How to Make Ceramic Tile Coasters Using Napkins or Photos

Updated on January 6, 2018
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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
Supplies You'll Need | Source

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
  • Superglue

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Napkin-Covered Ceramic Tile Coasters
Napkin-Covered Ceramic Tile Coasters
Napkin-Covered Ceramic Tile Coasters | Source
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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.

  1. Select your napkin. Open it to make it one-ply. Don't pick the side that has the company logo printed on it.
  2. Use a foam brush to coat the top and sides of the tile with a thin, even layer of Mod Podge.
  3. Place the most attractive part of the napkin design on top of the tile. Fold it over the edges of the coaster.
  4. Allow the project to dry for about 30 minutes. Carefully tear off the excess napkin when the glue is dry.
  5. You can let the napkin cover the sides of the tile, or you can gently sand the sides using medium-grade sandpaper.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo Ceramic Tile CoastersEnjoy picturesque scenes as you use the coasters.Make coasters using photos of your favorite celebrity.Put together a custom coaster set for a sports fan!
Photo Ceramic Tile Coasters
Photo Ceramic Tile Coasters | Source
Enjoy picturesque scenes as you use the coasters.
Enjoy picturesque scenes as you use the coasters. | Source
Make coasters using photos of your favorite celebrity.
Make coasters using photos of your favorite celebrity. | Source
Put together a custom coaster set for a sports fan!
Put together a custom coaster set for a sports fan! | Source

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cut your photos into 3.75" or 4" squares.
  4. 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.
  5. Let the glue dry for at least 3 hours. Make sure it's completely dry.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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    • profile image

      Diane Livingston 4 days ago

      Min wax makes it look yellow.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks abgaelijah!

    • abbaelijah profile image

      Abba Elijah aka elijagod 5 years ago from Abuja - Nigeria

      hummm nice one there!

      Thanks for the info Tammyswallow

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Angelo. These make great affordable gifts!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Happyboomernurse. I appreciate your wonderful comment.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Cynthia. For hot beverages, the epoxy sealant works best. It doesn't melt or end up with those melted rings in them. They stay perfectly smooth. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Angelo52 profile image

      Angelo52 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Nice idea especially with the holidays coming up.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Wow! What a great craft idea and your step by step photo instructions are easy to follow.

      Voting this hub up across the board except for funny, and sharing.

      Hub Hugs,

      Gail

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      Cynthia 5 years ago

      How do the coasters hold up to a hot mug of coffee? I've been looking at making trivets with my photos but haven't found a sealer/finish that would hold up to a hot pot.

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi MizBejabbers (Cool name). You sure can. You could use these tiles in a kitchen backsplash or you could set them in grout on a wooden tray table.. kind of like a mosaic table would look. If you had a special pattern in mind, you could skip putting the coaster backing on your design and set them down as a floor. The possibilites are endless. Thanks for your comment.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 5 years ago

      Neato! I wonder if you could actually cement them to the wall in a low-traffic area? I think it would be neat to place four or more in a frame and have your own custom-tile mural. Tile murals are very pricey at the store.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      That is a great idea talfonso. You could make a set for you and a set to give as a gift. I hope you enjoy making these!

    • talfonso profile image

      talfonso 5 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      This craft sounds like FUN! Would like to make a tile coaster of a recent vacation to somewhere or if I'm moving from Florida a photo of me at WDW with at least a Character.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I am so glad Marylol! Thanks for stopping by.

    • Marylol profile image

      Marylol 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      This is great, I am always looking for new craft ideas and this one is very unique. I tried it at home today and it looked smashing. Thanks for sharing.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks dwachira. This is one craft that makes a huge profit for anyone trying to supplement their income. Tiles are as low as $.25. A set of four usually sells for $20. It is also a better alternative to spending lots of money on a standard massed produced set. Thanks so much for your kind visit.

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      These are great creative ideas and another way of being self employed. I will surely shared this. Voted up and useful.

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hope you enjoy it glorgeousmom! Thanks for stopping by!

    • glorgeousmom profile image

      Glo L Bernadas 5 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you for this great idea. I'm looking forward to make this project with my daughters as part of our bonding moments. Voted up.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you Green Art. I appreciate it!

    • Green Art profile image

      Green Art 5 years ago

      This is a great craft idea! I love the fact that you can personalize it for the recipient. You have some beautiful examples here. Voted UP!

