Small Things: DIY Fabric Instagram Coasters

I’ve been on the prowl for coasters for what seems like months. About four years ago, I bought a set of coasters handmade from old Queen records backed with cork, but frankly they’ve seen better days.

Aside from most readily available options being too cheap, too expensive, or just plain boring, my biggest hurdle has been the fact that I don’t really like coasters made of hard materials. The glass-on-glass sound of putting a ceramic mug down on a piece of tile? Just don’t like it.

And the condensation: hard coasters always seem to get stuck to the bottom of my glass, where they threaten to fall to the floor and break, or land corner-first to dent your coffee table. Fact is, coasters made of soft, absorbent materials don’t have these kinds of problems.

I was uploading some Instagram photos to Spoonflower as an experiment, thinking about sewing up some photo pillows for the new couch, when I realized that the photos were almost exactly 4 inches when printed… sounds like the perfect size for a coaster, doesn’t it?

I’ll be posting the step-by-step instructions for this DIY in two different posts. First, we’ll talk about how to download your photos, assembling them into a photo collage, and finally ordering your fabric. Second, we’ll talk about assembling the physical stuff into a finished product.

You get a lot of bang for your buck – this project will take you through making 28 coasters for about $20, assuming you have some scraps and other supplies already on hand. These would be great for a party (maybe even wedding favors), or you could make one set for yourself and make some for your best buds as gifts!

They’re even reversible.

If you don’t need 28 coasters, you can adapt these instructions to make 4 coasters for about $6, by ordering a test swatch instead of a fat quarter when it comes time to place your Spoonflower order. You can also use your custom fabric as both the front AND back fabric, to make 14 coasters with 28 different images.

What you need:

  • Technology (All free!)
    • An Instagram account (with at least 28 photos you want to make into coasters!)
    • A Spoonflower account
    • Google Picasa (unless you’re a Photoshop pro, in which case you can ignore the Picasa part of the tutorial)
  • Craft ($17 – 25 depending on what you have on hand)
    • Quilting tools: Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler (not really necessary, but they make it so much easier to cut perfect squares!)
    • Scraps of sock yarn, or embroidery floss, in your choice of colors
    • A craft needle with an eye wide enough for your yarn, but sharp enough to go through two layers of thick fabric
    • A Fat Quarter of Heavy Cotton Twill in your custom fabric from Spoonflower ($17.30 including shipping)
    • An 18 x 29 inch scrap of canvas, felt, denim, or upholstery weight fabric for backing (I used canvas dropcloth leftover from my roman shades)
    • Applique adhesive or quilting spray adhesive
    • Bias tape or ribbon (Optional)

We’ll get started with the tutorial tomorrow, but you can get a head start by thinking about which Instagram images you want to use, downloading Google Picasa, and setting up an account as Spoonflower.