Monday, September 17, 2012

DIY Personalized Coasters

Hello friends.  Well, this semester is crazy-busy and I don't see it getting calmer anytime soon, so my posts will be sporadic.  I still want to share fun things as I can, though, so I'm taking pictures and keeping notes for the rare moments when I can squeeze in a post!

In August, I went to visit my best friend right after she moved into a new (gorgeous!) apartment in DC.  I wanted to bring her a little housewarming gift, so I turned to my oft-admired and rarely-used Pinterest boards.  I decided to try making some custom coasters for her.  The link to the original website doesn't work anymore, but I was able to gather enough information from the picture and caption to get started.

Materials needed:  4 x 4 plain tiles from a home improvement store (I got mine at Lowe's super cheap, like $0.15 or something), pictures/ scrapbook paper/ whatever you want to use to decorate, a permanent marker, a straight edge (i.e. a ruler), a utility knife, Mod Podge, a paint brush, clear spray paint, scrap paper.

First, gather your supplies and lay out the scrap paper to protect your work surface.

I wanted to color the edges of the tiles to make them look more polished, and I initially tried painting them.  The paint wasn't going on well, so I switched to a permanent marker which worked much better.  Bonus - no drying time!  It really wore down the marker, though, so use an old one or mourn the loss of the nice, crisp tip of the marker.  (Or maybe that's just me... I have a strong attachment to Sharpies.)

I used a black marker to stick with my black and white theme, but you could color coordinate your edges with your pictures/ designs.

I previously chose some digital pictures that I wanted to use to decorate the coasters, made them black and white on my computer, cropped them so that they were square and slightly smaller than 4 x 4 inches, and printed them out on resume-type paper so that they were a little sturdier than regular office paper, but not so thick that they would be raised up on top of the coasters.

Then I used a ruler and utility knife to cut them out - you want your edges to be as straight and clean as possible.

I printed out a few extra pictures so that I could see what looked best on the tiles.

After you've chosen and cut out your pictures/ scrapbook paper, use a paint brush and Mod Podge to adhere the pictures to the tiles.  My ink bled a little bit when I did this, so I kept a rag nearby to wipe off any discoloration.

After the Mod Podge dries, you can put on a coat of clear spray paint.  This is important:  go outside!!!  I'm speaking from experience here... it's not pleasant to spray this in the house, and you might feel like you're going to die from the fumes for the rest of the night.  Oh, and your family/ roommates/ pets will really not appreciate it.  (My dad: "You care about everyone's environment except for mine!!"  Woops.)  Yeah, I know, who uses spray paint inside?  But it was clear...  clear = harmless, right?  Not quite.  Definitely a blonde moment.  Don't be like me!

After the spray paint has dried, stick four protectors on the bottom of each tile.

You could use felt protectors, or little plastic ones like I chose.  Or you could even use a hot glue gun and make little dots (but I tend to burn myself with hot glue guns so I didn't attempt that method).

And there you have it - personalized, homemade coasters.  They're not very expensive to make, and I think they make great housewarming gifts, or even gifts for birthdays and other holidays.  And it was really fun to choose pictures specifically for my best friend!

I wrapped them up with a pretty bow,

and added a container of homemade red velvet macaroons to go with them.

If any of you read The Fitnessista, you know that Gina has a famous and secret macaroon recipe.  She recently shared her red velvet variety, and I was so excited to try them out for myself!  My grandma let me borrow her old-school dehydrator - doesn't it look like a space ship?

They smelled gooooood.


And they're the perfect little sweet treat to go with a cup of tea!

By the way, my favorite tea right now is Lady Grey - like Earl Grey, but more refined :)  It's decaffeinated, and I think it has a lighter, smoother flavor than Earl Grey.

Even though I'm not usually a big fan of coconut, I did enjoy these a lot.

And they got good reviews from my best friend, a neighbor, and my grandma - so I think they were a success!

Okay, that's all for now - hopefully I'll be back soon with some more fun updates.

Song of the day:

"Blown Away" by Carrie Underwood.  Loving this song right now.


  1. What an amazing idea :) I LOVE coasters and making personalized ones as a gift is GENIUS! Love and Shine COURTSTAR

  2. 1) WOWWWWWWWWWWWW! the coasters are gorgeous and I love the idea of putting pictures on them! what a great gift for a bridal shower or baby shower...or even birthday or xmas! jeez... it's really an any-time gift! AWESOME! love it.

    2) macaroooooooooons! WANT. mail me some?? ;)

    3) love Carrie Underwood!!


  3. Love Earl Gray!!! And wow those coasters are amazing!!!! I would love to do this! What a brilliant gift idea!!!

    1. Good tea is so comforting :) The coasters were fun to make, and not difficult at all. And I really love giving gifts with meaning behind them!

  4. I love these coasters! Pinterest is the most brilliant thing in the world. I love seeing all this creativity everywhere. Your friend is so lucky.

    1. Thanks, Dara! I agree, Pinterest is pretty amazing - I get so many great ideas from it! The problem is finding time to try them out, haha.

  5. You have just given me the best idea for favors for my wedding. I have been trying to come up with ideas for something easy and cheap, and I just found it! Thank you :)