How to Make Ceramic Tile Coasters Using Napkins or Photos
Why Ceramic Coasters Are a Great Project to Try
Whether you're looking for an inexpensive and memorable gift or wanting to add a little flair to your home décor, tile coasters are a great project to consider. They're handy gifts appreciated by many people and easy to customize. You can use materials that range from decorator napkins to scrapbook photos, greeting cards, or even your favorite photos. This means you can match them to any décor or taste to help tie a room together.
At about $0.40 each, a set of four coasters is very affordable to make. There's no reason not to try this project, and I hope you enjoy learning how to make the different variations in this tutorial!
Supplies You'll Need
The materials listed below are what you need for a set of four coasters. The materials that are large or reusable (Mod Podge, brushes, sealant, sand paper) can be used for other sets you choose to make.
- 4 ceramic tiles (4" x 4")
- Mod Podge or other white glue
- 1 sponge brush
- 4 decorative napkins or 4 images (3.75" square)
- 1 small can clear polyurethane or high-gloss resin
- 1 paintbrush
- 1 sheet medium-grit sandpaper or a medium sandblock
- 4 4" cork pads for backing
How to Make Napkin-Covered Tile Coasters
Customizing tiles with napkins is simple and an excellent project for beginners. The method is very forgiving, and the folds and creases add unique personality to the coaster. I got my napkins at Party City, but you can find decorator napkins anywhere for under $2.
- Select your napkin. Open it to make it one-ply. Don't pick the side that has the company logo printed on it.
- Use a foam brush to coat the top and sides of the tile with a thin, even layer of Mod Podge.
- Place the most attractive part of the napkin design on top of the tile. Fold it over the edges of the coaster.
- Allow the project to dry for about 30 minutes. Carefully tear off the excess napkin when the glue is dry.
- You can let the napkin cover the sides of the tile, or you can gently sand the sides using medium-grade sandpaper.
- Do this next step outside or anywhere with proper air ventilation (like a room with windows opened wide). Coat the coaster with polyurethane or resin. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for preparation and application. Let the coasters dry overnight in an area free of dust or dirt.
- When the coaster is dry, use superglue to attach the cork to the back of the tile.
Tip: You can use medium-grade (35) or finish-grade (400) sandpaper to gently grind out any irregularities in your coaster's finish.
How to Make Photo Tile Coasters
Decorating tiles with photographs is a simple craft to attempt as well. You can edit the photos beforehand to add visual interest or add text if it's to commemorate a special event. If you want your coasters to look uniform, consider making your photos black-and-white or sepia before printing them out.
- Print a photo to fit a 4" x 4" coaster. For a finished look, size your photos in a 3.75" square to leave a white border on the edges.
- The ink may smear if you touch it when placing the photo on the tile or when applying the finish. To prevent this from happening, lightly and evenly spray the pictures with an acrylic protectant such as the Mod Podge sealant. A thin coat should dry in five minutes.
- Cut your photos into 3.75" or 4" squares.
- Apply Mod Podge lightly and evenly to the back of the picture. Make sure you cover the corners smoothly. Place the glue-side down on the tile and adjust the image so it is straight. If you find any air bubbles or bumps of glue, pat them down with a paper towel. Make sure the top is smooth.
- Let the glue dry for at least 3 hours. Make sure it's completely dry.
- You can finish photo coasters with polyurethane or resin. Polyurethane can warp a photograph, so I'd suggest using resin for this project. Mix according to the package directions and pour a light coat on each coaster. Again, make sure to do this outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
- Allow the coasters to dry overnight. Add the cork tile or felt pads to the back of the coaster, and you're done!
Other Ideas for Decorating Ceramic Tiles
If you need inspiration for what images you can use to decorate tile coasters, here are a few great ideas below!
- Photos or logos from your favorite sports team
- Your favorite scrapbook paper
- Scrapbook letters for custom monograms
- Special-occasion photos for a great memento or gift
- Fun greeting cards
- Stencils of your favorite images for a handmade look
- Maps of a favorite vacation spot
- Pictures of a loved pet
- CD covers
- Movie tickets from a first date
- Music scores
- Die-cut images
- A puzzle made by taking an 8" x 10" photo and cutting it into four squares.