DESIGN YOUR OWN:
Here you'll find some tips and tricks, template files and more to help you with your custom coasters.
If you can't find what you need here, give us a shout and we'll try to help.
TEMPLATE FILES FOR ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR
This will help you get started. Download one of our templates and open or import the file in Adobe Illustrator or another vector graphic application to start creating your custom coasters.
design tips and tricks
Our laser is incredibly precise and can accurately reproduce a lot of very fine details, but there are limits to what can and should be produced with this method.
TYPOGRAPHY: Do not scale typography smaller than 7-8 pt. Every typeface is unique, some work really well at small sizes, others disappear completely. Some things worth considering when setting typography for laser engraving -
Are there very fine hairlines or other small details that need to show up in the design? If the letters have any elements that seem thin or delicate on a screen, they could have trouble showing up and looking the way you expect when the laser tries to engrave them.
Does your font have a distressed or rough appearance? Some typefaces are designed to look like they were printed with a letterpress or silk screen. This style of typography works well in print, but doesn't translate well to the medium of laser engraving, and tends to look unusual and out of place. Think about it this way - you maybe shouldn't design with a font that was created to look like it was produced using a method that embraces imperfections, and then have the design executed using a machine that was designed to reproduce artwork as accurately and perfectly as possible. Having said that, if you really want to engrave graphics in this style, we won't judge.
LINE WORK: Line weights of 0.5pt or lower will be very faint, and may not be visible at all after sanding. If you want to guarantee that your line work shows up, set its weight to 1pt at the minimum.
FINISHING TIPS AND TRICKS
We sand all coasters with 120-150 grit sandpaper to smooth things out and remove the smoke staining that might have accumulated on the surfaces, but they'll arrive to you unfinished. Some folks like the feel of natural wood, how the color fades over time, how drinks stain the coaster with various colors and rings. If you'd rather protect your coasters further, below are some tips and tricks on different finishing formulas and techniques that we've found to work well.
NO FINISH: Go au naturale. Leave your coasters naked. Embrace the spills and stains, the fading color, and watch them evolve over time. The most eco-friendly finish is no finish.
TUNG OIL: We have a completely nontoxic Tung Oil blend that we use for a lot of in-house finishing work that is roughly 3-4 parts Tung Oil to 1 part D-Limonene, which is an all-natural citrus solvent made from orange and lemon peels. It smells fantastic and is very easy to apply. Wipe it on all edges and surfaces with a lint-free rag, let it sit for 3-5 minutes, then wipe off the excess and let it dry to a lustre that lands somewhere between matte and satin. There's really only one thing in the "con" column regarding Tung Oil finishing - it'll be dry to the touch in a day, but won't be fully cured for a week or more. The finish may eventually wear off a bit, but reapplying and touching up is just as easy as the first time. Wipe it on, let it sit, wipe it off, let it dry. No breathing masks are required with Tung Oil + D-Limonene.
POLYURETHANE: Those looking for a longer-lasting treatment that cures to a harder finish should look toward polyurethane. You can wipe it on, brush it on, or spray it on. You can get a water-base or an oil-base version, in various lustres such as matte, satin, semi-gloss, gloss, or high-gloss. Whichever version you get though, when you go to apply it make sure you are in a well-ventilated area and are wearing a sufficient breathing apparatus to protect your lungs.
LACQUER: If your coasters aren't going to get a lot of traffic, lacquer might be your best option. It's easy to apply from a spray can, dries fast (usually less than 1 hour), and is available in several different lustres. It doesn't penetrate into the wood like polyurethane or Tung Oil, but rather lays on top of the surfaces as a protective barrier. If you plan to use lacquer, we recommend at least 2 coats, possibly more, and just like polyurethane, make sure you're in a well-ventilated area with sufficient breathing protection.
To clean your coasters, simply wipe them down with a damp cloth, then give them another once-over with a dry cloth to remove excess moisture, then allow them to air dry for an hour or two on a wire rack or something similar with adequate air circulation.
Do not wash your coasters in the dishwasher! Doing so will ruin your coasters. Anything made of wood should be washed by hand, and these coasters are no exception.