I am SO excited to share this tutorial with you! My dad’s birthday is December 26th, aka Boxing Day! With it being so close to Christmas we always try to make his birthday extra special so he still gets to enjoy a special day for himself. This fall we went to England and it was truly an amazing vacation! I got to see a million beautiful sites and had a blast the whole time I was there. I also got a TON of crafting inspiration while we were there. Even getting to go to the Greenwich Market which was so cool!
I thought the perfect gift for my dad who has everything was a great souvenir to remember the trip by that can also double as something useful around the house. That’s where these super awesome marble tile coasters come in! You can literally put any image on your tiles but I think the photo idea is really cool 🙂
Let’s get started!
Supplies you will need for your photo coasters:
- Unfinished stone tiles (I got marble tiles at Home Depot)
- Photos printed on regular paper *see below for more details on how to format your photos
- Matte gel medium
- Dupli-Colour Acrylic Enamel Clearcoat All-Purpose Coating
Formatting Photos for Your Photo Coasters
You need to find your tiles before you print your images. Measure your tiles and size the photos to match. My tiles are 4″ tiles so I made my photos square and then sized them to 4″.
To make sure your images come out the right way around you will need to mirror the images (flip them horizontally). If you need an easy way to make your images head over the Canva.ca It’s what I use and it is free and easy!
I added a little tag at the bottom of mine with the location of the photo. I used a typewriter font and it looks pretty cool! You can also add text to your photos using Canva 🙂 Note that if you are adding text you don’t want to put it too close to the edge of the image. I put my text right at the bottom and because the stone tiles have some irregular edges some of the text was cut off by chips out of the edge of the tile.
Now to print! Just print on regular paper with regular ink.
Now just cut all of you photos out leaving only a small border around the edge. The closer you cut to the edge of your photo the easier it will be to center on the tile.
Prepping Your Tiles
There was some glue on my tiles because I bought them glued to a mesh so if you did the same you will need to sand the glue off the edges. Wipe your tiles with a damp cloth and then a dry cloth to remove any dust. Lay your tiles out on something to protect your table (I just used cardboard).
Transferring Images to Your Photo Coasters
Time to put your images onto your tiles! Using a paintbrush apply a layer of gel medium to your first tile. Not too much that there are lumps but enough gel medium to ensure that the tile has no dry spots.
Put your image face down onto the tile and press gently over the whole image to make sure that it is firmly attached. Now leave your tiles at least 24 hours to make sure they are fully dry. I left mine for 48 hours to be certain that they were ready. Once your tiles are dry use a sharp knife to remove any paper that is hanging over the edges of your tiles.
Now for the fun part: the photo reveal! You will need a small bowl of water and a cloth. Moisten the cloth in the bowl of water and dab the water onto your coaster until the paper is translucent.
Gently use your fingers to rub the paper off of the tile. The paper should disintegrate from the water leaving just the ink on your tile!
This step is a bit tricky because if you rub too hard you will remove the ink leaving blank spots on your photo. If you don’t remove enough paper then you will have a cloudy cover over your images. What worked best for me was to remove what seemed like all of the paper and then leave the tiles to dry overnight. After the tiles are dry you will be able to see a cloudy cover over the spots where some paper still remains.
Just dampen your fingers in a bowl of water and gently rub these areas to remove the last of the paper and then wipe gently with a paper towel to remove the last of the paper pieces.
Finishing Your Photo Coasters
By now your coasters are probably looking pretty awesome, (I know mine are!). Now for a few finishing touches to make sure all of your hard work lasts a lifetime 🙂
You will need to seal your tiles not only to preserve the image but to make sure that your coasters can stand up to all of those hot cups of tea that will be sitting on them! I used DupliColour Clearcoat Acrylic Enamel which is made for automotive use. I chose the matte spray just as a matter of preference but it also comes in a glossy version if you want that sort of finish.
I wouldn’t recommend using this spray indoors so I headed out to my garage to do the sealing process. I used disposable gloves and a small face mask to make sure I didn’t breathe in too many fumes 🙂 I simply followed the instructions on the can to apply 2 thin layers and then a 3rd wet layer. Waiting 10 minutes between each coat. After spraying your tiles you will want to leave them at least a few days to cure.
I used small bumpers on each bottom corner of my coasters. These bumpers are available anywhere; they are the type that you put on your drawers to stop them for slamming or the bottoms of your furniture to protect the floor. These ones I purchased from the dollar store for just a couple of dollars! Because they are from the dollar store I used a small dab of hot glue to affix them even though they have their own adhesive on them.
Now that your coasters are finished you will need some sort of container for them. I found a small wooden crate that was plain unfinished wood. With a little bit of wood stain and a layer of felt to line the bottom it became the perfect carrier for my coasters!
Another idea that I had for storing the coasters was to use a photo shelf to display the coasters on the wall but since I’m always giving my dad wall artwork I opted for the wooden crate option 🙂
I hope this tutorial helped you out in creating a one-of-a-kind gift! Please leave a comment below if you need help with any of the steps or if you just want to chat 🙂