by Chris Gardner from ManMadeDIY.com
Coming up with the perfect Father's Day gift is really a simple formula: it should be equal parts functional, classic, and stylish, with a dash of long-lasting and a bit of handcrafted. We think these simple leather coasters fit the bill perfectly, but here's the catch: instead of handing your dad or partner a pile of coasters and a bottle of wine, you're going to gift them all the tools and materials to make the coasters themselves. So gather up some tools, materials, and a couple of glasses, and let's celebrate a Father's Day worthy of the Goode Life.
Step One: Assemble the Kit
First, let's source all the materials for the project. This coaster project makes a great introduction to leatherworking since it doesn't require any specialized tools, and you can find everything you need easily and inexpensively.
- One 12x12 piece of 7-8 oz veg tanned leather
- A flat washer, about 1" outer diameter (15¢ at your local hardware store)
- Craft knife
- Steel ruler
- Acrylic Resolene Leather Finish
- A small square of canvas cloth (use an old tote bag or check the scrap bin)
- 220-grit sandpaper
- Instructions sheet: Follow the guide below to make your own custom how-to.
Step Two: Cut to size
Okay, from here on out, we're showing you how to make the coasters. Use the instructions and photos here to format your own step-by-step guide for extra handcrafted points! Print it out and include it in a box with all the materials to complete the gift.
Cut the leather with the craft knife and steel ruler into 4x4" squares. If you plan ahead, you should be able to get nine coasters from one 12x12" piece of leather.
Step Three: Round the corners
Use the washer as a guide to round off each corner. Place the washer just a bit off each edge, and then follow the edge of the washer to make several shallow cuts. Make sure to keep the knife blade perpendicular to the surface. Once you remove the washer, you'll have two small corners at the either side of the curve. Place your blade at 45°, and trim each of these off. If you need to, use the sandpaper to shape the edges for a smooth, subtle transition.
Step Four: Burnish the Edges
Burnishing edges accomplishes several things. It 1) smooths the edges, which can be quite sharp, 2) polishes the rough edges for a clean look, and 3) fuses the fibers together so they won't fray in the future. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest is just to polish with a piece of canvas.
To do this, wet the edges with water, and firmly rub the canvas back and forth. Use similar pressure to sandpaper on wood or using a pencil eraser. As you work, you'll watch the edge begin to polish and a cool, hand-rubbed look.
Step Five: Seal the Leather
Coasters, by definition, are intended to interact with moisture so you don't damage your furniture. So we'll want to seal the coasters themselves to protect them from liquid. Use a sponge brush and follow the directions on the resolene to create a thin, protective coat.
Allow the coasters to dry thoroughly, then pour yourself a glass of Murphy-Goode Pinot Noir to celebrate your work!
Looking for more great Father's Day gift ideas? Check out this 42 Awesome Father's Day Gifts You'll Actually Want to Give (or Receive) This Year over on Man Made.