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Molly's Sketchbook: Modular Felt Coasters

Sometimes the most original and creative things are devised because of, and not despite, limitations. These constraints can be practical, like using old clothes or flour sacks to create beautiful quilts, but sometimes they are self-imposed. Think of Piet Mondrian and the De Stijl movement using only primary colors and simple shapes or Henri Matisse creating masterpieces using just scissors and colored paper. 

These Modular Felt Coasters work within the limitations of a grid using only 2-inch squares and right triangles, but the process of creating these coasters is pure invention, much more like play than work! I love how each coaster evolves into its own little treasure, amazingly different from the others despite the similarity of their components.

In addition to being super fun to make, these Modular Felt Coasters are also super simple. Just cut and hand stitch! No machine required, so tuck a Felt Bundle into your carry on or weekend tote. And when you’re done, slip your new coasters under some tall, beachy drinks!


You will also need straight pins and an embroidery needle.

These materials will make 10 coasters. If you’d like to make more, you should know that you will get eight coaster backings from an 18 x 18-inch Precut piece and 2 coasters backings from a Bundle piece. You will be able to embellish at least 20 coasters from all the colored felt. 


4 inches square



From the 18 x18-inch square piece and the smaller piece of the same color from the Bundle cut twenty 4-inch squares. These are the Backing Pieces.

From each piece of the other colors in the Bundle cut two 2 X 8-inch strips.

From these strips cut eight 2-inch squares.

Cut three of these squares in half diagonally to create six 2-inch right triangles.

These are all the Modular Pieces.


Now comes the fun part! Arrange several Modular Pieces on a Square Piece in a pleasing layout. Pin the pieces into place.

Cut an 18-inch length of the Pearl Cotton and tie a knot at the end. Thread it onto an embroidery needle and pull it through the back of the Square Piece to begin sewing on one of the Modular Pieces. You will be sewing along the edges of the Modular Pieces to sew them in place but only around the edges that lie inside the Square and not along the Square’s four sides. (You will sew these sides down in the next step.)

Sew all of the inside sides of the Modular Pieces down with a small running stitch, hiding the beginning and ending knots at the back of the Square Piece. This is the coaster’s Top.

Pin a second Square Piece to the back of the Top around all four sides. 

Cut a 24-inch length of thread and tie a knot at the end and then, entering in between the two Square layers of felt, stitch all of the layers of the coaster together with a small running stitch.

When you have gone all the way around, pull the needle out at the back of the coaster and tie a French Knot (link) at the exit point.  Pull the needle through just the back layer, exiting about an inch away. Snip the thread at the exit point to hide the end. 

Repeat for the remaining Pieces and you’re all done!


Reader Comments (8)

Oh I LOVE these. The colors are unexpected and wonderful . The shapes are perfect. I think I'll make some for hostess gifts.
June 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJosie
They're wonderful! Congratulations on doing such a great job!
June 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterShirohana
These are stunning! One question though, drinks can often leave a ring mark on a coaster. How are these to wash?
June 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHelene
Hi Helene-

You might want to spray them with a stain resister before using them and you can also handwash and dry them occasionally.

Thank you!

June 30, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
These are adorable! Just wondering. Do you completely cover the tops with all the squares/triangles? Or only a few? I can't tell from the pictures. If not, does the coaster seem uneven?

July 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTracey
these are so cheerful and sweet. quick question: i was looking at the different bundles but couldn't see the actual names of colors in each bundle to be able to match them to the name/number of the individual sheets (in the case of your example, the ecru). am i just missing it? i was looking at maybe the dark purple in peony.
July 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterratgrrrl
Hi Tracey-

The tops are not entirely covered so they are ever so slightly uneven. But it's not enough to put your drink in jeopardy! But if you are really worried you could certainly cover the entire top!

Thanks for getting in touch!

July 1, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Ratgrrll-

The dark purple in the Peony Bundle is #24- "Grape". We don't have the individual colors listed for the bundles but I'm happy to let you know any of them! The whole Peony bundle is as follows (from top to bottom):

24- Grape
64 Raspberry
65- Baby Pink
09- Apricot
05- Dark Orange
20- Pumpkin
15- Nutmeg
21- Rust

Please let me know if you need any more help with this. You can also email customerservice AT purlsoho DOT com and they can help you directly!

Thank you!

July 1, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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