When you consider the drink coaster, it’s actually a very small thing. Typically no more than four inches in diameter, these innocuous pieces are considered little better than portable trash cans, which serve to protect other, more valuable possessions. However, you may be surprised at the multitude of functions and features your coasters are capable of.
For one, the coaster is no longer just a piece of disposable cork. Today there is a wide variety of materials with which coasters are made. With patterns of absorbent sandstone, elegant glass and polished stainless steel, the coaster has risen to a place of status in the home.
While the natural beauty of these various patterns is considerable, most coasters also have the option of being printed with one of an almost endless number of images. If you don’t mind the lack of absorbency and stylistic elements of coasters, ceramic pieces can be purchased quite easily, printed with the custom images of your choice. There are even a number of companies online that will allow you to upload an image from your computer, and they will print it right onto the part and send it to you. The problem with ceramic coasters is that they are non-absorbent and typically rimless, which means that a wet glass can start to slip on a warm sunny day.
Paper and cork coasters can also have a black and white or color image printed on them, although you’ll usually have to buy them by the thousands for this to be cost effective. This is usually done by bars and promotional companies.
One of the more recent developments in drink coaster design is the ability to print directly onto a set of sandstone coasters, without detracting much from the absorbency of the piece. While custom work typically requires the purchase of several hundred pieces, there are hundreds of standard images available in retail stores around the world, allowing you to choose the exact piece that’s right for you. Other options for sandstone include sandblasted and chiselled imagery, which can be expensive, but you can’t beat it for style and sophistication.
It is also possible to have images etched or etched onto glass, although color cannot usually be added to these graphics, without paying for hand-painted acrylic pieces.
However, coasters are much more than decorative elements. They are, in essence, functional pieces and can serve their purpose very well. If it’s moisture on a table top that you’re most concerned about, then you should consider coasters that wick away moisture or at least have some sort of lip that will hold the glass and moisture on your surface in the arms of the coasters.
Coasters are also often used as secondary ashtrays. If there are smokers in the house, or even if you’re just having a party and don’t mind people lighting up, a coaster is a great makeshift place to dump your ashes without making a mess.
Another great use for drink coasters is as a makeshift trash receptacle. It’s true that we did scatter on coaster vs. dustbin comparisons earlier in this article, but there’s no arguing the usefulness of it. A complete set of small, attractive and portable trash cans that will keep crumbs and trash out of your belongings.
Coasters may be small, but with new materials and new advances in printing technology, they can be quite an important piece of your home’s decorative and functional plan.