Drink and Be Merry

This Skillshare class was another wonderful learning opportunity from Mary Kate McDevitt. The objective was to create a vintage-inspired design.

I was creating pieces to sell at a holiday bazaar. I had tons of ideas floating around in my head, but for the sake of this project I narrowed it down to a set of wooden coasters. They were to be stained with a stain pen and coated with varnish, so my design needed to be a simple 2-color piece.

Mary Kate introduced me to what is now my go-to process. You gather inspiration pieces, print them out, then actually draw the details that you were attracted to. I really enjoyed the process of copying what I liked about each piece in my mood board. For some reason, it had never occurred to me to do that before.


Many of the things I liked on my mood board were intricate. It was a fun challenge to simplify those details for the coasters.

These are my sketches recreating the pieces I liked from my mood board. I combined a couple of the ideas just to see what they would look like together. I also played around with seeing how the designs would look using the words from my project instead of the original words from the packaging.

I really, really like the idea of different circular designs around the words. That small detail is from the red “Prep” tin at the bottom left of my mood board. It would be a great way for the pieces to look similar, but still be different. But I struggled to figure out what circular design to do for the words “and” and “be” so I nixed that idea for this project (I did use it on my greeting cards though).

I went back to square one and roughly sketched one of my favorite pieces from my mood board. This helped me to come up with a different approach for the coasters. Beside it are two thumbnails that nail down the look. Then I created some more refined sketches based on the new design.

Here is an even more final sketch that I did on tracing paper. (Side note: I had never used tracing before, and man was I missing out! I can’t believe it took me so long to start using it. I just bought a cheap pack from Target, and I love that my pencil lines don’t smear.)

Finally! My original plan was to use stain pens on unfinished wooden coasters. Boy, did that fail. The stain smeared into the grain of the wood so everything looked awful. Plan B was to use paint, so that’s what ended up happening. The colors I chose were a deep red/crimson and metallic gold. They didn’t turn out as perfect as I wanted because I don’t think I simplified my design enough. However the imperfections add to the handmade look!