When you consider the drink coaster, it is really a very little thing. Usually no more than four inches in diameter, these innocuous pieces are thought of little better than portable trash cans, serving to protect other, more valuable possessions. However, you might be surprised at the multitude of functions and features that your coasters are capable of.
For one thing, the coaster isn’t just a disposable piece of cork anymore. Today there are a wide variety of materials that coasters are made from. With absorbent sandstone, elegant glass, and polished stainless steal models, the coaster has been elevated to a place of status in the home.
While the natural beauty of these various models is considerable, most coasters also have the option of being imprinted with one of an almost infinite number of images. If you don’t mind the lack of absorption and stylistic coaster elements, ceramic pieces can quite easily be purchased, printed with your choice of custom imagery. There are even a number of companies online that will let you upload a picture from your computer, and they will have them printed directly onto the piece and shipped to you. The problem with ceramic coasters is that they are not absorbent, and generally don’t have a lip, which means a wet drinking glass can start to slide around on a warm sunny day.
Paper and cork coasters can also usually have either a black and white or a color image printed on them, although you will generally have to purchase them in the thousands to make this cost effective. This is most usually done by bars, and promotional companies.
One of the newest developments in drink coaster design is the ability to print directly onto a set of sandstone coasters, without detracting very much from the absorbency of the piece. While custom work usually requires a purchase of several hundred pieces, there are hundreds of standard images available in retail stores around the world, allowing you to pick and choose the exact piece that is right for you. Other options for sandstone include sandblasted and chiseled images, which may be expensive, but can’t be beat for style and sophistication.
It is also possible to have images etched or engraved onto glass, although you can’t usually add color to these graphics, without paying for hand painted acrylic pieces.
However, coasters are far more than just decorative items. They are, in essence, functional pieces and they can serve their purpose very well. If you are primarily concerned about moisture on a table top surface, then you need to consider coasters which either absorb moisture, or at least have some sort of lip, which holds the glass and any moisture on its surface in the coasters arms.
Coasters are also often used as secondary ashtrays. If there are smokers in the house, or even if you just have a party and don’t mind people lighting up, a coaster is a great impromptu place to tip the ashes without making a mess.
Another great use for beverage coasters is as an impromptu trash receptacle. It is true we made dispersions about comparisons of coasters and trash bins earlier in this piece, but you can’t argue the utility of it. A whole set of tiny, attractive, portable trash cans, which will keep crumbs and junk off your possessions.
The coasters may be tiny, but with new materials and new advancements in printing technology, they can be a rather important piece of your homes decorative and functional plan.