Laser Cut Felt Coasters: The Design Process

The Repetitious patterns and rich colored felt, two of my obsessions (and I know I use that word a lot), came together in the first, of what I can only assume will be many, laser cut coasters.  The process for this project was fairly straightforward and goes along with my strict adherence to simplicity.  However, the struggle to create something dynamic and simple remains the most difficult part of the process and also the most rewarding.  I still think I chose too many colors to offer and I’m still resisting the urge to buy more.  I find such value in each color that I feel like I am robbing my customers of all the pretty things when I keep my offerings limited.  But working on building a business on a limited start-up budget, I have to remind myself time and time again that I am only on Collection 1–the time for more colors will soon be here.  Also, I think if you give people too many choices, they always think they made the wrong decision when they pick one.  For now, I’m trying not to go back and buy every gorgeous color I drool over, which for me, is like some strange exercise in self-constraint and I have to believe good for the soul!

Trying to pick just three from these may well kill me:)

What I Did Right In This Design Process

The Pattern:  I originally intended the 3Z like pattern to cover the entire coaster.  The more I tried to “stuff” that pattern into a 4″x4″ area, the more cognisant I became that the pattern was dictating my design–not me.  I often find when something in design just won’t work, it’s because it’s not supposed to.  This awareness of trying too hard led me to really focus on every line and angle of the 3Z pattern and see what it wanted to be, how it naturally fit into a 4″ X 4″ area.  The turning point where the design took off was when I saw that only top and bottom of the 3Z motif allowed for a straight line to be parallel to the side of the coaster.  From that point on it was really just about balance and staying true to the 3Z form–which I accomplished with the zig-zag-like run of the pattern from top to bottom.  All in all, my numerous re-designs and restraint led to a much more interesting pattern and more of a reveal of the high-quality felt it took me weeks to find.

*Happy Side Note:  The cut-offs from felt coasters are so incredibly cool that I will re-purpose them into assorted jewelry designs. This cuts down on my waste, which I’m always trying to do, AND essentially allows for me to double up on profit from the same 4″ X 4″ piece of material!

Look how cool they are!

What I Did Wrong In This Design Process

Colors:  I bought too many.  They are all great colors but I think it is best to only offer three in the future.

Photos:  I should have taken a picture of each color coaster individually.  Photography is something that is always a challenge.  I seem to come up with enough good photos but always just barely.

Take-Aways From The Felt Coaster Design Process

  • Offer fewer colors–even if it rips out my soul- lolz
  • Look closer at my pattern before spending an hour trying to fit a “Z-shaped” peg into a square hole
  • On my final laser cut, perhaps always go up slightly in power, just to make sure it cuts through completely
  • Take more pictures–even if it seems like I’m going overboard
  • Sustainability is, as I already knew–AWESOME SAUCE and could dramatically improve my profit

My Next Ladywood Furniture Design

Laser Cut Wood And Felt Birds Wall Decals!

Stay tuned!  Feel free to contact me with any comments on this design as well.  AND as always, if you like what you see,  follow me on any form of social media you indulge in and share this blog on social media with someone who loves pretty lil’ things!