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DIY Salvaged Material Coasters: Functional Art Pieces

DIY Salvaged Material Coasters: Functional Art Pieces

Coasters are essential items in any home, protecting surfaces from unsightly water rings and heat damage. While store-bought coasters can be functional, they often lack the unique and artistic touch that can elevate them from mere practical objects to conversation starters. If you’re looking to add a personal touch to your home decor while also reducing waste and repurposing materials, DIY salvaged material coasters are the perfect project for you. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the art of creating functional coasters using salvaged materials, providing step-by-step instructions, design ideas, and tips for sourcing materials. Get ready to unleash your creativity and transform discarded items into beautiful and practical art pieces!

Gathering Materials

The first step in creating your salvaged material coasters is to gather the necessary materials. The beauty of this project lies in its ability to repurpose items that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Here are some ideas for salvaged materials you can use:

  • Old tiles or ceramic pieces
  • Wood scraps
  • Wine corks
  • Leather scraps
  • Broken CDs or DVDs
  • Vintage fabric remnants
  • Recycled paper

These are just a few examples, and the possibilities are endless. Look around your home, visit thrift stores, or ask friends and family if they have any materials they no longer need. Remember, the goal is to repurpose and give new life to discarded items.

Preparing the Materials

Once you have gathered your salvaged materials, it’s time to prepare them for coaster creation. The preparation process will vary depending on the material you are working with:

1. Tiles or Ceramic Pieces

If you are using old tiles or ceramic pieces, start by cleaning them thoroughly to remove any dirt or grime. You can use warm soapy water and a scrub brush to ensure they are spotless. If the tiles have any sharp edges, use sandpaper to smooth them out and prevent any accidents.

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2. Wood Scraps

Wood scraps can add a rustic and natural touch to your coasters. Begin by sanding the surfaces to remove any roughness or splinters. You can also apply a coat of varnish or paint to protect the wood and enhance its appearance.

3. Wine Corks

Wine corks are a popular choice for DIY coasters due to their unique texture and eco-friendly nature. To prepare wine corks for coaster creation, cut them into equal-sized slices using a sharp knife. Make sure the slices are thick enough to provide stability and prevent wobbling.

4. Leather Scraps

Leather scraps can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your coasters. Start by cutting the leather into desired shapes and sizes. You can experiment with different shapes, such as circles, squares, or even abstract forms. If the leather is too thick, you can use sandpaper to thin it out.

5. Broken CDs or DVDs

Broken CDs or DVDs can be transformed into stunning coasters with a touch of creativity. Begin by breaking the discs into smaller pieces using pliers or by scoring them with a utility knife and snapping them along the score line. Be cautious while handling the broken pieces to avoid any injuries.

Designing Your Coasters

Now that your salvaged materials are prepared, it’s time to unleash your creativity and design your coasters. The design possibilities are endless, and you can choose a theme or style that aligns with your personal taste and home decor. Here are some design ideas to inspire you:

1. Mosaic Coasters

If you are working with tiles, ceramic pieces, or broken CDs, creating mosaic coasters can be a fantastic option. Arrange the pieces in a pattern or design of your choice, and use adhesive or grout to secure them in place. Mosaic coasters can be colorful and eye-catching, adding a vibrant touch to your living space.

2. Woodburned Coasters

If you have chosen wood scraps as your salvaged material, consider woodburning designs onto the surface. Woodburning tools allow you to create intricate patterns, monograms, or even nature-inspired motifs. Finish off the coasters with a coat of varnish to protect the design and enhance the wood’s natural beauty.

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3. Fabric-Covered Coasters

For a softer and more textured look, consider using vintage fabric remnants to cover your coasters. Cut the fabric into the desired shape and size, and use adhesive or a sewing machine to attach it to the salvaged material. Fabric-covered coasters can add a touch of nostalgia and elegance to your home decor.

4. Stamped Coasters

If you want to add a personalized touch to your coasters, try stamping them with your favorite designs or quotes. You can use rubber stamps and ink pads to create unique patterns or even carve your own stamps for a truly one-of-a-kind look. Experiment with different colors and designs to find the perfect combination.

Assembling Your Coasters

Once you have designed your salvaged material coasters, it’s time to assemble them and ensure they are functional and durable. The assembly process will vary depending on the materials used:

1. Tiles or Ceramic Pieces

If you have created mosaic coasters using tiles or ceramic pieces, apply a layer of grout over the design, making sure to fill in all the gaps. Use a damp sponge to remove any excess grout and clean the surface. Allow the grout to dry completely before using the coasters.

2. Wood Scraps

If you have opted for wood coasters, you can simply stack and glue the prepared wood pieces together. Apply a small amount of wood glue between each layer and press them firmly together. Use clamps or heavy objects to hold the pieces in place while the glue dries. Once the glue is dry, sand the edges to ensure a smooth finish.

3. Wine Corks

For wine cork coasters, arrange the cork slices in the desired pattern or design. Apply a small amount of adhesive to the back of each slice and press them firmly onto a backing material, such as a piece of corkboard or felt. Allow the adhesive to dry completely before using the coasters.

4. Leather Scraps

If you have chosen leather as your salvaged material, you can simply glue the prepared leather pieces onto a backing material. Apply a thin layer of adhesive to the back of each leather piece and press them firmly onto the backing. You can use corkboard, felt, or even thin wood as the backing material.

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Finishing Touches

Now that your salvaged material coasters are assembled, it’s time to add the finishing touches that will make them truly shine:

1. Sealant

To protect your coasters from moisture and ensure their longevity, apply a sealant over the surface. Depending on the material used, you can choose a suitable sealant, such as a clear varnish for wood coasters or a waterproof sealant for mosaic or fabric-covered coasters. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying times.

2. Felt or Cork Backing

To prevent your coasters from scratching or damaging surfaces, attach a piece of felt or cork to the bottom. Cut the backing material into the same shape and size as your coaster and use adhesive to secure it in place. Felt or cork backing also adds a professional and finished look to your coasters.

3. Personalized Labels

If you are creating salvaged material coasters as gifts or for a special occasion, consider adding personalized labels. You can use printable labels or handwrite messages on small tags and attach them to the coasters with twine or ribbon. Personalized labels add a thoughtful and unique touch to your handmade creations.


Creating DIY salvaged material coasters is not only a fun and creative project but also a sustainable way to repurpose discarded items. By giving new life to salvaged materials, you can create functional art pieces that add a unique touch to your home decor. Whether you choose mosaic, woodburned, fabric-covered, or stamped designs, the possibilities are endless. Remember to gather your salvaged materials, prepare them accordingly, design your coasters, assemble them with care, and add the finishing touches. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can transform everyday objects into beautiful and practical coasters that will impress your guests and spark interesting conversations. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your materials, and let your imagination run wild!

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