Ok, I don't think y'all needed a whole week to pound some grommets but I hope you are thrilled with your newly tidy bathrooms! See how simple your life is now? So let's move on to Simple Fix #2. I'm going to do my best to not sound like an infomercial here (too late) but have you ever emptied your clean dishwasher only to find that there are enough dirty dishes sitting on the counter to fill it right back up again? And they are all cups & glasses? We only have four people in our household (give or take a few on any given day) but the top of our dishwasher was filling up daily and the counters were perpetually littered with abandoned drinking apparatuses (apparati?) I tried assigning different types of glasses to each of us but that system didn't stick. (Well, it stuck with me as I was the only one who could remember which glass type was mine and unfortunately now I seem to only be able to drink out of the white ceramic IKEA pub glasses but I'm seeing a therapist and should recover soon). Anyway, for Christmas one year our friends gave us some glass coasters that hold photographs and I got an idea where to use them (since we certainly don't have the type of furniture that requires a coaster...) I slipped photos of each of us into the coasters and lined them up on the kitchen counter. Then I let everyone know that from that day forward that they have to set their glass on their coaster when they are done with it and only use one glass a day. I will admit I was not holding my breath on this one...but turns out it works like a charm! The original glass coasters have since chipped and broken so I made the new ones that you see here. I also added two more coasters (which are not pictured) to the set to accommodate any stray children we might have around.
So, for this project you will need:
- (6-or however many you want) 4" squares of canvas (or fabric of your choosing)
- (6-or however many you want) 4" squares of cork (I cut mine from an old cork wall tile but you can use cork shelf liner, an old bulletin board, readymade cork coasters etc...if you are using the wall tiles you will want to cut them with a very sharp blade. Scissors do not work)
- gesso (if you are using canvas)
- glue (I used Fabri-Tac which has held up well but I would think all-purpose white glue would work too)
- acrylic paint
- painting supplies (brushes, palette, etc)
- polyurethane or similar heavy duty sealant like ModPodge outdoor (heh heh heh...I said duty)
Ok, once you have your 4" cork and canvas squares all set, it's time to give the canvas squares a good coat of gesso. You can do this before you cut them if you'd like. The gesso preps the canvas for paint and will keep the canvas from fraying (if you are using a patterned fabric you should skip this step. Duh, I know. Sorry). Once the gesso is dry go ahead and trim any loose threads from your squares.
Spread a thin layer of glue (or follow label instructions) and adhere the canvas to the cork (if you are super um, methodical you might want to paint your canvas first so you don't get paint on the edges of your cork...but that's up to you). I stacked heavy books on top of my coasters and set them aside to dry overnight because I wanted them nice and flat but you should follow the drying guidelines set by your particular glue.
Once your glue is dry, it's time to paint your designs & names. Or you could draw with a sharpie if that's more your thing. You can even let each family member design their own (if you are not a control freak like I am). Once your paint is dry and you are happy with your designs, coat your coasters with 2-3 coats of your favorite WATERPROOF sealer following the directions on your product's label.
This project has more variations than I could hope to list but a few alternate ideas I had included cutting up an old painting for the canvas squares, simple felt coasters with embroidered names & faces, laminated photos or scrapbook-like collages (with rubber stamps and/or stickers), laminated fabric (here is a great tut for placemats that could be easily altered for coasters), rubber stamps on fabric (like in Amy Karol's awesome book), ceramic tiles painted with tile paint, painted & sealed wood shapes, divided runners or mats...ok, can I stop now? If you only want the system and not the craft, there are hundreds of ready made coasters on Etsy that you could use including these gems. You could also just use coasters you already have. The key, though, for this system's success in our household was personalization with names or photos leaving no room for doubt about which coaster was whose (apparently, using different designs, numbers or colors is too arbitrary for the collective Garrett memory to handle). Whatever you choose, once you have finally have all of your coasters ready, gather your family, make your announcement and sit back and watch your kitchen practically clean itself...