How to Make Photo Coasters

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I’ve got another fun, easy & thrifty project to share with you ~ How to Make Photo Coasters!

Make some for yourself, and give some as thrifty gifts!

This project idea comes from my friend Joli ~ I spotted some at her house that she had made, and I just had to share this fun project with you!

What You’ll Need:

  • Ceramic Tiles {I found these at Lowe’s for 16 cents each!}
  • Photos {get a deal with these Photo Freebies & Deals!}
  • Mod Podge {I used ‘Glossy‘}
  • Tree House Studio Clear Acrylic High Gloss Coating Spray
  • Note: if you are using different brands of products, the results may vary.
  • Paint in a tone similar to the coasters

What You’ll Do:

Paint the rough, unfinished side edges of the coasters.  Once the tile has dried, grab your photos…  {black and white photos are also fun to use on this craft!}

Trim photo into a square shape, to fit the tile.

Now, be sure not to rush the project, and give it plenty of time.  I made these over the course of several days, and allowed each coat to dry completely for many hours before applying the next coat.

Apply Mod Podge to the back of the photo with a sponge applicator, then press down onto tile.  Allow to dry completely.  {note:  make sure each coat dries completely before applying the next coat}

Once dry, apply a layer of Mod Podge with a sponge applicator to the top of the photo.  Use even left-to-right strokes {as always with Mod Podge, lines will show}.  Allow to dry completely.

Repeat with 2 more layers of Mod Podge {allowing each layer to dry completely before applying the next}.

Once the coasters have had 3 layers of Mod Podge applied… and have dried completely, take them on outside.  It’s time to spray with Acrylic Sealer!

Lay coasters on wax paper, or something else you don’t mind getting sprayed with some over-spray.

The Acrylic Sealer is an important step ~ it will seal the project.  This will ensure the coaster is waterproof, and can handle wet glasses sitting on the coasters.

You’ll want a strong coat of sealer on each coaster.  I applied a total of 5 coats of sealer, allowing each to dry completely before applying the next coat.

Now it’s time to add some backing to the coasters.  I used felt on some, and even some fleece scraps…

Apply the felt or fleece with a hot glue gun, and allow to dry.

You did it ~ aren’t these too cute??

Save some for yourself, and give some as thrifty gifts!!

And promise me… whatever you do… don’t forget to make one of the dog! ;)

Once the coasters are completely dry, stack up a set, grab some ribbon, and you’ve got an extra-cute and thrifty gift!

See Also:
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145 Responses to How to Make Photo Coasters

  1. Kelly O says:

    I do something similar with stamps. Instead of painting the tile, pick one with an interesting texture and stamp whatever you want on the tile. I did initials for Christmas two years ago and it went over so well it’s kind of my go-to gift now. You just spray a sealant over the tile when the paint dries.

    I love the picture idea and will definitely add it to my rotation.

    • KK says:

      Kelly, I love this idea. I’m thinking of making these as gifts for my wedding party using a stamp in the theme of our wedding. What kind of paint did you use for the stamp? What kind of surface should the coaster have? What kind of sealant do you need, and is that the only spray you need to use on the tile?

      Thanks so much!

      • Kelly O says:

        I actually used a stamp. Just find an archival, permanent ink and a foam stamp. I used the foam because not only was the stamp less expensive, it also gets in the little nooks and crannies in the marble tiles better.

        You can either use a craft sealant from Hobby Lobby or somewhere like that, or you can just get the Krylon sealer. It’s lots cheaper and works just as well. The only thing you need to be sure to do is get a matte sealer. For whatever reason the shiny ones don’t work and the ink will come off. The matte sealer keeps it on nicely, and it complements the texture of the tile better anyway (I think, at least.)

  2. Ashli Welsh says:

    I have made these before, but I printed out the photo on tissue paper from my own printer. Just trim the tissue paper to fit an 8×11 sheet of paper and tape it together lightly at the top before you put it in your printer. It worked really well and made the photo look like it was printed right on the tile. Then I embellished with stamps. It was a great look at you even save the cost of photo printing! Thanks for the great project!

    • cindy says:

      did you mod podge the tissue paper onto the tiles then? did it look a little more textured.. am very interested in doing these for a shower gift for a bride …..

      • Ashli says:

        I did use mod podge to put them on and then covered them with another coat when they were dry. You do have to be more careful since the tissue tears easily when wet. The textured look ended up being really cool. You do have to be careful what photo you choose, not all of them look good when printed on tissue.

        • Amber says:

          Hi there,
          I have been trying to make these on tissue paper, I’ve taped the tissue paper to a regular sheet of paper. My printer keeps destroying the tissue paper in the feed. Do you have a special printer or tissue paper?
          Thank you,

          • Rita says:

            you need to attach the tissue paper to something a little more rigid, like say, card stock.

          • Lisa says:

            I always use printer paper for my photos on tiles. Works great with everything. You might have to adjust the color and/or contrast when you print the photo out. I find that the photos come out a bit darker when I print on regular paper. I also use Mod Podge Glossy spray to seal, using about 5 coats. When spray is applied, the photo tends to come out a bit darker that’s why I adjust the color first. Works great for me.

