Cutie Mary Blair coaster set project

>> Wednesday, June 20, 2007

This is a little project I just finished which is very easy - anyone can do this for sure. I started out with an old coaster set from Goodwill. It had a plain wooden box and all the coasters had the same Kate Greenaway illustration. I love Kate Greenaway, but this particular image was a little bland, and also they were all the same.
I found my new illustrations from an old Golden Book anthology. Before you are horrified, please note the very bad condition of this book! (Still hard to cut the pages though). The reason I used a book rather than illustrations of my own are because I needed something professionally printed that wouldn't get damaged if it got a little damp. I wanted to be able to actually use the coasters!The next step was to trace the coaster onto a piece of white paper, then cut out the rounded square shape. This gives you a little window so you can frame the exact part of the illustration you want to have on the top of your coaster. After you have determined the placement you can trace an outline in pencil then cut it out. I find that it's best if you make it slightly larger than the coaster, then trim the image once it's attached to the coaster.
I attached the images to each coaster with a little pva glue. I found this kind of glue at an art shop, but other glues would probably work. The tricky part is to brush on enough glue so that your picture adheres everywhere, but not so much that it ends up wrinkled. Try doing a small amount first, then if it's not enough gently lift the paper up and reapply a bit more glue. I found the best amount is the amount you would apply if you were painting the coaster. I didn't add glue to the top of the image - this isn't decoupage - you don't want damp glue on the bottom of your drink!

Finally I primed the wooden box and painted that white. If you already have the glue, an old book you can cut up and some paint, this project can be very cheaply done. I only spent $1.99 at Goodwill for the old coaster set. And look how cute the finished set is!
These illustrations are by the wonderful Mary Blair. Look to vintage Golden books if you'd like to see lots of lovely illustrators. I found some other stories in the book illustrated by Garth Williams, and some by Richard Scarry. It inspired me to see earlier work by these artists (and cheered me up). Just a reminder that most artists aren't overnight successes.


Jannie aka Chickengirl June 20, 2007  

ohh I love Mary Blair and these are great coasters! You are always so creative and crafty.

Susan Mitchell June 20, 2007  

This is a wonderful idea - you are so clever! And of course I now have Mary Blair coaster envy! - beautiful :)

Anonymous,  June 20, 2007  

Wow...I love how you think outside of the box, Claire. I've thought about framing pages from children's art books but now...Hmmm! Love 'em!

Amanda @ June 21, 2007  

oh, those are so cute. I love the illustrations in those 40s-60s children's books. I agree with not wanting wet glue on your glass (and god forbid you paste your drink permanently to the coaster!), but what about clear contact paper? I use it to 'laminate' all sorts of could stick it on your image first then trim it to fit so it was perfect....

Anonymous,  June 21, 2007  

LOVE the chickens and fishes!

test June 21, 2007  

Very cool project. I've blogged it on Illustration Friday's blog as I know others will love your tutorial.


Anonymous,  June 21, 2007  

I was familiar with her work but didn't know much about the lady behind it. Thanks for sharing. The coasters look great.

HOLLi CONGER June 21, 2007  

These are awesome Claire!! A whole slew of those would look great hung on a wall!

Anonymous,  June 22, 2007  

I love your new coasters, really great!!

nicole falk June 22, 2007  

this was fantastic - i totally want to make my own set!

atelierlemlem June 22, 2007  

This looks so lovely! I have a collection of the little golden books myself, although I grew up long ago.. Indeed they have lovely pictures, and they so cheer you up!

with love from the netherlands,
mama lieveheersbeestje

Anonymous,  June 24, 2007  

this is a darling project - my favorite combo of cute + functional. they're adorable!

Unknown June 25, 2007  

They turned out so cute. I love that book "I can Fly", my daughter (3) especially loves the illustrations, so she would really dig those coasters. Very cute!

lullaby jones June 26, 2007  

Wow. You really are inspiring. I love your blog, and this project is amazing.

montague June 27, 2007  

wow so inspiring! I've been checking out my local goodwill every day now in hopes of finding some similar coasters that I can re-do!

Thanks for the inspiration!

Alexis June 27, 2007  

What a great project - cute, clever, functional - I love it!

Anonymous,  June 30, 2007  

These are great! I love using art in a functional way. Now I have to look for an extra Mary Blair book to cut up as well as an old coaster set. Thanks!

Anonymous,  July 01, 2007  

Great idea with the coasters and I love the images you chose. Thanks for mentioning the artist too - I've seen those illustrations but didn't know who drew them. I'm a new fan :)

j. wilson July 11, 2007  

what a grear idea! they reprinted two versions of I Can Fly, one classic golden Book and the other in Board Book format in case you are jonesing for those pics as a book! :)

princesstomato September 10, 2007  

oh i love these! i may have to make some!!! although, i really want THE ones you showed. :)


Jill December 26, 2007  

I've seen Carol Duvall make similar coasters and use a coating of polyurethene to make them waterporoof. I haven't tried it myself.

Karla June 07, 2011  

To cut that book seemed painful but ohh the outcome was beautiful!!

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