How to Make Your Own Wedding Coasters - Verbal to Visual, Doug Neill - sketchnoting

How to Make Custom Coasters

Two things: 1) I got married a month ago, and 2) I made custom coasters for our wedding, and in this post I’m going to show you how.

For this project I got to use the skill that I teach here (a skill called sketchnoting) to contribute to a significant life event, and I had a blast working on it.

So let me share it with you.

Why Wedding Coasters?

The main reason we decided to make custom coasters for our wedding was because we wanted to share a keepsake that our guests could take with them, to remind them of that particular day, that particular celebration, and hopefully all of the fun that they had.

We settled on coasters because we like the fact that they’re functional – they could be used during the wedding itself and also after the wedding if folks decided to take them home.

Wedding coasters: personalized (and functional!) mementos for your guests.

They were also functional in that we used them to let folks know where they were sitting.

We tried to be very intentional with our seating chart, and this was a simple way to let folks know what table they were sitting at on their way into the venue.

Welcome to our wedding! Grab your coaster and find your seat.

We also chose coasters because we knew it was something that we could personalize, so let’s get to that part next.

Creating Custom Coasters

As it turns out, it’s pretty easy to get your own coasters made.

We used a service called For Your Party (by the way, this is not a sponsored post).

We used a service called For Your Party to produce the coasters.

On that site you can make all sorts of customized party accessories, and most important for our purposes here, you can upload your own artwork to be printed on those objects.

Pick your customizable product.

We, of course, went with the coasters: round in shape, eggshell in color.

Plenty of options when it comes to coaster details.

I uploaded the image that I had sketched out (more on that image later in this post), selected the matte black color option, adjusted the size to make it as large as possible, and placed it as much in the center as possible.

A preview of the final product.

They give you a pretty good preview option to get a sense for what it will actually look like, and then you just decide how many you want.

We were expecting about 150 guests but we wanted some extras, so I think we ordered 175.

You’ll notice there’s a $50 fee if you are uploading your own custom artwork.

That’s because they make a custom metal stamp of your artwork, which gives the final product a letterpress feel with a bit of indentation.

The slight bit of indentation was a nice touch.

You can choose to just go off of the reference image on the site, or you can get a digital proof sent to you, which gives you one more opportunity to see what the image will look like before they make that metal stamp of it.

I’d like to give a shoutout to For Your Party’s customer service because I went with the print as-is option, but then a day later I actually had some small adjustments that I wanted to make to the artwork! With just a bit of email correspondence I was able to share the updated artwork, and they even went ahead and created one of those digital proofs just to make sure it looked the way I wanted it to, and that was a big help.

The Delivered Products

It was very exciting to get the stacks of coasters in the mail!

How pretty is that stack!?

I intentionally left a bit of space at the bottom of the design so that I could add in the name of each guest as well as their table number.

We left space in the bottom of the design to add a guest’s name.

Using a black pen in my handwriting made it all feel cohesive – consistent with the design itself.

A personalized coaster for each guest!

Overall I’m very happy with how the coasters turned out and the role that they played in our wedding. Our guests seemed to enjoy them as well!

Creating the Coaster Design

Let me next share with you how I created the design.

I started with some pencil sketches. Initially we had the idea of going with hexagon coasters.

Round one of pencil sketches.

I knew I wanted to have “Shelby and Doug 2019” on there somewhere, but I also knew that I wanted some imagery, potentially a sketch of our house.

I abandoned that idea pretty quickly and decided instead on imagery related to where we live and where we met: Portland, Oregon.

I ended up landing on a design that captures some important features of the city that also played a role in our relationship.

The final design, with imagery from Portland, Oregon.

Some water for the Willamette River that splits the city in half.

The Hawthorne Bridge which turns into Hawthorne Avenue because when we first met, Shelby was living just north of Hawthorne Avenue and I was living just south of it, so we’ve got lots of memories connected to that area.

And then we’ve also got Mount Hood in the background, just as a reminder of all the outdoor adventures over the years.

From there I went over to the iPad.

I’ve got an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil and I used the app Procreate.

Initially I thought I might want to include more text than I actually did, some text that shared a bit of our story.

The first attempt at the digital sketch (too cluttered).

The house that I first lived in was called The Yard (because milkshakes). Shelby’s house was called The Madhouse (because it was on Madison Ave). And now we live in the Montavilla neighborhood with our dog Murphy.

Even though I liked the idea of trying to include some of our story on the coaster itself, that design felt a little bit too cluttered, so I decided to get rid of that text and instead just add the city, state, and date for a simpler, cleaner look.

The simpler and cleaner design that we went with.

I then exported that as a transparent image and that’s what I uploaded.

And again, I’m really happy with how they turned out and the role that they played in our wedding!

What will you make for your next event?

So, if you’ve got an event coming up that might benefit from some custom coasters or other objects, consider creating a sketched version that personalizes them a little bit to make them that much more meaningful for you and for your guests.

Build Your Sketchnoting Skills

If you’d like to strengthen your writing and drawing skills to be able to make your own designs or take notes in a more visual way (that’s what sketchnoting is all about – incorporating quick sketches and diagrams into the note-taking process), then check out our online courses, starting with An Introduction to Visual Note-Taking:

Reconnect to making marks by hand as you learn to use text, layout, imagery, and color to engage your visual brain.

That course will walk you step-by-step through the process of developing all of the individual skills you need, and then you’ll get to bring those skills together into your own sketchnoting process.

You can also check out our full course library here.

Good luck with your next creative project, wedding-related or otherwise!