Custom Photo Coasters

by Meghan

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My Instagram project sneak peeks put the pressure on to get these posted!  We first saw these on PopSugar as gifts for Mother’s Day, and like many of you clamoring for the How To…, we fell in love at first sight.  We finally got the chance to make them ourselves, and they came out so perfect.  If you are in need of a quick, inexpensive but beautiful gift idea, these are definitely it!

Custom Photo Coasters

Shopping List:

White ceramic tiles
Mod Podge
Sponge/foam applicator brush
Hot glue

Cost: Less than $5

Prep Time: 1.5-2 hours.  This is all prep – unless you are going to let your kids paint on the ModPodge, which I would only recommend for older kids.

Clean-up Time: None

These make great gifts, and the end product looks super expensive, despite costing next to nothing.  I found white, 4″ square ceramic tiles at Home Depot for $0.16 each… so to make a set of 4 coasters cost me less than $1.  I already had the rest of the materials at home.  Next, you will need to select your photos… and it doesn’t have to be photos.  It could be a sports team, school emblem, or graphic.  Whatever you choose, you will want to crop and size the image to print 3.5″ square.  I just printed them at home on regular printer paper in black and white, and then cut them out.


If you’ve never used Mod Podge before, I’m sort of in love with the stuff – I bought a jar when Big M was first born, have used it on at least 5 projects and still have about 1/3 of a jar left.  You can use it as both glue, finish and sealant.  It comes in both gloss or matte finish, and easily found at craft stores, or you can get it from Amazon for $7.  I used gloss for my coasters, but you can use either.

I made 5 sets of these at once, and I laid my tiles out in rows on top of a silicon baking mat.  This served double duty – protecting my counter from glue AND it held the tiles in place while I glued the photos on and sealed them.  You want to apply Mod Podge in thin coats, with a sponge brush.  You will paint the first coat on the tile, then press your photo onto the tile.  Be sure to smooth out your photo and eliminate any air bubbles or bumps right away.  Let this dry for 15-20 minutes.  Then, you will paint 2-3 additional coats of Mod Podge on each tile OVER the photo, allowing 15-20 minutes of dry time between each coat.  Use both horizontal and vertical strokes to apply thin, even coats.  This will seal the photo in place and serve as your finish as well.  Don’t worry if it looks cloudy when you first apply it – it will dry clear.

While they are drying, you can cut felt squares to hot glue on the back of each coaster to keep them from scratching your table or each other when stacked.  I recommend cutting the squares just slightly smaller than the 4″ square tiles.  You can just do small pieces of felt for each corner, but I think the full square looks better.


Voila!  Seeing the finished product, I am SO glad I bought enough to make a set for us to keep!


These make great gifts for all occasions (Christmas, Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, etc.), family members, and teachers.  Share pics of your finished coaster with us on Instagram @PGPBMeghan!

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katethegreat December 15, 2014 - 3:23 pm

You just used regular printer paper? Not photo paper?

Meghan December 15, 2014 - 3:57 pm

Yep… just plain, white printer paper, nothing fancy!


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