DIY Tile Photo Coasters
If you’re still looking for that perfect Mother’s Day gift to give, look no further! These photo coasters are a fun and inexpensive project your Mom will cherish for years to come.
These photo coasters are perfect for any gift giving occasion and with Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday, I thought it was the perfect time to share these with you! What mother wouldn’t love a set of coasters with her children on them? I made these for my Husband this last Christmas and he absolutely loved them! They are definitely one of my favorite projects I’ve ever made–I just love how they turned out! The resin gives the coasters an almost glass-like appearance which makes them shiny and highly durable!
These photo coasters are an easy and inexpensive gift. I used natural stone tiles I found at Menards for 19 cents each! To make things even more inexpensive, look for coupons at Michael’s or Jo Ann Fabrics to purchase the Mod Podge, Envirotex or cork squares for as much as 40% off.
You can print photos for as cheap as 17 cents at Costco, however, the place I always use and recommend for high quality prints is Mpix. Each print is more expensive and you do have to wait for them to ship to you, but the quality of the prints just can’t compare to anywhere else I’ve used.
Besides using cherished photos, you can paint on the tiles with acrylic paint, use scrapbook paper instead of photos, maps of your favorite destinations, sheet music, drawings, or even tickets from events you’ve attended. The possibilities are endless! I captured my Little Sweet Pea’s handprint in acrylic paint for one of my coasters. If you do end up using acrylic paint, make sure to read the directions on how long the paint has to cure before you can cover them in Envirotex. The paints that I used said that it needed a seven day cure for the paint to reach maximum harness and to be 100% dry.
Materials for Photo Coaster Tiles:
- 8 tiles each 4″square (I used natural stone tiles I found at Menards for 19 cents each!)
- Mod Podge
- Foam brush for spreading glue
- 8 Photos cut into 3 1/2 inch squares
- Envirotex Lite Pour-On High Gloss Resin
- Two disposable plastic cups
- Popsicle stick
- 8 (3 1/2 inch) cork squares
Make sure your tiles are clean and dry before starting. Completely cover the back side of a photo with Mod Podge making sure you go right up to the edges. Place the glued photo onto a tile. Press on it firmly to remove any air bubbles. With a rolling pin, use a rolling motion from the center to the edge of the paper to remove any bubbles. Repeat the process for the rest of the tiles and wait 15 minutes for the Mod Podge to dry before going going on to the next step.
Brush a layer of Mod Podge over the top of the photo using brushing strokes all in the same direction. Wait until the Mod Podge dries clear (about 15 minutes), then paint on another layer, this time at right-angles to the first layer. Repeat with remaining tiles and leave glue to dry overnight. You want them to be completely dry before you apply the varnish in the next step. Don’t worry if the Mod Podge leaves a ridged surface from the brush strokes. When you varnish the coasters you won’t see the ridges anymore.
Please note that the Envirotex varnish is going to drip everywhere when you pour it on your coasters, so before you start cover your work area with a big piece of cardboard or several layers of newspaper. Place each of your coasters on top of a disposable cup. This will prevent them from sticking to your work surface. Mark lines at 2oz and 4oz on one of your disposable plastic cup. I marked the lines by putting exact amounts of water into the cup and marked the level with a Sharpie marker. Make sure you completely dry the cup before mixing the varnish.
Put the Envirotex bottles in a bath of warm water to heat them up. While the bottles are warming, cover the edges of the back of your tiles with adhesive tape, and trim any excess. This will make it easy to remove any drips of Envirotex later.
Pour 2oz from each Envirotex bottle into your plastic cup that you marked as a measuring cup. Stir for 1 minute using a Popsicle stick. After 1 minute, pour the mix into your second cup, and stir for another minute. It’s important to use two cups like this because it leaves behind the unmixed epoxy on the sides of the first cup. When stirring, you want to stir fast enough to mix the resin, but don’t stir so vigorously that you make bubbles.
As soon as you’ve finished mixing the Envirotex, pour it onto the center of your coasters. Trying to divide it evenly between all eight coasters. The Envirotex will form spreading puddles on each tile and start dripping over the sides. Don’t worry about the drips over the side of the tiles. You want the Envirotex to completely cover the top and sides of the tiles so if it doesn’t reach use a scrap of cardboard to help spread it.
About 15 minutes after you poured the Envirotex, you will notice tiny bubbles rising to the surface. Breathe gently over the surface of each tile to pop the bubbles.
About 30 minutes after you poured the Envirotex, use a scrap of cardboard to wipe any drips from the bottom of the tiles. Wait another 30 minutes, and wipe away the drips again. Cover your project with something (I used a big cardboard box) to prevent dust from landing on the coasters, and let the Envirotex cure for 24 hours. The Envirotex coating cures to full strength and toughness about 72 hours after pouring, at 70 degrees F (21 °C). After this time the coasters are ready to use.
Once the Envirotex has set, peel the tape (which will be covered in drips of Envirotex) off the bottom of the coasters. If it’s hard to remove the tape, you might need to first file the bottom edges of the tile with sandpaper.
Attach cork squares to the bottom of your coasters with Mod Podge and allow to dry for at least 20 minutes before using.
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