DIY carrick bend coaster

Tuesday December 11, 2012

Here’s a piece of advice I was given by a certified Young and Capable Grown Up™ recently: if you can respect your furniture, you can respect yourself. A good way to put this philosophy into practice is to use coasters in and around your house and/or general area of living (for those of us who are still negotiating our housing situation at present, this MAKE is still of relevance). Except, hey, don’t go and buy a set from the store like a spendthrift jerk would - make your own.

Despite never attending summer camp or earning a badge in something useful (unless these count), I was 'roped in' to this premise with the agreement that I could publicly schlep around town like the object of an impressionable Cub Scout’s affections. However, because I am a bold woman in the springtime of her youth, I say, B.Y.O.B.S. (Be Your Own Boy Scout), and exude a shimmering halo of alarmingly able self-sufficiency that will make people fall over and never doubt you again.

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What you'll need:
- A metre of rope in whichever colour you like
- Scissors
- A needle and thread

What you (probably) won’t need:
- Those binoculars

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Lay out the rope on a flat surface, curving one end of the rope as pictured.

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Turn that end of rope into a loop.

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Here’s where things begin to get a bit mind-boggly. Take the other end of the rope and make a second loop to go on top of the loop you just made.

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Now create the beginning of a third loop, which will start to get your rope structure resembling a venn diagram. If you're getting confused about where to loop what, trace your finger over the photo and follow the overs-and-unders of the rope.

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Now here’s where the coaster really starts to shape up. At this point you should have four intersecting circular components and the bottom circle of rope should be leading up to the right-handed circle to create the beginnings of a double knot. This is what will make the coaster a sturdy, strong and independent being that doesn’t need to lean on other objects for support.

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Wearing blue eyeshadow for dramatic effect is entirely optional, but I found that it helped me to sustain levels of utmost and unshakable concentration.

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At this point, the shortest end of the rope (that I’m holding down with my fingers) can be sticking out like so (we’ll tuck it in and fix it up later), and the longer end of the rope should be used to make the second double-loop possible.

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Behold! Your work-in-progress rope coaster. Like I mentioned before, if you get confused or happen to lose your way in the loop-de-loop continuum, follow the rope using your eagle-esque vision or nimble fingers to see exactly where it should be tucked over or under.

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Okay! All your double loops are done, you champ.

We realised at this point our piece of rope was a little too long to be tucked into the back of our masterpiece, so we took a trip back to the store where we purchased it from to get rid of the excess rope.

If you don’t have the option to do this, there are tutorials that explain how to cut rope in the comfort of your own home, but because we love you and want you to stay safe and alive, we recommend getting someone who has been trained to carry out tasks like this for assistance here. Most stores that sell rope should have a device that can facilitate rope-cutting. See below:

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How the professionals do it.

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Now that we’ve got our rope to a manageable length, we want to sew back the stray ends to maintain the shape of the coaster. Here are the two ends of rope that we’re going to be sewing into place. All we’re doing is hiding them so they don’t unravel and undo all your hard work from the previous steps. Time to get that needle and thread into action!

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Worm your needle through the fibres of rope and connect the stray end to the back of the loop, as shown here. If you’re not a wizard at sewing, you could always get a friend to help you or better yet, get your friend to teach you so you can finish making your own damn coasters and keep this streak of rampant self-sufficiency going.

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And here’s your coaster! Admire it, caress it lovingly, it’s yours, you made it. Bask in that millisecond of glory because who knows when you might feel it again.

Additional (optional) steps:

You might find that after making your coaster, it may be a little bit pokey and need training to sit more flexibly on a flat surface. Here’s some stuff that we tried:

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Sticking it in the microwave for no longer than two minutes. It helps if the rope has been dampened with a bit of water beforehand. The heat should soften the fibres.

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Or you could squish it under a heavy object! A chopping board, a laptop, an entire Encyclopedia set - your coaster, your choices.

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And now you’re done! Show it off! Make yourself a drink and place it upon your carefully crafted symbol of good life decisions. Sit outside and go, “Hey! I made this!” every time a stranger walks past. They’ll either melt on the inside with an impassioned rage of jealousy, try to steal it in a moment of frenzy or maybe even decide they want to be more like you when they grow up. It won’t get old for at least a while.

This article is part of our new DIY series, made possible with support from Nikon.