From Camera to Coaster

Coasters, helping people respect and protect wood since 1880.

Do you respect wood? Do you? If you do, it’s a guarantee that you have several coasters at your residence. Odd little things, coasters. I’ve never gone shopping for the sole purpose of buying them but I did receive a pack of four glass ones as a gift a few years ago. They were nice because you could slip whatever tiny 1.5 in x 1.5 in photo you have in them. They weren’t nice because who has photos that size? I decided to just draw my own little pictures and put those in instead, those turned out okay.

I didn’t give much thought to those coasters. Heck, we’ve barely even used them. When I came across six coasters for 75 cents at the thrift store however, they suddenly seemed quite appealing. I just had to have them, not because of the way they looked but just because I could get six of them for so cheap that even if I screwed up whatever it was I planned on doing with them, I wouldn’t really have lost too much.

I think ultimately I knew I wanted to put my own photographs on them. I’ve been into photography lately, I’m sort of proud of some pictures and I figure this is a great way to subtlety flaunt them (although, all subtleties go out the window when I call direct attention to them by blogging about it, don’t they?). I chose some of my favorites and ventured off to good ol’ Wallyworld to get them developed ($4 for eight).

Materials Required:

Photographs (book pages, maps, scrapbook paper, news paper clippings or even fabric would also work wonderfully)
Mod Podge (I have the gloss kind, matte would be better for you if you’d prefer the coasters to have less of a shine, although I don’t think these are too shiny)
Paintbrush or sponge (to apply said Mod Podge)
Marker or pen
Coasters (I lucked out and found some for very cheap, maybe you’ve got some old stained ones that need some sprucing up? If you don’t, can’t find any or don’t have the time to look for them, buy some cork board. You can cut your coaster shapes out of that by tracing a glass, plate, old coaster- whatever. You’ll have to use a box cutter or exacto-kinfe for that too, so keep that in mind. You can also use ceramic tiles or plain old wood that you can pick up at any home improvement store…  do you see how I took the easiest and cheapest way out? Typical cheapo deapo.)
Extra ribbon, tape or fabric ( for border, optional)

Step by Step:

1. Trace the coaster shape onto your pictures (maps, fabric, whatever)
2. Cut them up
3. Put the picture face down on a clean surface, and apply Mod Podge
4. Press the coaster down on the photo (I chose to do it this way so I wouldn’t leave finger smudges on the photo while pressing it down onto the coaster)
5. Let them dry and set (I’d wait at least 30 minutes, I think I let them sit an hour)
6. Apply a coat of Mod Podge ontop of the picture
7. Let dry for about an hour (they’ll look gross and white when they’re wet but don’t worry they’ll dry clear (sorry but…that’s what she said?) Ugh, I had to.)
8. Once they’ve dried apply a second coat

Now is the point I encountered some problems. I knew it was coming, because when I traced the coaster onto the photo I realized that the picture was not tall enough. I got 4×6 photos and apparently the coaster is 4.1 inches tall…sigh.

So now I have to decide whether or not that tiny strip of white coaster sticking out underneath the picture is going to drive me insane every time I look at them. Yup, it would’ve, I needed to fix it to ensure my own future sanity. I could’ve used ribbon, could’ve used fabric, could’ve even painted it.
We had hockey tape though, so I used that instead.

Hockey tape is pretty self-explanatory, it’s tape that goes on a… anyone?


Hockey stick, right! If you’ve never used it before the best way I can describe it is that it’s like duct tape and electrical tape spent a magical night together back in college and the result was this incredible hybrid tape that combines the stitching of duct and the stickiness of electrical.

Or, it’s like easy to rip fabric that’s sticky on one side. I really don’t know what other projects this tape will be good for, but now I’m intrigued because this tape was pretty darn useful in this instance.

Note to self: Find more uses for hockey tape. Also- research gossip/hardware magazines to see if duct tape and electrical tape have any other illegitimate children or are still hooking up…

I taped around the edges of the coasters and applied two more coats of Mod Podge.

Not too shabby if I do say so myself. For those of you keeping track the total cost to make these was $4.75. That’s because I had the Mod Podge and hockey tape around already, if you had to buy those things as well it would cost and extra $15 or so. Mod Podge is expensive but worth it in my opinion. A little goes a long way and it’s pretty versatile to boot.

Next Project: Make new photo coasters using the photos of the old photo coasters.


3 thoughts on “From Camera to Coaster

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