DIYdiy projects

diy project: jessica’s postage stamp coasters

by Kate Pruitt

I’m getting ready to go running off to complete the zillion post-holiday errands I have on my plate, but I decided I simply must add the supplies for this project to my shopping list. Jessica is a graphic designer by trade, which is clear to see from her choice of prints for these adorable coasters that she whipped up in no time.  Jessica found these images on the flickr site of Karen Horton. Karen has amassed a treasure trove of amazing images of old postage stamps and labels. With a few simple materials, Jessica fashioned these “jumbo stamp” fabric coasters, complete with perfectly pinked edges.

This is the perfect project for a laid-back weekend, especially because Jessica and Karen have graciously made the stamp designs available for download. I can’t wait to make little sets of these for holiday gifts as I huddle next to my space heater:) Thank you for sharing your awesome project, Jessica! And thank you to Karen for sharing your images as well. —Kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • White felt
  • White cotton fabric
  • Iron-on transfer paper, available at office supply stores
  • Postage stamp images
  • White thread
  • Computer and printer
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Pinking shears
  • Pins
  • Needle or sewing machine


1. To make the coasters pictured here, download the printable 2-page PDF and skip to step 3. If using your own images, scale each postage stamp to approximately 4″ x 4″.
(note: images in PDF are reversed so they will transfer properly)

2. Reverse each stamp to create a mirror image. Many printers have a setting called “flip horizontal” that will reverse the image, or use your software application’s settings.
3. Print the stamps onto the iron-on transfer paper.
4. Following the instructions on the transfer paper package, iron the images onto white cotton fabric and remove the paper backing.
5. Pin the printed fabric to the felt and stitch around the edges of each stamp image.
6. Trim the stamp with a pinking shears to create a border with a perforated look.


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  • This is wonderful. Thanks (as I prepare to huddle next to my space heater later today–eek). But one question: did I sleep through the holidays? You say post-holiday…no kidding, I might have slept-walked through…xo

  • This sample photo! korean stamp!(i’m korean) i want to make this diy stamp. Thankyou for ur diy tips!

  • What a great gift idea for those newly marrieds! I have the feeling my craft to-do list will balloon very quickly this month…!

  • Thanks for posting my project, Kate and Grace! A quick note for anyone wondering how these handle getting wet: I soaked one in a bowl of water for an hour as a test to see if it would bleed, but it held up perfectly. I’ve been using them for weeks and they work great.

  • LOVE these. Though why is it that I’m suddenly having the urge to make Stalin coasters…put your hot beverage on Stalin’s head!!

  • Love this idea! I have a huge stamp collection from when I was a kid, the graphics are so amazing, I was just thinking about doing something with these. Thanks for a great idea!

  • I love this! Another good way of making this (if you’re like me and sewing-challenged) would be to make color copies on a copier and use a blender pen to transfer it to a paper coaster. Awesome!

  • This is so incredibly clever! I’ve been following Karen’s collection of flickr for ages, but never once thought to make something this amazing from them! Thanks for the inspiring project.

  • This is a really great idea! I think I will try something using this idea to craft a few holiday gifts for friends and family!

    In addition to liking the idea, I really enjoyed the images that were used in the article! I think I may try to design a few “Santa’s Workshop” postage stamps and see how that goes.

    I did wonder if the edges of the stamps seperate where the cotton and felt are not stitched together?

    Thanks for posting this!

  • I really love these coasters! I even have some Christmas stamp images I could use. I especially love using the pinking shears, so much easier than a finished our bound edge.

  • these are wonderful! can someone please explain to me why i cannot save any of the other postage stamps that karen horton has on her flickr page? “some rights reserved” keeps coming up but with disclaimer that they can be used for private purposes, but then i still can’t save them to my computer for use.

  • love this! more than i can say. thanks, Jessica!

    i think i am going to put a layer of clear vinyl on top of mine before the stitching stage, and then stitch all three layers together. either that, or use iron-on vinyl on the fabric with the image.

  • just made these as a last minute Hanukkah present in less than 30 minutes. amazing! thanks! so cute ;)

  • I am sitting here looking at 8 coasters I made in about an hour. LOVE them! Some suggestions: be sure to set your print options to t-shirt transfer paper. Use a nice (more tightly woven) cotton so the ink transfers better. Rough cut around the images on the transfer paper, you don’t need to iron the whole sheet onto your fabric. Someone asked about the cotton raveling on the edges. It gets coated by the transfer paper and right now feels pretty stiff. Don’t think it will be a problem. Oh, and be sure to use a size 14 needle on your machine.

  • For those who don’t have transfer paper, you can get freezer paper at your local groc. store, iron it on to the back of a piece of white fabric, and cut both carefully to 8.5 x 11. It’ll run thru your printer just fine.

  • I love this diy cause it’s something so easy to do! I wanted to use stamps from other countries since I made these as gifts, but in the end it was way easier to use the PDF provided. Also, I don’t own a sewing machine and didn’t want to hand stitch so I modified your instructions. Before I applied the stamp iron on, I put fusible backing onto the white fabric and then attached it to the white felt. Since felt doesn’t fray, and the designed was linked anyways, this eliminated the need for sewing. Reminder, put the iron on stamp last. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to apply the fusible webbing (it would melt the iron on). LOVE this project. Made one set for my sis and another for a girlfriends bday!

  • Hello Jessica, I love your tutorial!! Thanks for sharing it! I posted it in my blog refering to your site. And the next days I will try to make some of these cute coasters!!

  • I am IN LOVE with these! What a great idea. Will be playing with some of her other stamps to decorate my sons room…space theme!

  • SO adorable… of course, Jessica is brilliant :) And so wonderful for Kate to make the images available! I have a whole bunch of vintage stamps that I got for a project off eBay ages ago if anyone wanted info on where to pick some up like those on the site… also, maybe using good fusable interfacing should work if you don’t sew or have a machine… just make sure it has the fusing stuff on both sides. Thanks for the idea girls :)

  • Back to report on the iron-on vinyl:

    It works beautifully! Just be sure you’ve washed the fabric first. Iron on the vinyl before you sew, use a 90/14 needle and you’re set.

    I love this project! Thanks !

  • I can’t seem to download the full how-to – these are great and I want to make them!

  • I love this project and really want to do it but I don’t see how to download the PDF File, could you help please

  • What a wonderful idea! It’s got me thinking in all kinds of directions … with photos from a wedding shower, graduation, or other special event. Or photos of special friends through the years. Even my own miniature quilt blocks scanned and printed. Oh, the possibilities…and in time for Christmas!

  • I believe I have just found something I HAVE to make for my stamp collecting, hard to buy for dad. :)

  • For some reason I had trouble removing the paper backing from the transfer paper. I was wondering if I would have to start again when I realized paper dissolves in water. The transfer seemed well adhered to the plain fabric so I simple soaked it in warm water for a bit until I could pull/roll/peel it off. Dried the fabric with the transfer and proceeded. Worked like a dream.