Every day, thousands of desks, coffee tables and other assorted items of furniture are permanently damaged by hot beverages. This hidden menace could easily be stopped by the simple use of a coaster. However, coasters are often lost, stolen or simply not available. This entry to aims to provide the Researcher with a knowledge of how to produce their own coasters for free, while enjoying the pleasure of making something for oneself.
The Old Vinyl Coaster
- At least one vinyl record
- Heat Source
- Drill with circular cutting attachment
The idea with the vinyl coaster is to cut away all the black part (ie, the bit with the music on) and use the label as a coaster. Although some people regard destroying music as a heinous crime, cutting up that copy of The New York Welsh Male Voice Choir sing the hits of Simon and Garfunkel can be strangely rewarding. There are two ways to cut your vinyl record:
Gently heat the record, either in an oven (5-10 minutes at about 100°C (210°F) should melt the vinyl nicely) or over a controlled flame. This will cause it to become much 'softer' and you will be able to cut it easily.
Using an electrical drill with a circular cutting attachment, carefully cut round the label in the centre of the record.
The label at the centre will be the perfect size for most hot beverages. Be sure to remove any sharp edges using sand-paper. Although not essential, a felt base may be added to provide protection.
The Slate Coaster
- A flat piece of slate - other rocks will suffice, but slate is best
- Something harder than your flat piece of slate
Take your piece of slate and chalk onto it the outline of your coaster. Then, find a suitable place to rest the slate1. Keeping your fingers as far out of the way as possible, gradually chip pieces off the rock that will become your coaster. This is done much in the same way as a cave-man fashions an arrowhead or flint axe. Continue to do this until the slate takes the desired coaster shape. When complete, glue a circular piece of felt onto the reverse side of the coaster to prevent damage to furniture. Although not ideal for dainty champagne glasses, your new coaster is more than capable of dealing with large tea mugs and even smaller coffee filters.
Themed Wooden Disc Coaster
- Interesting paper items to be glued to the coaster
- Wooden discs2 or old, unwanted coasters
- Clear Varnish
This design allows for a large amount of personal preference. Items such as stamps, photographs, train tickets or newspaper clippings can be glued to the discs to create the desired theme. When the glue has dried, apply a coat or two of clear varnish to protect the coasters from heat and liquids.
Floppy Disk Coaster
- One or more floppy disks
- Sticky-back plastic
Any computer programmer will be familiar with the utilisation of the humble floppy disk to hold their caffeinated beverages as they program deep into the night. However, through over-usage the floppy disk coaster will rapidly deteriorate into a mere shadow of its former self. To protect them, a cover of sticky-back plastic, or laminate, may be applied. A base of felt can also be used to prevent coaster-to-desk slippage.
- At least one CD
- Cutting Instrument
A CD coaster is the perfect way to turn your embarrassing music collection, broken software or annoying ISP junk mail into a fashionable, shiny drinks mat. Although CDs in their normal circular shape make reasonable coasters, discs can be modified into a variety of much more interesting designs.
The most practical CD coaster design is one where the CD is 'trimmed' down to make it a smaller size - 8 to 9cm is roughly the optimum diameter. The coaster needn't be circular though; for example, a jagged edge could be used to give the CD a futuristic effect. Heating a CD in either boiling water or an oven will soften the plastic, making it much easier to cut. Cutting CDs 'cold' is OK, but you will need a saw. When all cutting is done, be sure to use sand-paper to smooth off any sharp edges.
A circle of felt with a radius smaller than that of the coaster will protect surfaces and give the item a more 'professional' look. Also, using two CDs and gluing them together will create a more durable coaster.