          • Tina Dixon says:

            Hi, I just wanted to put my two cents in! LOL To use tissue paper for tile or dominoes, go buy some of the temporary hold spray for patterns to stick to fabric. Just spray some on a piece of cardstock and press your tissue on there. Make sure you cut it around the edge of the card stock though. It will re-stick over and over many times with just one spray, great stuff! Peels off easy too.

  3. Anne says:

    I love this idea! We don’t have very much money and would make a great gift for the holidays.

    • Tina Dixon says:

      Go to the dollar General store and buy some dominoes for $3 for the tin box. It has I believe 24 of them in it. Print out some neat family photos or any other designs that your family members would like in a 1″ by 2″ size. You can size them in Microsoft word. Just print them on white card stock, or the tissue paper. I have a inkjet printer and people go out and spend a small fortune on stuff to stop the ink from bleeding. I simply use elmers glue. Just put a coat under the image, glue it on, then put several smooth coats of it on top. I usually use a fine side of a nail file and sand the edges of the photos to round the edges on the corners and smooth the sides. You can then put the diamond glaze on it, spray them, or put some really neat stuff I found at Michaels called Americana triple thick brush on glaze. It puts a great shine on them. I buy those adhesive magnets at Walmart, stick on one and you have great frig. magnets for Christmas gifts. Give them a set of 4.???

  4. Katrina says:

    I was searcing for an easy gift to make for this holiday…I have found the perfect gift right here!! Thanks so much….off to Michael’s and Lowes!!

  5. Julie says:

    GREAT idea(s)!! Thanks so much for sharing, and for the extra tips in the comments! Love being able to get new ideas from other crafters!

  6. marie says:

    love this idea! i’m making a wall “plaque” with the same idea in mind for my in-laws. i’m getting pics of all the grandkids and using the same technique to put it on some scrap wood from a broken bookshelf to hang on the wall. :) now i think i’ll make the plaque and some coasters. ;)

    • Jenny says:

      Hey Marie,
      I just wondered what you ended up using to attach the tiles to the wood and if it held up good? I am doing this same idea as we speak for a bridal shower gift:)
      thanks!

  7. Christy says:

    I love this idea. I think I am going to try this for grandma gifts for Christmas. I have done this before with a large tile, but had the kids handprint in paint and wrote their names with a paint pen.

  8. tabitha says:

    I’m super excited about this idea!!! I will totally be doing this for Xmas.

  9. Sherry says:

    I love this idea. I’m going to definitely be making some of these for holiday gifts.

  10. Janice says:

    Love these! I wonder if you could use a larger tile and make a trivet? I guess it’s worth a try. Thanks Heidi!

  11. jennifer says:

    Great idea! definitely a good idea for the inlaws!

  12. Angie says:

    Ok, ANOTHER great idea…seriously, my Christmas gift-getters are receiving just about everything you’ve taught us to make! :) :) You are a blessing!!!!!

  13. Serena O says:

    What a perfect gift for the grandparents! So much more budget friendly than the ones from the online photo stores! THANK YOU!

  14. donna says:

    Love this idea. Is there any way to make Mod Podge? At my Joanne’s it was priced $7.99 for the larger bottle. Thanks.

  15. Jennifer says:

    Mod Podge is pricey–I try to use a 40% or 50% off one item coupon @ A.C. Moore when I need to get it.

  16. Lori says:

    Thanks for reminding me. I did this a while back with napkins. I had a thought, what about making them photo frames? I am going to try to come up with a backing to use. I kinda like the tile with unfished edges and propped up in my bookcase :)

  17. Erica says:

    What an awesome project idea!! I’m just wondering- do you use glazed or unfinished/unglazed tiles for this?? And what do you mean by painting the edges?

    Thanks so much for the ideas and tips!! Also- you can make your own Mod-Podge with regular Elmer’s glue and water. I forget the ratio but you can google it. :)

  18. Heidi says:

    Hi Erica ~ these particular tiles I used were the already glazed, shiny surface tiles.

    The sides of the tiles are rough and unfinished, so I painted the side edges with a similar color off-white paint.

    Hope that helps! ;)

    ~ Heidi

  19. Tiffanie Schley says:

    I’m looking for a little more info on the tissue paper printing?

    • Laurina says:

      Tracing paper is a bit more sturdy and works, tissue jammed.

    • Lisa says:

      Get some 110lb cardstock – Office Max ImPress (the printers inside Office Max) will sell you a few sheets for just a few pennies. Use white tissue paper and try not to get any creases. I tape all 4 sides with masking tape so there are no gaps. A little tape on the tissue paper and fold over to the back. Make sure it’s pulled nice and tight for an even print, but not too tight or the paper will bow.

      Feed it into your printer and print. No need for special settings or anything – at least not with my HP inkjet. Let the finished sheet dry AT LEAST an hour, then cut it apart. I actually find that gently tearing it makes it easier to hide the edges than cutting, but to each their own.

      Been doing this for years on everything from tiles to rocks to picture frames to clothes pins.

  20. Nicole G says:

    I made one the other day as a trial. Worked well except when you press on the surface, your fingerprint is left behind. You can smudge it out. Any idea how to prevent this? I’m afraid a heavy mug would leave a ring.

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