10/12 DIY

DIY Marbled Leather Coasters


This is what happened.  It starts about a couple years ago when I tried to marble candles with nail polish and it failed horribly and I became 1000% sure I’d never try that again.  This year, as I was brainstorming pumpkin decorating ideas, I wondered if there was a way to marble pumpkins with something other than nail polish.  I found marbling paint, tried it, didn’t work, and went back to being 1000% sure I’d never try marbling again.  I was close to tossing the bottle of marbling paint until curiosity had me read the label, where it advised to use on porous surfaces only (oops) and listed several examples, such as leather.


Marbling leather sounded really cool, but what would that be good for?  The simplest thing I could think of, and what I half jokingly consider the rite of passage into maker status, is coasters.  Bonus: with leather being so absorbent, this use is just simply appropriate.

I adore these coasters more than I anticipated, like I didn’t know how much they should be in my life until I made them.  They’re striking and soft at the same time, gorgeous for any season of entertaining but they’re especially making me feel very fall.  Fall entertaining is calling, very much.



natural tooling leather
rotary cutter
cutting mat
marbling paint
-shallow container


Cut the leather into 4×4″ pieces using a rotary cutter.


Fill a shallow container with water, then carefully squeeze one drop of marbling paint into the water.  I only used one drop since I didn’t want the paint to show up too dark on the leather, but if you want the color to be deeper then drop in more paint.


Use a toothpick to swirl the paint on the surface of the water.  This takes practice to figure out what kind of marbling style you like and then how to consistently create it.  At first I swirled with abandon and the lines were way too crazy and convoluted.  I went through messing up about 5 coasters, dumping and replacing the water in between before I got the hang of what I was going for- less crazy swirling and larger bands of swirls = fewer disturbances with the toothpick.  Another tip is to patiently wait for the paint to travel after you’ve created a disturbance with the toothpick before making more streaks and swirls.


Once a formation you like has formed, dip the leather into the water as evenly as possible and lift it straight back up.  I’ve found this is easiest to do with one hand.


Once dry, they’re ready to coast.



The edges will curl up a little from having been wet but that’s something I see going away easily after use + physically flattening them out + who cares, they’re cute.  There’s the option of gluing these onto 4×4″ cork to make them sturdier, but they’re completely sufficient as is.

I’m SO into how these feel both casual and elegant.  Are you feeling this look?  Have you marbled leather before?

16 comments on “DIY Marbled Leather Coasters”

    1. Yes I never would have though of it either had I not read the label! And totally was thinking white leather would look amazing, I agree.

  1. I’ve never worked with leather but this has me intrigued and motivated! Question – doesn’t the moisture of the glass seep through to the table? And could moisture effect the pattern on the coaster? I really want to try these!

    1. Hi Connie! I haven’t encountered either of these issues. I also haven’t extensively used them in situations with heavy condensation from drinking glasses, but so far they’ve held up just fine.

  2. Hi
    Yes agree with everyone on how beautiful on leather….a must try….

    I have a question
    How do you allow them to dry?
    and how long do they dry?

    Thank you

  3. Well, would you look at that! I’ve been making a lot of leather earrings… I’ll try this technique on my earrings!

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