You will need
- 4 inch tiles (the cheapest ones at Home Depot or Lowe’s). They sell for around $0.15 each.
- Mod Podge Glossy (You can find this at Michael’s or Walmart, with craft glues.)
- A decent color printer, and regular paper OR printed pictures.
- White paint and a small paint brush. The paint type doesn’t really matter, as long as it is water based. I have used water based trim paint and acrylic.
- Ruler and scissors
- A sheet of felt or fun foam (to add to the back of the coasters)
- Polyurethane, and an applicator (or spray polyurethane)
- Glue gun
Step 1: Paint the edges of your tiles white.
Your tiles will likely come with a tan colored edge. I painted my edges white, so that it is seamless with the white on the top of the tile. While you are painting the edges, extend the paint to the underside of the tile, approximately 1/2″ around. The bottom is going to be covered, but this just gives it a more finished look since the covering will not go all the way to the edge. Allow to dry.
Step 2: Choose and Print Your Photos
In brief, you will need one photo for each coaster, that will look nice when cut approximately 4″x4″. You can either use a regular 4×6″ photo, or print your own if you have a decent color printer. You don’t even have to print on photo paper, since the Mod Podge will give it a nice finish. I printed my own, and I am somewhat of a picture snob. This is one case where print quality is not going to make a huge difference.
If you are going to print your own photos, print it to a 4×6″ size.
Optional Extras: If you have Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, it allows you to add a border and text. This can get really fun and creative! Crop the photo just slightly smaller than the top of the tile. Mine was cropped 4.2″ x 4.2″ and it fit just to the edge…double check my measurements, as brands may vary slightly! You don’t want the edge to go over the tile. Next, you can add a simple border. To do this, add a “duplicate layer”, then “Stroke” that layer. I used 15px, “location inside”. The stroke outline serves a two-fold purpose. It adds an attractive border, and it gives you a detailed line to follow, when cutting your image. Of course, you can also add text, quotes, etc. if you like! When you are happy with the way it looks, flatten the layers, and it is ready for print!
These are a few of the finished images I’ve used.
Step 3: Cut Your Photos
Measure and cut your photo into a perfect square. You can use the top of the tile as a template, or you can measure. It is up to you, but be precise! You don’t want it lopsided. If you used a stroke outline in Photoshop, you just follow the outside of the line.
Step 4: Base Layer of Mod Podge, Attach Your Image
Spread a thin and even layer of Mod Podge onto the top of your tile. Extend it to the corners. I like to use my finger for spreading it. Then, place your pre-cut image on top of the square, being careful to center it as you place it on top of the wet Mod Podge. Once you have it placed, gently smooth the photo, pushing down all the edges, and applying gentle pressure to adhere it to the tile. If you see small bubbles form, smooth them out to the edge, as best as possible. Below, you will see how much Mod Podge I use on my base layer…thin coat!
Step 5: Apply Top Coats of Mod Podge
Once your image is attached to the coaster, you may begin adding coats of Mod Podge on top. You don’t have to wait for the base layer to dry. The key here is smooth, even layers. Make sure that you cover the corners and edges of the tile in Mod Podge, helping to secure and protect the photo edges. Allow the Mod Podge to dry, then add a second coat. (If you are eager to have it finished, you can use a hair dryer on low.)
Step 6: Polyurethane (kinda optional, but definitely more durable to the moisture on glasses if you follow this step!)
Similar to the Mod Podge, the key is to apply a couple thin coats. Since Mod Podge is water soluble, the Polyurethane is a protectant. Apply 2 thin coats to the top and sides of the coaster, allowing to dry between coats.
Step 7: Attach the Backing
The tiles can be rough on furniture, so I like to apply either foam or felt to the back of my coasters. It also gives it a nice, finished look. Simply cut a square for each coaster, slightly smaller than the footprint of the coaster. Apply a liberal amount of hot glue (or regular glue) to the felt or foam square. Attach it to the coaster.
You are finished! Now, sit back and admire your beautiful new coasters!! There are so many fun variations to these. I originally saw these done with decorative dinner napkins, and they are beautiful. You could also make and print your own designs in photoshop. The possibilities are endless!
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