Perfectly Personalized Photo Coasters

It’s wedding season and young professionals like myself are constantly saving up money to attend weddings and support friends on their special day. And it can get EXPENSIVE.

One of my closest friends, Amanda, is getting married in less than a month! I love her so much and absolutely couldn’t be happier for her! Being the neuroticplanner that I am,  a couple of months ago I started an excel sheet with all my financials for the trip, bridesmaid duties, etc.
(Did I mention I’m a bridesmaid? I’M A BRIDESMAID!)

Most importantly, I wanted to budget for a special, meaningful bridal shower gift…without breaking the bank.

I made some DIY coasters for my mom and dad last Christmas with old family photos.  They were an absolute hit and have become a beautiful addition to the house. I did make a few mistakes along the way but decided to give it another try with Amanda’s engagement photos.  Which really look less like engagement photos and more like a Southern Living photo shoot for the real life Barbie and Ken.

There are many coaster tutorials out there but I promise mine is the best! I’ve tried to document what worked and what DEFINITELY didn’t…so you don’t run into the same problems I did.

There are three options ( I know of) to making your own photo coasters. The first is my preferred method and the one I used most recently.

(I mean…it’s not even fair! How can the rest of us compete with THAT?!)

OPTION 1 – (Water-proof but probably not heat-proof)

Disclaimer:  As much as I would like to say these coasters can withstand both hot and cold beverages…I have yet to find a method that accommodates both.  Let me know if you find one because I am literally wracking my brain!  This option is great for cold drinks but unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend setting a steaming, hot mug of coffee on top.  Most likely, the acrylic layer will melt and slightly damage your coasters.  I have read that if you wait a month before using, the paint and Mod Podge will set completely and you can begin using for hot drinks. I tested this theory and still had problems.  So I just stick to cold.

You will need:
4 x 4 in. ceramic tiles – you can find these for around 14 cents at any home depot store
Mod Podge
Foam roller brush – find at any craft store, very inexpensive
4 x 6 in. photo prints
Clear, acrylic, moisture resistant aerosol spray paint – glossy or matte
A roll of cork material or felt sheets

Step 1 – Start by cutting your photo prints to size of your choice.  I like the white border of the tile so I size a little bit under 4 x 4 inches. Coat the tile with Mod Podge and adhere the photo to the tile. Wait 15-20 minutes and let dry completely.

Step 2 – Next, using the roller brush, coat the photo with 3-4 moderate layers of Mod Podge. Let dry completely between each coat.

Tip-of-the-day: I say to use a roller brush instead of a regular brush for one very specific reason I learned by trial and error.  By using the roller brush, the Mod Podge will go on smoother and much less “texturized.” As in, you don’t get all the distracting brush strokes that you would if you used a regular foam brush.  In my opinion, they look cleaner and more “professional.”

Step 3 – Spray each coaster with 3-4 coats of clear, acrylic, moisture resistant spray paint. Let dry between each coat.

Step 4 – Using cork or foam, cut to size and cover the bottom of the tile. Use a glue gun or super glue to attach.

IT IS LITERALLY THAT EASY.  What a great, unique way to showcase special photos. I hope Amanda enjoys them as much as I enjoyed making them!

OPTION 2 (Heat-proof but probably not water-proof)

In some tutorials, you will see people use only Mod Podge to seal the photo.  This is the method I used first and unfortunately, after leaving countless paper cups sitting on the coasters, the moisture soaked through the layer of Mod Podge and the photo got wrinkly and water-logged.  I have heard that you can purchase “water-proof” Mod Podge, however, I don’t know how trustworthy it actually is.


The third option for sealing your coasters is using resin.  Resin is a very fickle, quick drying substance. You have to work fast but very carefully so as to get an even layer spread out on top of the photo.  My advice is to only try this if you have a lot of patience and a well-ventilated space to work in.  My resin coasters DID NOT go as planned. I trashed them. And my mother’s kitchen smelled like chemicals for a week.


If you want to give it a shot, here is pretty good tutorial. Just know that it is not a simple process and can get messy. So be prepared!

So there it is!  A very simple, inexpensive project but one that is sure to make a difference.

And a great gift! All my family members/friends should expect to get these for any gift-giving occasion within the next year…

(Lloyd likes to sit on top of, around, or near anything that is not his. So Amanda’s coasters were clearly a big hit.  Also, that large mass of black and white fur in the bottom left hand corner is his stomach. Looks like someone needs to lay off the cheetos.)

About Girl of a 1000 Dreams

Lover of DIY and cats. But aren't we all?
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2 Responses to Perfectly Personalized Photo Coasters

  1. Pingback: Showing Some Love to Thanksgiving | Girl of a Thousand Dreams

  2. Pingback: Wedding Gift Inspiration |

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