How To: Make Photo Coasters

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Photo coasters make fun and personalized gifts and decorations. This is a project that requires time and patience. If you take your time and don’t rush this craft, you’ll have a memory that can be used for a lifetime.

Step 1: Gather the Materials

To make a photo coaster, you will need the following material:

  • A ceramic tile – a 4-inch square tile is a good size for a coaster.
  • Mod Podge – a water-based sealer and finish used for decoupage projects. An alternative is a 50/50 mixture of Elmer’s glue and water.
  • A color printer
  • A water-based white paint
  • A small paint brush
  • Ruler and scissors
  • A sheet of felt
  • Glue gun
  • Polyurethane or other clear protective coating


Step 2: Prepare the tiles

Plain white ceramic tiles are a good choice for a coaster project. Also, look for tiles with a flat surface. This will keep the glasses from falling off the tile.

  • Paint the rough or unfinished edges of the tile white to make it more attractive.
  • Before you begin, make sure the tile is clean and completely dry.

Step 3: Print the photograph

Your photo coaster is a showcase for your best photographs. Select a photo that is eye-catching. If you are familiar with computer graphics programs, you can sharpen the image, adjust the color saturation, type a few inspiring words and draw a frame around the photo.

  • Do a test print to make sure that the ink will not smear on the paper when the Mod Podge is applied.
  • Print the photo to fit on the tile. The photograph can be printed on either photo or regular paper.
  • Let the print dry completely.
  • Make sure the photo will fit on the tile properly. Trim if necessary. The photo should not be larger than the outside edge of the top of the tile.

Step 4: Attach the photo to the tile

Before you begin this step, make sure the photo fits on the tile and that the Mod Podge will not smear the photo ink.

  • Spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on the top of the tile.
  • Place the photo on top of the tile, smooth out any bubbles and press down the edges.
  • Add a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the photo and let dry before adding a second coat. This will secure and protect the photo.

Step 5: Add a glossy shine

Applying polyurethane, a clear acrylic gloss coating spray or other protective coating helps prolong the life of the print and makes the coaster waterproof.

  • Make sure the Mod Podge is completely dry.
  • Paint a light coat of polyurethane on the top and sides of the tile.
  • Let the polyurethane dry.
  • Paint a second coat of polyurethane.

Step 6: Add a backing to the tile

A felt backing will keep the coaster from scratching furniture. An alternative to a felt backing is to purchase a package of felt mounting circles.

  • Cut the felt so that it is slightly smaller than the bottom of the tile.
  • Apply hot glue around the bottom edge of the tile.
  • Affix the felt backing to the bottom of the tile.

Once everything on your coaster is dry, it's ready to use!

Last Updated: January 31, 2013
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About Coletta Teske Coletta Teske has 25 years' experience in tech journalism, as well as home and gardening topics. She has freelanced for Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing and Microsoft, published more than two dozen computer books for Prima Publishing and Macmillan, and worked as a freelance correspondent for West Hawaii Today. Coletta has been an avid gardener since she was 2 years old. While living in Hawaii, she achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a certified master gardener.

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