We hope that you’ve been reading along and have found helpful information in our past few posts. For the last tutorial in our “how-to” series, we’re providing you with instructions on how to design a leather coaster. Though coasters may not be high on your priority list, we think they’re a great way to practice design and detail skills, and can add a great accent to your home decor! Keep reading for our tips, but also feel free to get creative and explore designs that you enjoy!
Like with any new project, you’ll want to make sure you have a clean workspace and all of the necessary tools. The recommended materials needed include: leather scraps (preferably full-grain or top-grain leather), sharp scissors or a utility/Xacto knife, ruler, cutting mat, leather punch, leather stamps and/or tooling set, wooden mallet, hammer, leather dye (optional), needle and waxed thread (optional for stitching), leather finish/sealer, sandpaper (fine-grit), and leather conditioner.
Measuring and Cutting
Now that you’ve got everything you need, the first step is to measure the desired size for your leather coasters. Using a ruler, mark the dimensions on the backside of the leather scraps. You can opt for square, rectangular, or circular shapes, depending on your preference. Once marked, use sharp scissors or your utility knife to carefully cut out the coaster shapes. Be careful to cut with clean, straight lines for a polished finish.
Adding Decorative Touches
Step two is the stage to get creative. Consider adding decorative elements like embossed patterns, personalized initials, a brand, or stamped designs to your leather coasters. You can use leather stamps, letter stamps, or even freehand techniques using a tooling set to achieve your desired effect. Make sure to dampen the leather surface first in order to soften it as this will allow the leather to take the stamp. Your workspace underneath needs to be sturdy and hold the leather in place. Using your wooden mallet, strike the stamping tool into the leather. Do not use a metal hammer as it may damage your stamping tool. Remember, if you are still building confidence, you can always practice your technique on leather scraps before working on your coaster. You may also consider sketching your idea in pencil on the coaster to have a pattern to follow. When you are ready to work on your coaster, be sure to finish any designs before moving on to the next steps.
Feeling stumped on what designs you’d like to incorporate? Check out our finished coaster products for inspiration!
Punching the Coaster Edges (Optional)
For an optional step three, you’ll want to use a leather punch to create evenly spaced holes along the edges of each coaster. These holes will serve both an aesthetic and functional purpose, allowing you to add stitching for added durability and style. We recommend taking your time to ensure that the holes are evenly spaced and aligned.
If you wish to add color to your coasters, now is the time to apply leather dye. If you decide to dye your coaster, be sure to smooth the edges (as discussed in the next step) before applying the dye! Follow the instructions on the dye package for the best results. Use a soft cloth or brush to apply the dye evenly over the entire surface of each coaster and be sure to allow the dye to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Smoothing and Finishing
If you find that there is a roughness or unevenness around the edges of your coaster, use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth them out (you can skip this if you already completed this step before dyeing the leather). This simple step ensures a refined and professional appearance. After you’re pleased with the texture, apply a leather finish or sealer to protect the coasters from spills and stains. As with dyeing, be sure to allow the finish to dry according to the product instructions.
If you want to add a touch of elegance and reinforce the edges, stitching is a great option. Thread a needle with waxed thread, and starting from one hole, carefully stitch through each hole along the coaster's edge to ensure even and consistent stitches. Once you reach the starting point, tie off the thread and trim any excess. Helpful tip: this may be another technique you prefer to practice before working on your coaster. Using a leather scrap, punch evenly spaced holes and practice your stitching through them. Once you feel ready, replicate the process with your coaster.
The last step in crafting your new coaster is to apply a leather conditioner using a soft cloth. This process will maintain the longevity and suppleness of the coaster. Just gently rub the conditioner into the leather, covering the entire surface. Then, allow the conditioner to absorb and dry fully as per the product instructions. Once this step is complete you’re done!
Crafting your own leather coasters allows you to combine functionality and style while adding a personal touch to your living space, and they also make great gifts! By following these steps, you can create unique and visually appealing coasters. Remember to choose high-quality materials, take your time with each step, and enjoy the process of creating your own handmade coasters. With a little effort and attention to detail, you'll have a set of leather coasters that are guaranteed to impress! Or, if your first set didn’t come out quite like you’d hoped we also have a great variety of coasters available until you’ve gotten a little more practice crafting your own!