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Handmade Christmas: Photo Coasters

You may remember that Trevor and I are handmaking all of our Christmas gifts this year. We like to call it Handmade Holidays. This is the first of {at least} three tutorials of some of the gifts we've made and are giving to our relatives.

Dear Family, if you are related to me by blood you will want to skip this post. Unless you want your Christmas gift surprise ruined. In that case, bah humbug and carry on.

DAD, this is your last warning to click out of this page and visit another website...

Ok, so if you're on Pinterest you've most likely seen a version of these. But because I promised you that I'd share tutorials of our Christmas gifts in this post, you're getting a long post with a million pictures :)

I had made a set of these for my mom for her birthday and Mother's Day back in May. They held up so well and were so loved and appreciated, I thought I'd make a set for my dad, my aunt, and my grandparents for Christmas this year.

First, I gathered my supplies. I wanted to make a set of four coasters for each recipient {there are three of them, remember?} so I bought 12 {4 inch x 4 inch}  tiles at Menards. They were something like $0.13 each or so.

I also bought a single sheet of felt from Hobby Lobby for each set of coasters {that's three sheets of felt for those of you that don't want to use your noggin}. You will need a paintbrush {I used a foam brush because I liked the texture it leaves behind} and ModPodge. You'll also need a waterproofing spray {you can see what I used below}. Finally, you will also need photos!

Cut your pictures down to be about 3 1/2 inches square. I didn't measure them or anything - I just eyeballed and cut. You could also cut little photos out and create a mosaic on each tile - but I chose to use one photo because I like the way they look more than a mosaic. It's just personal preference - try a mosaic if you want!


On a protective surface {I used a paper grocery bag}, lay your clean tiles out and roll your sleeves up!

Paint a layer of ModPodge on. Mine looks thick in this photo because of the color of the tile but you only need enough to coat it - no need to slather it on!

Next, lay your photo on and paint another layer of ModPodge on. I like to brush in the same direction so that the texture looks uniform. Again, experiment here and do what looks good to you. Move on to the next tile and do the same.

Let them dry - I think it was about an hour or so until I was sure mine were dry - and then add another top coat.

Let that coat dry - I let it dry for about 3 days only because I didn't have time to do the next step until then. Then grab your waterproof stray paint and spray your tiles. Follow the directions on your paint and do two coats. You can see that I have a matte spray - I totally love it and highly recommend it. It makes the tiles look more "polished" {put together, not actually polished} and finished.

Let that dry {lots of waiting here, folks! But it's not a big deal if you do a few steps at a time and come back at a later time. For instance, I went grocery shopping between the matte spray and this next step}.

Cut your felt out into 4x4 squares {or whatever size your tiles are!} and get your hot glue gun ready!
Glue the felt to the bottom of the tiles.

A few tips that came with experience: glue as close to the edge as you can and make sure you glue all the way around. It helps if you glue a little, then press the felt on, then glue a little, then press the felt on.

And you're done!
This is the set for my dad. My favorite picture on the coasters is the black and white of my Oma and Opa - pictured in the lower left here - when they were much younger and still living in Europe. It makes me smile every time I see it.

It really is a simple process and can be done in a day if needed. Like I mentioned, I took longer to make mine because I have been so busy, but if you plan it right you can give them as a gift tomorrow! {Pssst, you still have time to make these before Christmas!}

We just tied ours up with a ribbon and then wrapped them like the rest of our gifts for Christmas.

Try 'em and let me know how they turn out for you!


  1. I like that the photo set for your dad seem to have a color palette in common - and that it's almost a vintage palette. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Ha ha I'm doing a handmade Christmas and have been working on these as well. I've already got my post in draft, but can't post it until after Christmas because I've got a lot of family that reads my blog as well.

    So far I've done about 30, but had to stop because I ran into a problem. Maybe you can help. The coasters have come out great so far, however as soon as I stack them, the felt on the underside leaves these ugly imprints on the coaster underneath. It's so devastating because I followed the directions to a Tee and allowed plenty of drying time in between phases. I even used less modge pod to see if that would help.

    I had to redo them, which is sad because they came out so cute. So if you have any tips it would be much appreciated. Also if it helps any the acrylic sealant I used was Patrica Nimock's clear acrylic sealant. What type did you use?

    p.s your coasters came out great!


  3. these are great!!
    thanks for this post!

  4. These are awesome! :) I think I will make some for my sister and Dad. :)

  5. These are such awesome gifts!!! I will have to remember that for birthdays and next Christmas :)


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