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much Thelma Alberts!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Very creative Tammy. I like this coaster with self choosen motif. Great design. Thanks for the information. Voted up and Shared!

    • mzindependent profile image

      mzindependent 5 years ago from Texas

      Wow, Tammy! Very beautiful and crafty. I love it!!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks PenHits TheFan! I appreciate you reading and commenting on this hub.

    • PenHitsTheFan profile image

      Amy L. Tarr 5 years ago from Home

      I love them. How cute! It's a great way to use up scrap fabric too.

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Mommiegee! I appreciate your visit.

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      Mommiegee 5 years ago from Alabama

      Great hub! I love the designs. Voted up!

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks naimishika! :)

    • naimishika profile image

      Venugopaal 5 years ago from India

      Excellent information provided. thanks

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Spavils,

      I haven't tried these on wood yet. Did you sand it first? I know resin sticks to wood bars. I don't put them in a mold. I just apply it to the surface with plastic underneath. I tried putting the tiles on cups to drip but the resin dries in bubbles under the tiles and makes a terrible mess. You can also set them on parchment paper to dry. If there is spill over, you can trim it and sand the edges smooth. Hope that helps.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for the comment Xanzacow!

    • profile image

      spavils 5 years ago

      A fantastic idea, I tried this with wood coaster but the resin lifted off the wood, looks like it will stick much better to tiles. Just one question did you use a mould when pouring the resin on and what did you use for the mould?

    • xanzacow profile image

      Cynthia 5 years ago from North Myrtle Beach, SC

      I absolutely LOVE your idea! Thank you for the great hub! Up, and interesting.

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much Suzie HQ! I appreciate you stopping by.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Excellent idea tammyswallow, loved this idea for coasters! well written and explained. I have a passion for all crafts and look forward to doing your suggestions here.Voted up and more!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I hope you enjoy it donabhatt. Thanks for reading.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      That is a very good idea frugalfamily. Great ideas! :) I appreciate the pin and the comment.

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks woothie! :)

    • donabhatt profile image

      donabhatt 5 years ago from Hyderabad

      Such a great idea...and I will definitely try this out.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 5 years ago from Houston, TX

      Awesome! Looks like a great thing to do with public domain photos too. I pinned it:D

    • woothie profile image

      woothie 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Fantastic! Beautiful idea.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      That is a great idea daisydayz. There are so many tiles in different styles and materials. They make great gifts and people get perplexed as to how you made them. Thanks so much for your comment.

    • daisydayz profile image

      Chantele Cross-Jones 5 years ago from Cardiff

      I was think of making photo ones of these as Christmas gifts this year. Me and my husband travel china a year or so ago and I think it would be a great use of some of our photos

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Britin Texas. These are really easy and the options are endless. I appreciate your visit.

    • BritInTexas profile image

      BritInTexas 5 years ago from San Antonio, Texas

      Absolutely fantastic, I'm so glad I found this article! I would never have known how to be so creative until now. Thank you for posting this!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Cindy. I use the smooth ceramic tiles and I also use slate tiles which are a little rougher. Bother work just as well. Thanks for stopping by.

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing Sharyn's Slant!

    • profile image

      Cindy Railey 5 years ago

      Do you use the smooth tiles or the rough tiles?

      These are wonderful ideas and I can't wait to try them.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Tammy, This is a great idea! Looks easy and your instructions are wonderfully detailed. Pinning . . .

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I hope you will try them. They are a great gift. I am making many Steeler's coasters for my friends for Christmas. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      What a great idea... I will definitely have to give this a try as I was just mentioning to my husband the other day that we need coasters for our drinks. This is also a great idea for Christmas gifts! I guess it isn't too early to start! :)

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading and commenting moonlake!

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks rebeccamealey! I hope you enjoy making them. I appreciate the comment.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      What a good idea. Will have to try this some time. I need new coasters.

      Voted Up.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Wow! These would make great personalizes gifts, like with kid's pictures for Mother's Day! Great job explaining the process and all the things to watch out for!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for visiting Molometer. These coasters are easy and would be great for kids to make. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      These ceramic tile coasters look great and have a very professional finish.

      Using decorative napkins of photos is a brilliant idea.

      Looks like a great activity for the grandchildren too.

      Thanks for sharing these great ideas Tammy.

