Thursday, December 27, 2012

12 Days of Christmas: Day Two: Photo Tile Coasters

This Christmas I decided to go the frugal route and make most of my presents. So for the next few days, I'm going to post tutorials for my many gift projects. Happy Crafting!

Project #1: Photo Tile Coasters

  • 4" x 4" ceramic tiles
  • Modge Podge
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Printed photos
  • Clear acrylic spray paint
  • Cork lining
1. Go to Lowe's, Home Depot, or wherever fine tiles are sold. Okay, not necessarily "fine." I got the cheapest tiles I could get. In retrospect, perhaps I should've paid a little more and gotten smooth ones instead of the textured tiles I ended up with, but I'll address that a little later.

2.Choose which photos you would like to turn into coasters. Re-size them to be the same size and shape as your tiles, in this case 4 in. by 4 in. square.

3. Print. You can use regular computer paper or something fancier if you want. I went with a slightly thicker stock but nothing too special. I also discovered that fading the color of the pictures before printing resulted in less color bleeding in the Modge Podge step. Feel free to play around with it. I did four test coasters before I finally got it right.

4. Cut out your pictures. I cut them slightly smaller than the face of the tiles to avoid having paper stick out over the edges.

5. Modge Podge time! Using a paintbrush, put a thin layer of Modge Podge on the surface of the tile. Before it has time to dry, place your picture atop the Modge Podge and smooth out any air bubbles. This is where the texture of the tiles became a bit of a problem. Working around the grooves in the surface made it difficult to remove the bubbles without messing up the slightly damp paper. However, the resulting texture did look neat, so just follow your heart. But if I were to do this again I would probably choose smooth tiles.

6. Once the picture is placed and the air bubbles are gone, paint a layer of Modge Podge over the entire surface of the picture and around the edges of the tile to ensure it is completely sealed. This is the stage at which I observed bleeding of the colors. Work quickly and don't brush more than you have to to completely cover the picture in Modge Podge. Or maybe you like the bleeding colors effect. In that case, have at it. Again, a test coaster may be in order.

[A word of advice: If you do mess up on your Modge Podging, miss some air bubbles, or you just don't like how the color looks, let the tile dry completely before removing the picture. If you try to rinse off wet Modge Podge it will be sticky and difficult. If you let it dry first, you will be able to peel off the photo fairly easily.]

7. Make sure the Modge Podge has completely covered the picture, sealing it to the tile, and let dry completely. Spray with clear acrylic paint for final sealing and waterproofing and to give the coasters a bit of shine. (You can get matte spray paint if you don't want the shine.) The Modge Podge is itself a sealant, but I do recommend this step as sort of a precautionary measure. You don't want to find later that the Modge Podge is letting in some water.

8. The last step is to affix something to the bottom of your tiles so that they don't mess up your furniture. You can use cork, felt, or even little rubber dots. I went with some cork lining I found at the hobby store because it was thin and already had adhesive attached. All I had to do was cut it to a little smaller than the tiles, peel off the backing, and stick it on.

And that's it! I made sixteen tiles, which ended up being a day-long project, partly because of my trials and errors. But it was worth it for a lovely (and functional!) keepsake that my family members loved.

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