DIY Photo Coasters {Perfect for Custom Christmas Gifts}

by SimplySharpe on December 21, 2012

I think because I’m Jew-ish, I don’t totally understand why people get so banana sandwich around Christmas time, but I absolutely LOVE celebrating the holiday with The DJ and his family. They definitely do it differently than we did Hannukah, and I really wanted to put the extra thought into getting meaningful gifts his family would love while still maintaining our current budget.

Enter Pinterest — because where else did you think this was going?! I am so thankful they finally gave us private boards to play with! I have been hoarding some of my upcoming projects so these gifts would still be a surprise on Christmas Day. No one in the family reads this blog, so technically I’m not outing myself.

I found a few pins with the same idea (and several when I Googled “Photo Coasters”). Overall, I liked what Amanda was doing over at Bits & Pieces. She kept it simple and I love looking at her cute puppy!

Here is what you need to get started:


– Set of four 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 ceramic tiles (I found these at Home Depot for $.16 each. I didn’t buy enough and had to go to Lowe’s where they were $.32 and not as flat or white. They also have ridges on them that I only noticed after I finished. Sigh!)

– Mod Podge (I like matte, but use what you have or go for glossy. To each our own and whatnot.)

– Clear acrylic spray paint

– Sponge brush (Michaels sells these for $.49! I bought five because they get hard if you leave them sitting for too long with Mod Podge on them. Get extras because you will need them.)

– Black felt for the back of the coasters or cork (This is where my testing hurts or helps. I didn’t care much for the cork and went back for black felt. I got the self adhesive kind because let’s be honest — I’m lazy!)

– Photos printed in 4×4 format (I HIGHLY recommend getting these from Postal Pix!! Not only do they print them 4×4 perfectly, they are fast and ridiculously cheap! I had to go get reprints printed at Kinko’s in one of those Sony machine situations and they are just not as good a quality for the unique size. You can do this if the photos you are using did not start off from Instagram, but definitely consider your photo size before printing.)

Ready to get started?

1. Apply Mod Podge to the tile using your sponge brush. Put your photo on the tile immediately so it sticks.

2. Pour out a drop of Mod Podge over your photo and use your sponge brush to apply it over the top.

It will dry clear, so don’t worry!

2. Let it completely dry and do another layer. I alternated doing mine horizontal and vertical because I liked the way it looked. Do this at least 5 times, allowing the Mod Podge to completely dry in between applications.

3. Waterproof and seal your coasters by spraying several coats of the clear acryllic spray paint, also allowing to dry before each application.

4. Apply your felt or cork to the bottom. Again, I used self adhesive felt for this and just eyeballed the amount needed. If you want to be more precise, have a ruler handy!

BOOM! You are done! All you need to do is add a ribbon and find a cute gift bag for these…

I really love how mine came out! I have been exercising some serious restraint not posting pics on Instagram or Facebook, but I want these to be a surprise. I’m pretty sure they don’t know I have a blog, so this post shouldn’t spoil anything.

I would love to see your photo coasters if you decide to make them!

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