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Young adults make colorful drink coasters at Morris library

Young adults use Sharpies, rubbing alcohol to make diffusion coasters

MORRIS – You don’t need mass-produced, cheap plastic or cork drink coasters when you can make your own.

The Morris Area Public Library held a young adult craft event Thursday evening, where participants had the opportunity to personalize plain ceramic coasters with assorted Sharpie colors through the process of diffusion.

Diffusion is defined as the movement of molecules from a high concentrated area to a low concentrated area, and it usually happens in a gas or liquid. 

Participants started by using Sharpies to color the coasters in any shapes or lines they wished. Then, to begin diffusion, participants dropped rubbing alcohol on the ceramic tiles, which forces the Sharpie ink to spread around the coaster depending on how much is used and how much one tilts the tiles.

For some, less was more. For others, such as 13-year-old Anna White, a coaster full of color did the trick. White used almost every color in the rainbow to cover her first coaster.

On her second coaster, White drew medium-sized orange, turquoise, blue and purple dots. White, who is homeschooled and has 10 siblings, said programs like this one at the library are a chance to add more artwork to her routine

“I like doing crafts,” White said. “I want to do stuff like this.”

Macey Sorden, a sixth-grader at Shabbona Middle School, wiped the coaster clean a few times to start over, but ended up lining the edge of one with a rainbow pattern. She said she’s not a perfectionist.

“I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with it,” Sorden said.

This program allowed Sorden to get creative also. She said with not much art activity lately at school and the fact that her family just moved, she hasn’t been able to craft of late.

While White finished four coasters, Sorden elected to do one. But she’ll find a use for it.

“I’ll probably use it in my room,” Sorden said.

The nice thing, Morris Library teen coordinator Rose Nowak said, is you can continue the project at home. Sharpies and rubbing alcohol should be readily available.

The coasters take time to dry. When dry, Nowak sprayed them with Mod Podge clear acrylic sealer. Some participants had to return later to pick theirs up.

Melissa Cardone, who works in circulation and youth services, said the library is trying to hit a lot of different interests with its latest offerings of programs.

“I like that no two tiles were the same and everybody went different ways with it,” Cardone said. “It’s always fun to see who shows up and what they make.”

The next teen program, Castles & Catapults, is scheduled for 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday. Teams will design and build their kingdom’s castle and siege weapons. Then, they’ll go to “war” with the other kingdoms. Those interested in registering for Morris Library young adult programs can do so by visiting

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