Customized glass coasters

Back-painted in color, they're easy and fun

Jil Peters

By painting the backs of glass squares ordered from a window glass supplier, you can create distinctive coasters ― for yourself or for gifts. Practical as protectors under wineglasses, they can also be set side by side to create a trivet for a vase or a pitcher.

Simple patterns or solid colors are particularly effective. Because the iron oxide in glass creates a slight green tint, cool colors tend to work better than warm colors, though you may want to experiment.

TIME: 15 minutes to 1 hour per coaster (plus drying time), depending on the complexity of your pattern

COST: $5 to $8 each


* 1/4-inch-thick glass in 4- to 4 1/2-inch squares with polished or sanded edges, cut to order from a window glass supplier

* Thin paintbrush for detail work

* Acrylic paint

* Self-adhesive paper

* Craft knife

* 1-inch-wide foam brush

* Small adhesive-backed felt pads


1. For solid-colored coasters, skip to step 3. On what will become the back of your coaster, paint a pattern with the thin paintbrush. Or, stick adhesive-backed paper to the coaster and, with craft knife, cut out a pattern; apply paint to cutout areas. Allow the paint to dry completely.

2. If you have used self-adhesive paper, score its edges with the craft knife, then remove it.

3. With foam brush, paint the entire surface. For patterned coasters, use a color that contrasts with the pattern. Allow paint to dry completely. Apply a second coat if necessary.

4. Once paint is dry, adhere a small felt pad to each corner, approximately 1/2 inch from the edge of the coaster.


* Acrylic paint can be removed with water, so if you make a mistake, simply run the glass under hot water and the paint will peel off. However, you'll need to be careful when you clean the coasters. Use glass cleaner only on the top surface of the coaster to avoid damaging the painted side.

* To simplify making straight lines or spacing pattern elements evenly, slide a piece of graph paper or a cutting mat beneath the glass as a guide.