I’ve been playing with ceramic tiles the last week, trying to find a simple DIY for making them into coasters. After a few false starts, I found a fairly easy, very inexpensive way to do it. I used pages from books to decoupage the tiles, then I added an initial in the bottom right hand corner to personalize for the person I’ll be giving it to. I’m planning on making a bunch of these as Christmas gifts this year. Sometime it’s nice to get away from the malls and make something with your hands.
- Mod Podge, Gloss Finish
- Sponge Brushes
- Letter stencils
- Acrylic Paint
- Old books* (check out thrift stores or used bookstores)
- Ceramic tiles (I got 6 for $.84 at Home Depot)
- Stiffened craft felt
- Craft glue
- Clear gloss/glaze finishing spray
*Pick books that are relevant to the person you’ll be giving these to. For instance, in the example below, I used pages from a Nancy Drew book, because the relative I’m giving these to loves to read mystery novels.
Step 1: Wipe off the tiles using a damp rag, then dry thoroughly. Lay down newspaper on your workspace. Rip pages from the book you’re using into smaller sections that will easily fit onto the tile. I prefer a collaged look with small, overlapping sections of text, but you could use an intact page if you like that look better. You may want to choose specific pieces of paper to fit your theme. For instance, I made sure that each tile had two chapter titles showing, since they were especially “mysterious”–“A Desperate Situation”; “A Forgotten Secret.”
Step 2: Using a sponge brush, apply Mod Podge to the part of the tile you’ll be placing the paper on. Lay down paper, then apply Mod Podge on top, making sure to wipe away the extra shellac.
Step 3: Continue applying Mod Podge, paper, Mod Podge until the entire tile is covered. Make sure you’re wrapping the paper down onto the sides and slightly underneath the tile, too. You’ll notice the tile is positioned on top of a glass in some of the pictures. This made it easier for me to access all sides of the tile without having to touch the wet parts too much. (And Mod Podge easily washes away from glass.)
Step 4: After the tile is covered, let it sit for a half hour or so. When dry on the surface, place your stencil on the tile. I used stencils that have an adhesive back. They’re Plaid Folk Art stencils (from Michael’s), and they stick only well enough not to budge while you’re applying paint, but they easily pull off without taking any of the paper.
Step 5: Apply paint with another sponge brush to negative space in stencil, using a dabbing motion. The paint should be thick and opaque.
Step 6: Pull stencil off right away while paint is still wet. I went back and touched up the letters with a regular paintbrush afterwards. Let paint sit until dry to the touch, another half hour or so. Apply another layer of Mod Podge over entire tile, including painted initial. Let tile dry for several hours. Trace tile onto craft felt, making the square a little smaller than the tile. Cut out felt square and glue to the bottom of the coaster.
Step 7: When felt has adhered, flip tile over and spray paper side in a ventilated area (outside is best) with the clear gloss finishing spray (this will prevent the coasters from being so sticky, as Modpodge sometimes tends to be). What I’ve read online is that Modpodge actually takes several weeks to cure, so you should let the coasters sit out, hardening, for as long as possible before wrapping, gifting, or using.
You can totally personalize this project. Use pictures from art books instead of text. Use pages from old math workbooks (easily found at Goodwill) for the math nerd in your life. Stencil images or important dates instead of initials. There are lots of options, have fun with it!