On a recent trip to one of my favorite gem supply shops in the Portland area (Ed’s House of Gems as I wrote in an earlier post here) I found some pretty agate slices that seemed like they would be perfect for drink coasters. Sure, I got the idea from Rablabs many years back…but those coasters were $65 at the time and way more than I wanted to spend. So I decided to make my own DIY agate drink coasters – with a little metal leaf to glam them up – and some cork “feet” to protect my table. You can find agate or geode slices many places now (including at your local Michael’s or Jo-Ann Fabrics stores!) and you can buy them on eBay or here as well. I also shared this project idea on Darby Smart awhile ago…but I figured it was high time to turn it into a full-fledged tutorial. So here it is!
agate slices (you can use dyed agate though the dye may bleed a little) / Mod Podge or metal leafing glue / clean, soft brush / metal leaf sheet in your favorite metal color / adhesive cork disks (find these in the furniture protection section!) / small scissors / adhesive sealant (optional, not pictured)
1. Brush the edges of an agate slice with Mod Podge or metal leafing glue. (If your agate is dyed, you may find that the color starts bleeding into the glue here.)
2. Allow the glue to dry a few minutes so it is tacky. Roll onto a metal leafing sheet, pressing hard and covering all edges completely with the sheet. Just rip and reposition!
3. Making sure your brush is completely dry (or just use a different brush), gently brush off the excess metal leaf.
4. Usually the adhesive cork disks that are sold for furniture are too large for coasters, so cut each disk into smaller pieces.
5. Place the cork pieces at opposite ends of the agate slice so the slice will sit level on a flat surface.
And that’s it!
Pretty, colorful, organic coasters add a touch of class to any decor. If you’re concerned about the metal leaf coming off with use or exposure to liquids, I’d advise a quick spray of acrylic sealant around the edges of the coasters to make that permanent.
These coasters look so lovely shimmering in pale colors below translucent drinks!
What do you think? Is this a project you’ll be trying out?
And if you love agate projects
(or need something to do with any extra agate slices you may have acquired ;-)…my DIY Agate Keepsake Box
) materials are still available on Darby Smart
…and you can buy them individually in case you only need one or two supplies. (And…pssst! Right now [early Spring 2016] in Target’s front $1 section right in front of the doors…there are beautiful hinged WHITE wooden boxes…for only $3, which I suggest you snap up IMMEDIATELY to take advantage!)
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So…sliced agate bookends are a big THING…but they can be ridiculously expensive. Just browse One King’s Lane or Joss & Main (and those are discounted to around $66, sheesh!) to see what I mean. Or Z Gallerie to see the full-priced version at $99. Even Target released a pair as part of their Threshold line…and of course the pair is about at the $25 mark. That’s still a price I think I can beat, so I began searching for how to create these lovely bookends for less.
Unfortunately to get good-quality sliced and polished matching agate chunks, you’ll have to pony up some cash, there’s no way around that. If you can score a pair on eBay for cheaper, that’s awesome…just be aware to factor in shipping to make sure you’re getting a good deal (those things can be heavy). Amazon has some great agate bookend options…similar to the lower pricepoint I found mine at – so I’d recommend buying through them!) Personally, I like to source my gems at local rock shops since I can get a pretty good deal depending on what they have in stock – and a favorite of mine is Ed’s House of Gems in NE Portland (don’t look at their website, it doesn’t begin to do this amazing store justice). Needless to say, I managed to find a beautiful pair of agate bookends there recently for a mere $18 – and set out to spice them up and make them look as nice as the Target (or the more expensive!) versions. (You could also cover the rough sides in actual gold or silver leaf if you wanted…but I had some spray paint on hand and figured that would be easiest.)
How to Make DIY Gold Painted Agate Bookends
sliced agate pair | painter’s tape | gold spray paint (here are a variety of great options) | acrylic sealer (optional) | newspapers or something to protect your surface | sticky-back felt dots (optional)
1. Spread painter’s tape over the flat sides of each bookend, extending the tape beyond the side.
Press firmly at the edge where the flat polished side meets the rough, rocky edge to prevent seepage.
2. Place on newspapers outside, and spray the rough, rocky sides gold. 1-2 coats should suffice.
3. Allow to dry.
4. (Optional) Hit the gold-painted side with a coating of acrylic sealer if you’re concerned about the gold rubbing off.
5. (Optional) Place sticky-back felt dots on the underside of the agate pieces to keep your shelving safe.
And there you have it!
