The are many different ways to display your collection, there is no wrong or right way, it all depends on how you want to display
them and the size of your collection. First some things not to do:
1. Never use a tack or nail to hang them on a wall, this ruins the coaster and devalues it significantly
2. Never tape, glue or use any method that sticks a coaster to anything
3. Keep out of the sunlight, this will yellow them after time and also ruin the value and beauty of the coasters
Here are some of the more popular methods for displaying your coasters:
Most of the items below are basic household items. Others such as the protectors can be bought at most craft and hobby
shops. Either way, it is simple to safely display your collection
1. Hanging on a Wall - Slide a paper clip about half way onto the coaster then use the other end to attach it to a nail. Be sure
that the paper clip is not to tight or it will leave an indentation in the coaster. Another method is to use a plate hanger, this is
a little more expensive but will not leave an indentation and the coaster will not slip off as easy. Finally, you can use one of
those picture frames with a heavy cardboard insert that you can cut out to fit the shapes of your coasters. This offers the
best protection and looks the best. Depending on the type of glass, this could also prevent fading due to sunlight
2. 8 1/2 x 11 photo pages or page protectors - These come in many different sizes and shapes. The common ones used for
coasters are 4 per page (for the 4 inch coasters) and 6 per page (for the smaller ones). Another alternative is to use the full
size sheet protector that is not pocketed. This can be used to store the odd shaped coasters or combinations of the large and
small coasters. If you are careful, you can store 6 small coasters per sheet. The coasters are secured in place by staples
around the edge of each coaster. This holds them in place and allows different size & shape combinations to be used on the
same page. Just be careful with the staples
3. Shoe Box - A shoe box or any other container is a great way to store your coasters. They do not display as well as hanging
them on a wall but this method works great for large collections. A large Tupperware type plastic container with a lid is the
preferred method. You can make dividers out of wood that are screwed into the sides of the container to store up to three or
more rows of coasters in each container. One thing to be aware of with this method, the more you directly handle your
coasters, the greater the chance of damaging them. Frayed edges is frequently the problem using this method. Most coasters
are thin and the old ones are fragile, repeated handling and moving around will after time damage the ends of the coasters.
Also, your fingers have oils on them that could soil or stain the coasters. The solution to the above problem is to enclose every
coaster in a plastic bag or small plastic sheet protector. Office supply stores sell heavy plastic paper protectors for photos that
you can cut out to fit the coasters. You can also buy poly bags from a supply house and cut them to fit tightly around each
coaster. The best way and most time consuming is to use a poly bag and sealing each edge with a small soldering iron. This
ensures a tight fit and really protects each coaster.
4. Poly Bags & Under Storage Boxes - 4x6 poly bags are good for most small coasters and even some of the larger micro
coasters. 5x5 poly bags are good for the larger older coasters. 2 mil thickness is adequate, anything less is very flimsy and
thicker poly bags tend to be cloudy and you loose seeing some of the brilliant colors on some coasters. Once you have the
coasters in their protective poly bags you can store them in plastic 'Under Storage Boxes'. These are very inexpensive and they
come in many sizes. I have used the 6x24x16 1/2 and by using dividers, you can have up to 4 rows of coasters per box
Doug Henne adds "What I'm using are "Resealable Continental Postcard Size" in 60 microns polypropylene. They have 100
sleeves per pack. Their pretty flimsy, but the coasters fit nice and snug. The 4 3/8' x 6 1/4' are the perfect size for most 4"
coasters, and the 3 3/4' x 5 3/4' fit 3" nicely. Previously I tried plastic sheets but I spent too much time cutting them to the
right size, plus I was worried about the damage"
Coasters can be organized in many different ways. The most common is by the location of the brewery, usually by state. If the
brewery is located in many different cities, the main brewery or headquarters dictates what state the coasters are organized
under. This method works well for a lot of the older coasters as each brewery only made a few different beer brands. Another
way is by beer brand, this way makes it easy to locate the coaster if you have a very large collection. Unfortunately, this
method also makes it very difficult to keep track of all the coasters by a certain brewery or state. This is especially confusing
with micro coasters, as today's breweries produce many different brands. For example, how would you know that Pumpkin Ale,
Tasmanian Devil, Hearty Ale and Alimony Ale where all brewed by Buffalo Bill's Brewpub unless it was printed on the coaster?
