Coasters are that item that you don’t think you need until you actually need them. This simple craft project produces a petit version of regular sized coasters to suit Japanese, Chinese, and Korean style teacups with a narrower base. Natural-looking yet finished, these artistic little rounds are designed to complement the beauty of any Asian-inspired tea experience.
There’s something that I love about the shiny thickness and clarity of lacquer that I wanted to re-create with this project. For me, the best medium for a pretty, glistening lacquer finish is wood. To start, I use some unfinished wooden disks that are easily found in the wood section of your local craft store.
The rounds are only a little over 2″ across and 1/4″ thick. I like that the wood rounds are sturdy and have weight to them, since many Asian-style teacups are heavier and bulkier than English-style teacups. Use whichever size rounds suit your teacups, even larger or thinner ones will work great.
The lacquer finish on these coasters is achieved by none less than 3 kinds of Mod Podge. If you are wondering–no, I’m not being sponsored by Mod Podge for this post. I just love the stuff! The most unique of the 3 “Podges” is Dimensional Magic (the yellow one). Dimensional Magic creates a clear yet slightly puffy surface that is water tight, which helps to protect and preserve the beauty of the chiyogami paper used here. With this special resin, a quick rinse or wipe with water won’t be problem for these coasters.
I used a set of origami paper that came in riffs of gold and black to help this coaster set look cohesive without looking boring. Feel free to use whichever decorative papers look good to you, but try to pick a paper with good-quality texture and a pretty print that won’t warp after you apply glue to it. Chiyogami’s fibrous composition makes it malleable and soft, especially after it comes in contact with glue, which means that it adheres to wood like fabric would.
The longest and hardest part of making these coasters is waiting for them to dry. Although the Dimensional Magic glue states to wait just 3 hours, it’s really a good idea to wait a full 24 hours before putting these coasters to use. The thick layer of glossy resin will dry hard, clear, and ultra-sturdy this way, making it ready to withstand the weightiest cup of fragrant Asian tea.
Asian Teacup Coasters
What You’ll Need:
spice jar lid or other hard round with a diameter 1/8″ less (slightly less) than the wood rounds
glue sponge or brush
glue for paper (I used Mod Podge for Paper)
clear acrylic sealer ( I used Mod Podge Super Hi-Shine)
Mod Podge Dimensional Magic (do not shake before using)
pieces of paper or cardboard to use as a work surface
1.) Use X-Acto Knife to cut a round of origami paper that is 1/8″ less than the diameter of the wood round. Find a perfectly round and hard object to do this (I used the top of a spice jar). You can use a camera lens cover or the lip of a small bowl/ glass to do this. You can also use a round circle paper punch if you can find the right size. Cut the circles out over a covered, cut-friendly work surface. Please take extra pre-cautions and care when using an X-Acto Knife…they are so incredibly sharp!!
2.) Use a sponge brush to lightly apply an even layer of paper glue to the back of each origami paper round. Apply the glue all the way to the edges, then stick the paper round directly on top of the wood round, keeping it in the center so that there is a bit of a wood border around the paper round. Let the rounds dry for 10 minutes.
3.) Now use the acrylic sealer spray to evenly spray over and around the sides of each coaster. I apply 3 coats, each about 5 minutes apart in a well-ventilated place. After you’ve applied the 3rd coat, let the coasters dry for 1 hour.
4.) After 1 hour, apply the Dimensional Magic on top of the edge of the paper and gently nudge it to the end of the coaster without actually letting it drip over. With this step we are sealing the paper so that it can’t come in contact with water later.
5.) After sealing the edge of the paper round, then gradually fill the center portion of the coaster completely and evenly with the Dimensional Magic. Take care to cover the paper completely, with no gaps or air holes in it. When it is applied, the Dimensional Magic is slightly opaque, but don’t worry–it will dry completely clear. If you notice an air bubble, use the X-Acto Knife to pierce it (then wipe off the knife carefully).
6.) Let the coasters dry for a full 24 hours, until completely hardened and clear. If they need to be cleaned, the best way to do this is by wiping them down with a damp paper towel or washcloth. Asian Teacup Coasters are a great entertaining accent and also make a unique little gift or party favor.