You could easily just place the agate pieces as-is on your shelves and none would be the wiser…but I wanted some more finished pieces. They would also make a fabulous gift that looks oh-so-expensive…and you never have to tell anyone that you crafted them for a steal!
If you’ve made your own version of these popular sliced DIY agate bookends – how did they work out for you? Let me know in the comments!
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I LOVE me some freeform, rough-hewn, organic-looking ROCKS lying about the house as home decor (and I’ve been a rockhound for as long as I can remember!). Now it’s particularly fashionable to have some large geode chunk or quartz piece sitting on one’s desk or bookshelf (which looks extremely high-end and chic…just ask Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams). But unfortunately these large hunks of rock just cost so darn much, they’re more an investment piece than something you can just get your hands on easily. I decided to go the DIY route, and make my own version of this ubiquitous geode decor – and use it as my own freeform paperweight for my desk. Plus, it’s waaaaaay cheaper than you might think! (Especially when you have some leftover quartz from other projects, like my DIY Free People Quartz Wrapped Bangle and DIY Free People Gold-Dipped Quartz Necklace.) Here’s how to make your own:
polished quartz chunks (get yours from a rock shop in bulk…I got mine from Ed’s House of Gems in NE Portland) / plastic lid with a lip / Weldbond Adhesive (or other glue for rocks) / clear beach glass (found in the floral section at the craft store – it’s used as vase filler) / gold gilding liquid and brush (optional) / rubber bands (optional)
1. Start by placing your beach glass pieces and favorite quartz pieces into your lid to create the base of the piece. Fit as many as you can so that they are stable on the lid. It’s best to vary the shape and size of the pieces, and mix the polished quartz in with the matte beach glass.
2. Once you’re satisfied with the arrangement, pick every other piece up and carefully add some generous glue along the edges where it touches the other pieces. Some you’ll pick up, others you won’t, but in the end you want all the pieces to have glue along their touching edges. Allow the base to dry.
3. Once the base is sturdy, spread a large amount of glue in all the crevices and gaps [the glue I chose dries clear]. Press stones into the gaps to fill out, paying attention to the overall shape and making it rough and organic-looking like a real geode would be.
4. Allow to dry. You may have to repeat this process a few times until you have built up the top of the piece, since each layer may get too heavy with rocks and they start sliding off before the glue has dried. Finish with a top layer mostly of quartz piece and allow to dry.
5. (not pictured) To make it look like a true rough-hewn geode piece, once dried flip the piece over and glue rocks to the bottom of the base so the base isn’t so perfectly round and the shape of the lid itself. Rubber bands can hold these pieces of rock onto the base until everything is dry.
6. (not pictured) If you so desire, you can give the bottom of the paperweight a layer of liquid gilding…I totally would have, except the lid to my gilding was fused closed and no amount of wrenching would get it off. So I decided the finished paperweight was better without the gold!!
And that’s it! Even though it’s technically just glass and quartz glued together…one would be very hard-pressed to actually figure out that it wasn’t just some cool-looking rock formation.
(P.S. – the beautiful tea roses in the vase are actually one of my favorite Joss & Main purchases! I love their faux florals; these ones are the soft-petaled super-realistic ones.) Plus, the whole project cost me a total of $12.99 ($9 for the bag of quartz, which I had already used for other DIY’s…and $3.99 for the beach glass from Michael’s). I already had the Weldbond at home!
That sounds like a super-bargain, no?!
Hope your office or shelf looks snazzy and lovely with this chic and cheap upgrade. Happy DIY’ing!
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I finally finished a pair of earrings this weekend that I’ve been working on for so long…I had attempted making them numerous times before but just couldn’t seem to get them exactly right.
I’ve always been drawn to the rough imperfections in natural stones and crystals, far more so than anything ever cut or polished by humans. Geodes are the perfect example of this: the jagged, rough crystals inside that are at once both perfectly symmetrical and so perfectly without order.
I surrounded two halves of a split geode crystal (technically a thunderegg, I guess) with black epoxy resin; then hand-set hematite-colored Swarovski crystals around the perimeters. Pewter French hooks finish off the earrings.
Given their sparkliness, contours, and depth I found they were incredibly hard to photograph late in the day and on my own, in the mirror. I’ll have to try when it’s nice and bright outside!
I’m also going to experiment with another pair, this time with Silver Shade Swarovskis around the geodes. I just couldn’t decide whether the dark hematite gray or crystal-like Silver would look better! There’s something I like about the smoky gray color glinting against the black resin, though.
Hope you guys had a great weekend!
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