designs and colors you chose. Another beautiful job. You’re right, these coasters would make great gifts.

    • Reply
      June 11, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Thanks so much Keri!

  • Reply
    erica @dwell Beautiful
    June 17, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    These are so fun and just perfect for summer! Love the color palette you chose. Thanks so much for linking up at The DIY Collective! 🙂

    • Reply
      June 17, 2016 at 7:09 pm

      Awww. Thank you!

  • Reply
    June 17, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    The coasters are darling; What fun to paint them. It looks like it would be a relaxing project.

    • Reply
      June 17, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      It was fun to design and then just take a part of an afternoon to paint them. They are still my go-to coasters to use when I am drinking my morning cup of coffee 🙂

  • Reply
    Cassie @ Little Red Window
    June 20, 2016 at 10:57 am

    So cute! I’m impressed with the coverage you got and I love the colors you picked! Thanks for linking up with us at The DIY Collective! Please come back and party with us next Thursday! xoxo! -Cassie @ Little Red Window

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    These turned out great and they look like fun to make. Thanks for joining the Family Joy Linky Party!

    • Reply
      June 21, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      They were definitely a lot of fun to make. Hope you give them a try 🙂

  • Reply
    June 23, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing on Peace, Love, Linkup! The next party goes live tomorrow at 6. I hope you stop by and share more great content : )

  • Reply
    September 3, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Does the acrylic sealer keep hot mugs from sticking to the coaster?
    Thanks! 🙂

    • Reply
      September 7, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      After using these coasters for a solid year now, I would have to say that in my experience a hot mug never sticks to them. The spray sealer has a very fine mist so that there is no ‘layer’ left on top. However, what I do notice is that if I spill any liquid onto the coaster (hot or cold) it occasionally creates ‘suction’ so that when I raise my mug, the coaster is sometimes attached! This would likely be rectified with a heavier, thicker coaster. Hope this helps Natalia!

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