By Kathleen Neafsey
It’s that time of year again…Festivus! I’ve got a treat for you – a gift idea so simple and inexpensive you may be tempted to give them to nearly everyone you know….and even keep a few for yourself! Coasters! I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but the fun of it is that you can make sets for friends and family that are uniquely theirs. The best part? You can make a set of four for about a dollar!
- 4×4 inch white ceramic tiles
- Mod-podge and foam brush
- Clear acrylic spray
- Self-adhesive felt
Let your imagination run wild supplies:
- Scrapbook paper
- Rubber stamps
- Permanent ink stamp pad
- Holiday (cocktail size) napkins
Supply notes: The ceramic tiles can be found in any hardware/home improvement store and cost about 17 cents each. The actual size of the tile is 4 ¼ inches square. I cut the scrapbook paper 4 inches square because I wanted a border around the paper. You can also find the clear acrylic spray while you’re there. Craft stores sell acrylic spray and spray paint, etc. but I find them to be a bit more pricey on those items. The self-adhesive felt is used on the bottom of the tiles to keep them from scratching the surfaces that you’re trying to protect by using a coaster. I’m certain you can find a package of them already cut into little circles, but for the life of me I couldn’t find them in the store. Instead, I bought one piece of self-adhesive felt and cut it into little squares, and considering that you’d need 16 squares for each set of four coasters, it’s probably a better bargain than the pre-cut ones.
Scrapbook paper is generally 12×12 inches, so for each sheet you buy you’ll be able to get nine squares from it – if you get really lucky, you may be able to find paper that has a different pattern on each side! It’s the little stuff like this that excites me. I mixed and matched colors and patterns for the sets that I made.
If you’re going to use stamps and ink, be sure it’s permanent ink, otherwise it just smears all over the tile. When I was in Home Depot buying my tiles I also picked up a package of stone tiles that don’t have a gloss to them, and are a little rough. They were less than $4.00 for a package of nine, and I tried those with the rubber stamps.
Okay, enough minutiae, now the fun stuff.
Cover your work surface with newspaper. Lightly dampen a paper towel with rubbing alcohol and wipe each tile to remove any dirt or grit. Let them air dry for a couple of minutes.
While the tiles are drying, measure the papers into inch 4×4 inch squares and cut.
Using a foam brush, apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the tile – I worked in sets of four, so I applied it to four at a time. Work quickly and center the paper on the tile and press down lightly to smooth out any bubbles. Be sure to press down the edges of the paper so they don’t curl up. Now apply another thin coat of Mod Podge on top of the paper, and let dry for about ten minutes. Repeat this process two or three times, and let dry overnight.
When the tiles are fully dry, take them outside to spray them with the clear acrylic. I used two coats of acrylic to keep them waterproof and give a nice gloss to the papers. If you have the luxury of keeping them outside overnight, then by all means, do it! If you bring them back in the house too soon, be prepared for the stench that the acrylic provides! I speak from experience.
Once the tiles are completely dry, it’s time to stick the felt to the bottom. Just put one little square on each corner.
Your tiles are now ready to use. If you’re giving them as a gift, you can just tie them up with some coordinating ribbons and you’re all done!
Aside from a holiday gift, these also make a thoughtful hostess, shower or housewarming gift. For the price, it’s easy to give more than one set – maybe some holiday ones that can be interchanged with the day to day ones. If you’re looking for gifts to give while on a budget, you can’t beat these! Have fun with them, and don’t forget to make some for yourself too!
Fabri-Kate is a column running on Kate-book.com every other Tuesday. It is written by the crafty Kathleen Neafsey, who wields a mean pair of scissors. Follow her on Twitter @dbmomkat and look for a brand new craft next time.