As a graphic designer, I'm always thinking of ideas for new personal projects, refining old work, etc. That being said, it should come as no surprise that from the day that Aaron proposed, I started dreaming up big ideas for different ideas for materials for our beer-themed wedding. While the formal invites are a bit more traditional in design (more on those soon!), I wanted to do something light-hearted and bold that really spoke to Aaron and I as a couple.

We're fun-loving, beer drinkers with a love for Milwaukee, so it seemed only right to create a coaster Save the Date. Of course, I didn't want just any coaster. I wanted each coaster to be unique (and perfectly imperfect) in it's own way to give it a personal touch so rather than opt for printed coasters, I designed three custom rubber stamps and stamped and painted each coaster by hand. I know I'm a sucker for behind-the-scenes posts, so for the crafting curious, here's how these little guys came to be!

The Process

Step 1: Back Stamp + Sealer

I started the process by stamping the back of each coaster with one of the rubber stamps I designed. Once the ink had dried, I sprayed each with a matte, water-resistant acrylic sealer (so guest could feel free to rest your ice cold beverage of choice on these little guys).

 

Step 2: Front Spray Paint

I've never been one to find high-gloss materials luxurious. Any time I come in contact with a print design or product that's overly glossy always reminds me of tacky direct mail postcards that are so shiny I can practically see my reflection. To achieve a more refined, matte appearance, I opted to use a navy spray paint that promised a "chalky finish." The description sounds sort of strange, but the results were just what I was looking for! No glossy finishes here!

 

Step 3: Heating Embossing—Impression 1

I had heard about heat embossing before, but I had never tried this process until this project. This is an incredible way to take a rubber stamp design to the level by creating a smooth, raised image that provides a great texture. I did this by first stamping the image onto the coaster using a clear ink made specifically heat embossing. Next, I covered the stamped area with embossing powder, tapped off the access powder, and applied heat using a heating tool that I purhcased at a local craft/paper supply store. Neat!

 

Step 4: Heating Embossing—Impression 2

Even from my very early sketches of how I wanted these coasters to look, I knew I wanted to include an element that looked like a seal of some kind. I played around with several variations (okay, probably too many if I'm being honest) of this seal but nothing resonated more with Aaron and I than this one. Our wedding color is predominately navy with pops of hot pink and touches of gold so it only seemed right for our seal of wedding intentions to shine bright in luxurious gold. Once the second stamp was applied and embossed, the coasters were left to try and then hit with a coat of the same water-resistant matte sealer I used on the back.

 

Step 5: Making + Assembling Cards

I wanted each coaster to look like it was sitting peacefully on a bar at your favorite watering hole without being overly obvious. To achieve a more luxurious wood-like texture, I painted each flat card with a toothbrush using a highly metallic gold acrylic paint (another aspect that allowed me to create unique pieces for everyone). The result catches the light in the most wonderful ways and still conveys the idea of wood. Each coaster was then adhered to a card using washi tape to form custom pull-tabs to help you easily remove your coaster from the card. Then they were lovingly stuffed into envelopes which traveled distances near and far to get to our wonderful family and friends :)

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