5. Resin Table or Other Top - Here is an actual example of what can be done and some tips in the process. See below for links
The project went well, though it is a little unnerving working with such a large project area. Since the epoxy begins the curing
process immediately, once initiated the project must be completed. We did it in one coat but we could have likely done it in 2
coats. A few notes…
We attempted to seal the coasters with polyurethane. Though they seemed to seal somewhat, the coasters took on an
antiquated look on both projects runs. The first time a poly coat was only applied prior to fixing them to the bar surface. The
second time, they were sealed prior (with the first batch), then sealed again once they were stuck to the bar.
The first time I used double sided sticky tape to fasten the pre-sealed coasters. This worked OK, but some of the thicker, or
more absorbent (or poorly sealed) coasters had a tendency to 'cup' slightly. This caused some minor problems that thought they
did not greatly affect the finish, it would have been better without the problems. In a couple of spots it actually appeared to
raise the epoxy finish slightly. This also released trapped air from beneath the coasters, which kept me very busy with the
blowtorch. The blowtorch was very handy in removing air bubbles from the epoxy mixture. Keep in mind (though stated on the
epoxy instructions) that it is the CO2 from the blowtorch that is significant in aiding bubble removal, and NOT the heat. Diligence
with air bubble removal is obviously key. The window is about 15 minutes to get this done, but you must start IMMEDIATELY
after the coat is applied.
The second time around, we applied a fresh coat of poly to the entire bar, then took the pre-sealed coasters and placed them
on the fresh poly. The idea was to use the poly coat sort of as an adhesive. This worked OK (every time I use this word I mean
it worked but with flaws), but some coasters had a tendency to warp slightly, cup up, or otherwise pull some of its surface area
from the bar (and fresh poly). This seemed to diminish adhesion, so we applied 3 more coats of poly on top of the placed
coasters to attempt to further adhere them to the surface, as well as seal around the edges of the coasters to control the
amount of air that can escape once the epoxy is applied. This seemed to work (again) OK with fewer bubbles than the first
go-round, but the process could be improved. I think the important thing to remember here is that different coasters will react
differently to the coatings, so methods used to adhere or seal them may achieve varying results. I was also very nervous about
using any applied adhesives as I was unsure of their potential reaction with the epoxy. The main fear was that if any impurities
reacted unfavorably with the epoxy, we would be stuck with the end result (possibly cloudy or otherwise irregular finish). I am
certain that thorough sealing and adhesion of the coasters to the surface will ensure easy finishing, though it may be difficult to
do this completely. Our experience so far is that whatever efforts are taken, whether or not they work 100%, make the finishing
of the job slightly easier.
I will note that the manufacturer (Crystal Sheen - see below) technical support was AWESOME, and they were very helpful on
the fly both over the phone and via email. They make it very clear that the instructions should be followed TO THE LETTER, and
we learned this the hard way. We have 3 dime sized spots over the whole project (about 100 sq ft total) where the epoxy may
not have mixed thoroughly, and those spots appear slightly cloudy and feel soft when constant pressure is applied. This is fixable
with an additional coat, but given the size/surface area of the project we decided to just deal with the blemishes.
6. Under Glass - Dan Lunnemann displays his favorite coasters under a glass table top. This is a real nice way to show them
without causing any damage to the coasters.
7. Framed - Steve Carvel has 26 coaster posters totaling around 800 coasters displayed on his wall in his office. He uses
Scotch/3M 1" mounting squares. Michael's (Art's & Crafts Chain Store) sells 22 x 30 poster frames and tag board in the same
size. Typically he can get 30-35 coasters per poster. The downside is that part of the backs get damaged by the adhesive on
the 1" square but it is the best product he has found to prevent coasters from slipping and sliding. He also groups them in
theme rows, such as breweries with mountains, rivers, birds, etc.
8. Framed (Inlayed) In this method coasters are placed inside a precut hole in 3/16" (5 mm) thick foamboard. No tape is
used and the coasters fit tight within the precut holes.