This week I decided to make some 50’s cocktail inspired coasters using air dry clay and share a fun little DIY with you. I’m pretty obsessed with these cocktail illustrations at the moment (you might have noticed them on my scarf design) and I couldn’t think of a better way to include them in my life more. Cocktails on cocktails? It’s always 5pm somewhere!
This tutorial is really easy to follow, but it will take a few days for you to make. So if you’re thinking of giving someone handmade coasters for a housewarming gift, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to make them. All you need is some air dry clay (I love DAS, the smell reminds me of my childhood), some acrylic paint, felt, varnish and basic stuff like a rolling pin, sharp knife and paint brush.
To start, take a good fist full of clay and roll it out onto a chopping board or table. I prefer skinnier coasters to chunky ones, so roll it out evenly to about 5mm thickness. It really doesn’t matter how thick they are, but make sure they’re as even as possible to avoid drink spillage.
Start out by cutting out your main shape using a sharp knife. I know I have a few details I would like to have engraved on my versions, so I gently use the knife to draw in the lip of the glass with 50’s style ‘ting’ and glass details. On my rounded glass I just add in the lip of the glass again as I want to paint in the focal point on that version. To finish off my set up, I decided to add in a cute little slice of lime with the segments etched in … this one is just for fun, but I would say it could fit a shot glass on it. Coasters for shot glasses is a new level of being 30 haha!
Once you’re finished adding in the details to your clay, you’ll need to leave it to fully dry out. This will take between 24 and 48 hours depending on the thickness. You’ll know it’s dry because the clay will become lighter in colour (and slightly colder). You could try this DIY using sculpy or fimo, but I like the idea of kicking it old school. If you’re using those, pop them in the oven for the designated time to harden.
This is the best stage to see how even they are. If you notice they wobble when you touch them, use a little sand paper and smooth out the back of the coaster. Again, we don’t want any drink spillage, so take a little time to check this before you move on!
The next step is painting. Start off by painting your base coat; I picked an off white for the background and covered the whole surface and sides with it. Once that dried, I added in a retro pastel pink shade for the drink, which gives the flat coasters instant depth. The last part of painting is all about the details; black paint for all the engraved lines to make those elements stand out and a cute little red cherry will never go a miss. Little dots and crosses are a really cute way to add in some bubbles and movement. Lovely!!
Once you’re all dried out again, it’s time to add felt. This will stop your coasters from scraping the furniture, which makes it a totally worthwhile process. Simply trace round your shapes onto felt using a little bit of chalk and cut inside the lines to make sure it’s slightly smaller than the clay. It doesn’t need to be perfect – no one will see it. Use some PVA glue or Mod Podge to stick it onto the back. Easy peasy!
Once that’s all dried (I told you there was a lot of waiting on this project!), you need to varnish it to protect the paint and seal all the goodness in. The best varnish to use for this is Polyurethane; it dries hard and glossy and is great for sealing your masterpieces. I bought this one on Ebay, but you can find it in good craft stores too. You’ll need to put 3-4 coats of varnish on it, so paint on thin layers using a brush and let each one dry fully before starting the next. The varnish dries really quickly thank goodness – by this point I was desperate for a cocktail!
As soon as the last coat has dried (enough time to whip up a nice Manhattan!) you’ll be able to use them till your heart’s content. If thats not a reason to crack out the champaign I don’t know what is!
I hope you have fun playing around with this DIY and experimenting with your favourite drinks. I’d love to hear what concoctions you come up with? So team, what’s your poison?