I have a lot of old socks that have holes or have lost their pairs. Rather than throwing them away, I decided to repurpose them into unique homemade coasters. Making coasters out of socks is easy, fun, and reduces waste.
The main material I need for this project is old socks made of cotton or wool. I look through my sock drawer and pull out any socks with holes, worn heels or toes, or missing pairs. For this project, I gathered:
- 3 single black cotton dress socks
- 1 single gray wool hiking sock
- 2 white athletic socks with holes in the heels
In addition to the socks, I also need:
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Fabric glue, hot glue gun, or needle and thread
- Parchment paper
Having sharp scissors makes cutting neat circles or shapes from the socks much easier. The ruler helps me measure and cut uniform sized coasters. Fabric glue will bind the sock fabric pieces together while hot glue offers a quick adhesive option. Needle and thread can stitch coasters for a more quilted look. Parchment paper placed inside the coasters makes them more rigid and absorbs condensation.
Cutting and Arranging Sock Pieces
With my materials gathered, I’m ready to start cutting the socks. I use the ruler and scissors to cut lengths of sock material, trying for uniform size and shape. For oval or circle coasters, I cut across the sock tube to flatten it and then trace the ruler shape and cut out the coaster piece.
Cutting different colors and patterns makes the coasters more visually interesting. I cut several oval shapes from the black dress sock and gray wool hiking sock. For the athletic socks, I cut rectangular and square shapes to create a patchwork design.
The diagram above shows how I arranged different colors and shapes of sock for one coaster. Mixing textures like wool and cotton also adds variety.
Binding the Coaster Layers
Next, I bind the layered sock pieces into a coaster. If using fabric glue, I apply a thin layer between each sock piece, press them together, then let it dry.
For a quick option, I use hot glue between the layers, holding pieces together until the glue cools and sets. Hot glue dries rapidly so coasters can be finished quickly. However, it can sometimes soak through delicate fabrics.
Sewing the coaster gives a quilted appearance. I sandwich sock layers between pieces of parchment paper and stitch around the edges using a large needle and embroidery floss.
No matter the binding method, I make sure to fully adhere the sock layers together, leaving no gaps between pieces. The coaster should be stiff and hold its shape once finished.
Creating Fun Shapes and Sizes
These coasters don’t have to be basic circles or squares! Here are some other ideas:
- Cut socks into fun shapes like stars, hearts, or triangles using cookie cutters as templates
- Layer socks pieces in abstract or geometric patterns for a modern look
- For a set, cut coasters in graduated sizes like small, medium, and large
- Cut extra large coasters to hold pots, pans, bowls, or candles
The design options are endless! Use socks with colors and patterns you love to make coasters that match your home decor.
Adding Texture and Interest
Besides arranging different sock fabrics, there are some easy ways to make the coasters more textured and visually appealing:
- Cut small slits into the sock pieces before layering them to add a woven look
- Fray the edges by pulling sock threads for a fringed border
- Use embroidery floss and basic stitches to decorate top of coasters
- Glue on buttons, beads, or patches as an accent piece
Adding dimensional details gives my handmade coasters a crafty, upcycled look.
Protecting and Using Sock Coasters
Now that my one-of-a-kind sock coasters are complete, I want to protect and get the most use out of them. Here are some tips:
- Apply fabric protector spray which prevents stains from soaking into the sock material
- Keep coasters away from direct heat to avoid scorching; use protective pads under very hot dishes
- Spot clean stains gently with a small amount of laundry detergent and cool water
- Rotate use of coasters in a set so they wear evenly and don’t get misshapen
- Store coasters flat to prevent bunching; use parchment paper between stacked coasters
With a little care, unique sock coasters can last for years!
Upcycling Socks is Sustainable and Frugal
Repurposing old socks into handmade coasters appeals to my sustainability efforts and frugal lifestyle. Specifically:
- It keeps socks out of landfills since I am reusing items that would normally be discarded
- No money is required to make custom coasters from item I already have at home
- I am reducing consumption by not buying new coaster sets from stores
- Sock yarn is durable, so these upcycled coasters last a long time
- It cuts down on textile waste from sock manufacturing and disposal
With just a few easy steps, holey socks get new life as decorative, eco-friendly coasters! Using materials on-hand lets me inexpensively make custom home accents.
Tips for Making Sock Coasters
To summarize my experience making reusable coasters from old socks:
- Use socks made of natural materials like cotton, wool, linen, silk, or bamboo rayon. Avoid socks with synthetic fibers which may melt.
- For best results, choose socks that are all the same weight and texture. Mixing very thick and thin socks can cause lumps.
- Cut sock pieces slightly smaller than the final coaster size to allow for fraying when edges get stitched or glued.
- Check that coasters are level by placing on a flat surface before the adhesive sets fully. Weigh down lumps or bulges with books if needed.
- If desired, add non-slip pads, rubber backing, or grip tape to the bottom of coasters to keep them in place on smooth surfaces.
- Make sure to seal edges fully so moisture does not leak between the sock layers and cause odor or mildew.
- Consider decorative finishes like tassels, crochet edging, appliques, or trim to personalize plain sock coasters.
With a stash of old socks and some basic craft supplies, I was able to create a beautiful set of eco-conscious coasters!