      Voted up and all the buttons sharing.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much DeborahNeyens! I bet those coasters were beautiful. I love French design too! Thanks for your visit.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      I'm pinning this, too. I've been wanting to make coasters ever since I saw some in the French Market in New Orleans last year that were made with post cards.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I try to pin interesting things along with hubs to get readers. I pinned a simple cat photo and it got more than 3000 repins. It is amazing what takes off and what doesn't. I will try to find you on pinterest.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I'm so happy for you! I had a similar thing happen with my Easter Egg hub, I pinned it and only got a couple of repins, but other people pinned it and it went wild.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      My statistics are going crazy today! Thank you so much for doing that. I added it and I only got about 20 views. I really, really appreciate it!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      86 repins off my board, this is a real pinterest winner!

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow theclevercat! I really appreciate that. I didn't know why I had a spike in traffic. Thanks so much!

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      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Wowie, just got an email and your coasters were repinned 19 times so far! Go, tammyswallow!

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much clevercat! I appreciate the comment and the share!

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much shalycriston! :)

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much learner365. I appreciate you stopping by!

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Lord. My little one helps with everything. I appreciate your visit.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Sherry!

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for the comment iswaryaa22! I appreciate your kind words and your visit!

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for your kind comment radhikasree!

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      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Wow! I love this. Voted up, beautiful, and posted on Pinterest. Great work!

    • shalycriston profile image

      Shaly Criston 5 years ago from USA

      Yo! It's really amazing. Keep up this type of great info.

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      Saadia A 5 years ago

      What a great Hub.The idea is too,too good and looks like fun.The instructions and the pictures you have provided with them makes it a lot easier to understand. I will look forward to try this craft out. Thank you for your effort and sharing :)

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      This was wonderfully done. The Pics so helpful! Seems or looks like your kids did help. Great hub! and easy to follow. Pinning too!

      LORD

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      So beautiful, I'm pinning these!

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      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Another wonderful craft hub from you! Your coasters are beautiful, your tips are very smart and the instructions are well-laid out. Keep on surprising us with more from you! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, awesome & beautiful. Voted up & Socially Shared.

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      Radhika Sreekanth 5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      I like giving a personal touch while decorating anything. These coasters shine as we can choose the napkins of our choice. These are all great tips for doing the same.

      Up and useful.

      Sharing with my friends here.

    • Shihab Mahmud profile image

      Shihab Mahmud 5 years ago from Dhaka

      awesome idea and amazing results!

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks LaThing. Cool Avatar. You can use the bigger tiles for pots and pans and 4 x 6 tile to make a matching trivet for spoons and etc. Thanks so much for your kind comment. I hope you have fun with it.

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading and commenting Cyndi!

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading Luis! :)

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much for your visit and kind comment Ruchira. These are really fun crafts. I appreciate your visit!

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      LaThing 5 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      What a great idea for a craft and it's useful too! I think I will try with the bigger tiles and make some for my pots in the kitchen. I am always looking for something to put my hot pots on. Wonderfully laid out hub and easy to follow. Thanks, voting up, and everything! :)

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      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hello Tammy, What a wonderfully easy craft idea. Love it! Thanks so much for writing about it. Bookmarking and voted up.

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      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Great idea and beautiful results!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Beautiful idea and coasters NEVER go out fashion.

      I might do this with my kid over the summer break...bookmarking it Tammy!

      voted up and sharing it.

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks larcaustin46!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks laurathegentleman. These make great, unique, inexpensive gifts. Thanks for commenting.

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks emilybee! :)

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much for sharing that John. With these you can have any design you want. I appreciate you stopping in!

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks cheleascharleston! :)

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading and commenting Ms. Stephanie. These are really easy to make. Your travel photos would make beautiful coasters. ;) Thanks so much for your visit.

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Keri! I try to focus on crafts that do more than just collect dust. I appreciate your kind words here and I look forward to checking out your work as well. :)

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      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much for visiting CClitgirl. I appreciate that and it always wonderful to see you.

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      larcaustin46 5 years ago from Austin, TX

      What a fun idea! This is definitely on my list of craft projects for the kids this summer--thanks for sharing such a detailed, informative hub!

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      laurathegentleman 5 years ago from Chapel Hill, NC

      This is an amazing idea! Hello, Christmas gifts for this year! :)

    • emilybee profile image

      emilybee 5 years ago

      Such pretty coasters!!! Fun coasters really add something fun to the table. Will have to try making some sometime!! Thanks for the great idea!