I know it’s too late to make a set of felt coasters for this Christmas, but I couldn’t share my latest non-pattern pattern until the family members I made these for had opened their gifts on Christmas Day.
The good thing is people need coasters year-round, and you can incorporate any types of designs you like. I like to stick with no more than five colors so there’s a cohesive look, but have fun and play around. There are no rules.
The inspiration for these coasters came from Instagram. I was scrolling through my feed and saw a photo of a mug sitting on a felt coaster. They intrigued me enough to ask the poster more about the coasters. She said they were made long ago by her mother, and she cherishes them.
Hers were square with rounded corners, but I opted for circles. (For the record, I traced around the inside of an embroidery hoop I keep in the box of embroidery floss.)
I could see my Instagram friend’s coasters were two pieces of felt sandwiched together with a blanket stitch. Simple. Not only does that offer an extra layer of protection between a cold glass or hot cup and your furniture, but the bottom layer also hides the knots and stitches from where the decorations are appliquéd to the top piece.
I happened to have several sheets of craft-store synthetic felt on hand. It’s an ideal choice for this project since it tends to be colorfast; wool or wool-blend felt might not be colorfast, so you can test it by putting a snippet of felt in a dish of hot water for a few minutes to see if the color bleeds. You don’t want the colors to bleed into each other. When I started I had no idea what I’d come up with, but I made four coasters in less than three hours.
It’s too simple not to give it a try:
Step one: Cut fronts and backs for your coasters
I chose a different color for the front and back of each coaster, but you can do whatever you like. If you don’t have an embroidery hoop, trace around a small bowl or cut squares. You could do scalloped edges, flower shapes—there are a lot of shapes that will work. Whatever shape you choose, make sure they’re large enough to accommodate most mugs and drinking glasses. You don’t have to be precise—I love a peek of color from the reverse side showing here and there.
Step two: Plan your designs
I thought about what types of Christmas designs I could appliqué onto the coasters, especially given the colors I had to work with. Trees, wreaths, candles, bells, stars, stockings, ornaments, and my personal favorite, Christmas lights.
You quickly realize some shapes are easier—or harder—to cut out. The bell did not go well, so I used the gold felt for stars. They were challenging, but I liked the end result.
If you’re good at embroidery, you might prefer to embroider designs instead of appliquéing cut-outs.
Step three: Arrange your decorations
Position and pin your decorations to the top piece of felt. Honestly, since the felt doesn’t slip around much, you could even skip the pinning if you like.
Step four: Appliqué
I wanted a folksy, hand-made look, so I used black embroidery floss to attach most of the appliqués with bold, and intentionally irregular, stitches. I didn’t even split the floss so it would really stand out. Another choice would be to attach the pieces with a blind stitch using matching floss. It’s up to you.
Step five: Attach the backs
The easiest way to secure the tops and bottoms of the coasters is with a basic blanket stitch. There’s a good tutorial video on You Tube that demonstrates, quickly and clearly, just how simple it is to do.
Once again, I used un-divided black embroidery floss for a bold, decorative look.
I wasn’t at all precise in stitch length or spacing between the stitches because I wanted a random, primitive look to the coasters.
That’s literally all it takes to make practical, pretty coasters. For me, the hardest part was cleaning up all of the tiny bits of felt that fell on my lap when I was trimming pieces.
Now for a quick peek at the backs of some finished coasters:
Look at that—they’re reversible! Even if you top your coasters with seasonal designs, just flip them over they can still be used during the off season.
I made the first four coasters as an experiment. I thought my sister would like them. (She did.) The coasters were so quick and fun to do—and I had enough felt left—so I decided to make another set for my brother and sister-in-law—and finally a set for myself.
What handmade gifts did you get or receive this holiday season?