Project Naptime: Painted Cork Coasters

While on maternity leave, I started to get a little stir crazy. I mean, all I’d been doing was taking care of baby and trying to figure out how to abide by the “sleep when she sleeps!” rule — while still managing to shower and eat, too. And it was all I had the energy to do. But after a few weeks, as I was starting to feel more like my old self, I felt the itch. The itch to do something, to create, to feel like myself again. But as any new mom can attest (I hope), I lacked the luxury of time — except for a couple of one or two hour segments in the afternoon when she would finally nap. So I started looking for simple projects that could be done in the space of a baby’s nap (or two).

Thanks to a few months’ worth of Whimseybox supplies, it wasn’t too hard to get inspired to start with a simple project: painted cork coasters.


All it took was two 4-inch cork coasters, a fine tip permanent marker, acrylic paint, a paper napkin and some imagination.

I like the graphic-yet-homey look of Swedish folk art flowers, and after a little Google image searching, I came up with a design that would work with two colors (the natural cork counts as one color).

First, I traced the outline of one of the coasters onto a paper napkin, and sketched my design inside the circle so that I knew it would be the right size and proportion. Then, I positioned the coaster underneath the napkin so that the design was centered (my sketch was slightly off center) and traced over the design with the permanent marker — the marker bled through the napkin onto the coaster, and I was able to reuse the napkin as a template for the second coaster. I saved it, so I can make more identical coasters if I want to.

Finally, I filled in the design with acrylic paint (stiff bristled synthetic brushes work well for detailed work and achieving a smoother brushstroke). I used pure paint for opaque color, but you could water it down in order to keep the cork texture.


Simple, right?! It would be hard to say just how important even such a quick, simple project was in completing my healing process. Rest is crucial, but eventually, it’s time to get back to those other things that make you feel whole. For me, it’s working through the creative process. The new rule? Craft when she sleeps.