Make Coasters to Sell

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Sandstone CoastersIt is easy to make coasters to sell from sandstone, but of course you need a supply of the basic material. Fortunately for me, we live in an area of Colorado which has pockets of sandstone scattered throughout many of the places I hike. So although I have not tried selling them, I have occasionally made drink coasters for our own use. You can see a few of them in the photo here.

I'll explain briefly how it's done. Essentially you just look for appropriate pieces of the rock when you find the right collection area. The closer it is to already being the size and shape of a drink coaster, the less work you'll have to do. The yellowish stone is common here, but I like the white and red ones even better.

Test a small piece to be sure that you can easily grind it down to shape. You can do this by rubbing it on a harder rock. It should be easy to smooth it out and shape it in this way. In fact, one of the primary ways I have made these is to just find a flat rock to work them on while I am out there. To make them with more efficiency though, you should bring them home and designate a work area where you can grind them by hand on a cement tile (you can buy one for less than $2 at any home improvement store).

Make each one large enough for the bottom of even big coffee mugs, and smooth them down simply by rubbing them on the flat cement piece. There may be some tools that will help with this, such as a electric grinder, or an attachment for a power drill which can be used to shape the rock quickly. I prefer round designs, but square is common too.

Any of various basic craft glues will work for attaching felt to the bottom so the drink coasters will not scratch the tables they are used on. The felt can also be bought at a craft store or Wal-Mart. Buy a large piece and cut off what you need for each rock.

How Much Can You Make?

If you collect your own sandstone, the total cost for materials (felt and glue) comes to less than 20 cents each. In the right gift stores they should sell for about $15 for a set of four. I would aim to get at least $8 wholesale per set. If you are artistic you might etch something into the face (a flower?) and so retail them for $24 or more for each set at craft shows.

As mentioned, I have not done this, so I'm not sure about the demand for these coasters or the profit potential (but they do sell them on numerous websites).

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You can look for other natural materials while you are out collecting your rocks. Pine cones are sold by the bag for decorative purposes, for example, and pinion pine seeds can be sold for $10 per pound.

Qualifications / Requirements

You will need to live near or travel to an area with sandstone that you can collect. Collection may not be allowed on some public lands.

First Steps

Get some sandstone and start grinding it into shape.

Resource

Sandstone Coasters - An example of sandstone coasters (square ones) can be seen here.


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