No Thanks
Keep In Touch With

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.


Rope Coasters




It takes no more than a few touches to give your home a summery feel. These coasters will do the trick, suggesting the casual atmosphere of the seaside with their cheerful hues and nautically inspired coils of cotton rope. Since they are inexpensive and easy to make, you can have plenty of them on hand to put alongside all of the iced drinks that you'll soon be serving.


  • Compass
  • Scissors
  • Ball of cotton clothesline
  • Acrylic paint
  • Craft glue
  • Pins


  1. Step 1


    Prepare a cardboard work surface and template for each.

  2. Step 2

    Using a compass, trace a circle about 4 inches in diameter onto a piece of corrugated cardboard.

  3. Step 3

    Snip the end of a ball of cotton clothesline at a 45-degree angle.

  4. Step 4


    Dab the end with craft glue, and fold it over onto itself. Fix to the cardboard with a pin. Carefully coil the rope around, gluing as you go, and secure with a pin every 3/4 inch. At the edge of the template, cut the rope. Let dry overnight. Remove pins, and coat both sides with acrylic paint.

Martha Stewart Living, July 2002



Reviews (28)

  • northernfleeceweaver 13 Aug, 2010

    I have made rope coasters, plus rugs by using acrylics, mixing in fabric medium. I do not use glue but sew with a heavy transparent fishing line. Very strong and also as colorful as you want it to be. Lasts forever, indoors and outdoors.

  • christmaskat58 11 Aug, 2010

    If painting with acrylics will render the coaster non-absorbent, then perhaps you can dye the rope before or after making the coasters.

  • seajewels 11 Aug, 2010

    I've tried having the craft of the day sent to my inbox several times and it NEVER works. I've also tried it with the other workshops and stuff, but still nothing. I've even added all of them to my account. Has anyone else had these problems?

  • fredalee 11 Aug, 2010

    For those of you wondering about the cardboard, when gluing the cord, glue it to the previous round of cord, not the cardboard. If you're neat, you shouldn't have to worry about the cardboard sticking.

  • tina_md46052 13 Jun, 2010

    To be an absorbant coaster, you would have to leave the topside UNsealed. If you were to paint it, it would not absorb, yes it would look pretty, but that's about it. Use a non-water-soluable glue on the one side(what will be the back side) and leave the top side unsealed for absorbancy.

  • tntpasos 25 Dec, 2008

    I have horses, so I used the baling twine on the bales of hay. Once I cleaned them of course. It utilised something that would have otherwise been discarded, is already usable outdoors and brings the aspect of the horses closer for outdoor gatherings.

  • KarenaVigliotti 17 Oct, 2008

    We used hemp jewelry cord for a more organic earthly look. We also opted to wrap the cord and pin the entire coaster and then liberally painted the glue over the coaster. It has seemed to work well.

  • skidmoca 21 Aug, 2008

    If it's cotton, maybe you could dye it first, instead of painting it. That way it would still be absorbent.

  • ldieter 21 Aug, 2008

    I believe that the cardboard is just a template to keep your shape correct until the glue dries.

  • lagunasharona 21 Aug, 2008

    I believe the cardboard is removed when you get to the point of painting the coaster.

  • murmaid 21 Aug, 2008

    i don't think you leave the cardboard on the bottom. When I did this as a summer project with kids at church we took the cardboard off as they were done rolling and let them dry on wax paper. This makes them reversible and you don't have the cardboard there to be ruined when they get wet.

  • nanagramms3 21 Aug, 2008

    I have to say it sounds real tacky with a piece of cardboard on the bottom. I cannot see Martha Stewart using something with cardboard on the bottom in ther elegant house. I believe a piece of cork on the bottom would be a better choice with possibly a small piece of something else between the cork and the coiled rope. Also, I don't see how the acrylic paint can be very absorbent. The moisture would be rolling off the sides and onto the table.

  • Anna_Marie 20 Aug, 2008

    They are absorbent, but if it is a very humid day, they sometimes get damp. Would work great for coffee mugs...something that doesn't get really wet.

  • Anna_Marie 20 Aug, 2008

    I have some similar coasters that are sewn together instead of using glue. The "thread" that is used to sew them is a thin strip of what I call "homespun cotton" fabric...usually comes in a checkered pattern ...and the pattern is woven into the it shows up on both sides. You "stitch" (or wind) fabric over the rope, connecting one row to the next, holding the entire thing together.

  • FouFolle 20 Aug, 2008

    Hey Harmoneybey, for a container you could always use some of the same rope and a largish crochet hook and crochet a simple pot for them. If you aren't up for crochet you could make a matching pot by continuing the circling for a mat for a couple of extra rounds and then just start working upwards (might need to use a glass or jar for support until it dries) , then paint in whatever colour takes your fancy.

  • deezblock 20 Aug, 2008

    This would work equally using a heavy string of tiny beads.

  • LLH 20 Aug, 2008

    For a container: You could attach two large "decorator type" clam shells to a small block of wood cut to the width that you would need to hold six or eight coasters. The "pearleascent" ones would be a good choice......just an idea

  • Jet2Sky 20 Aug, 2008

    Might be a good idea to attach a piece of plastic wrap to the cardboard over the template or you will end up peeling away cardboard from the back of the coaster. This is a great idea, and one even younger kids (7 ) could do! Thanks for the idea!

  • craftyshak 20 Aug, 2008

    would it not be better to use a better glue the craft glue... as whn ya set a glas on there it is going to sweat and the coaster will get wet and possible come apart.. and i think i would sel them after i have painted them if yoiu are using craft paint. if you are using a different paint , read on label as far as it getting wet...but this is a cute idea

  • harmonybey 20 Aug, 2008

    does anyone have an idea for a container to store these in?
    Something in keeping with the nautical theme

  • LoraBeth 20 Aug, 2008

    I would want there to be a waterproof barrier between the rope and the bottom of the cardboard. Perhaps using circles from an old flannel-backed plastic tablecloth would do the trick.

  • CRK9 20 Aug, 2008

    I would be afraid to use these coasters. Since the material is cotton the liquid could soak through and stain the surface underneath. I suggest mounting the rope on a thin sheet of cork.

  • jewelangel 20 Aug, 2008

    After viewing other comments, I see that you are not gluing the rope TO the cardboard so no painting would be necessary if you dyed instead - would have to be very careful about how you glued though.

  • jewelangel 20 Aug, 2008

    These are cute, I dislike coasters that do not absorb moisture, so perhaps another approach would be to dye the clothesline first, paint the cardboard (to match the color you dyed the rope) before gluing the rope on, then they would be able to absorb the moisture.

  • jmsnowmom 20 Aug, 2008

    I would think you have to cover the cardboard template with plastic wrap to keep it from sticking.

  • JoannaCrilly 20 Aug, 2008

    Sounds easy! I'm gonna try it.

  • beachcrafter 20 Aug, 2008

    My husband and daughter did something like this with strips of spool knitting. Used cotton yarn for absorbancy

  • k-9 20 Aug, 2008

    In humid climates, absorbabilty is a plus for a coaster. I wonder if this would work with waterproof glue and not painting the top surface?