Turn your favorite family photos into gorgeous DIY photo coasters! This project is an easy handmade gift idea that costs less than $5.00 to make!
I love photo projects. It makes me so happy to be constantly surrounded by the beautiful smiling faces of my family, even when they are far away.
This is my very favorite photo of my Dad and I. I like to think that this is one of my first memories, but really, I think I probably just “remember” it because of the pictures. I was 3 years old. My sister had just been born and my aunt, uncle and cousins had come out from Michigan to visit. We all loaded in my dad’s big van and took a trip up to Mount Baker. My mom stayed behind in the van with my sister and my aunt, uncle, cousins, Dad and I took a hike up to a lookout. My dad was pointing out the “twin sisters” peaks to me. I am wearing my very favorite Cookie Monster jacket. It was THE BEST. It was fuzzy blue and Cookie Monster’s face was on the back of the hood. I’m guessing that my aunt probably snapped this picture of my dad and I. I remember feeling loved, special and like a “big girl” that I got to go up the mountain with my older cousins.
We have quite a few pictures from that visit. I love those “snapshot memories” and how photos help you remember events that you quite possibly could have forgotten.
I often think about the difference between photography then and photography now. When the photo of my dad and I was taken, taking a photo was a financial decision. By this I mean you had to purchase the role of film that had limited photos on it, so you really had to think about what you were photographing. You also had to pay for the film to be developed. Cameras were bigger and bulkier so you didn’t take them everywhere with you. Most families didn’t document the mundane moments, only special ones. Looking back through photos from when I was young is like looking at a highlight reel of my childhood.
Today, most of us have a camera on our phone that is almost always within arms reach. We capture amazing moments in photos, but we also capture some pretty mundane moments. At the time that I’m writing this post I have 19,144 photos on my phone. There is no way that my parents shot 19,000 photos during my childhood. There is also a very good chance that my children will never go through those 19,000+ photos and look at them. I also only have a small fraction of those photos printed out.
I often wonder what this overabundance of photos will do for our children’s memories. Will it help them remember more of their childhood or will the multitude of images be to overwhelming to weed through to find those really special occasions?
I also wonder what the world of photography will look like when our children have children of their own? It’s pretty interesting to speculate upon.
For today’s project I decided to take a couple of my favorite photos of my family and turn them into DIY photo coasters. I think it’s one more fun way to display favorite family photos around the house.
These would make great handmade gifts for family and friends. You don’t just have to stick to photos either! You could just as easily use this process to transfer your favorite art to the coasters!
I used the same basic process for this project as I did for my post on the Easiest Way To Transfer Photo To Wood which you can see here.
I use printable temporary tattoo paper which is easy to use and leaves you with flawless results! You can make 8 coasters per pack of tattoo sheets (4 per sheet). I bought my tile at the hardware store for just $0.29 each! I think these make a great budget friendly handmade gift! You can make a set of 4 of them for right around $5.00.
Ready to learn how to make easy DIY photo coasters? Read on!
How To Make Easy DIY Photo Coasters
–Silhouette Temporary Tattoo Paper (if using an inkjet printer) or Silhouette Image Transfer Sheets (if using a laser printer)
-Scraper tool or credit card
-4 inch by 4 inch tiles
-Mod Podge (I would suggest using the Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge Formula for this project since glasses on the coasters can leave water marks behind)
-Foam brush (find them here.)
-A digital file of your favorite photo (I used Pic Monkey to do a collage of 4 images that were 4 inches by 4 inches each.)
-A wet cloth
–Glue gun and glue gun glue sticks
Step 1: Print out your photos using the instructions on the temporary tattoo paper. You will want to use your photo paper setting and to flip the images in reverse so that they transfer facing in the correct direction.
Step 2: Your tattoo paper comes with two different types of sheets– a white sheet that you print on and then a green adhesive sheet that you lay on top of it to turn it into tattoo paper.
When the ink is dry on the photos you printed, apply the adhesive sheet to the top of printed image by peeling away the green backing on one end of the page (there is a thin green strip that can be pulled away at one end). Align it with the end of the printed tattoo paper and then peeling away the rest of the backing while smoothing the adhesive sheet down onto the paper.
Make sure you go slowly during this process, lining everything up nicely. This is the hardest part of this project (don’t worry it’s not very hard), because you aren’t able to lift and reposition the adhesive layer once it is laid down.
Step 3: Using a scraper tool or credit card rub the adhesive sheet onto the photo paper, removing any bubbles and making sure it’s firmly adhered.
Step 4: Cut your images so they are in squares the size of your coasters. Wipe down your tile and make sure they are clean and dry.
Step 5: Peel away the clear plastic layer covering your photo, exposing the adhesive. Lay the tattoo paper, photo side down on top of your tile. Make sure you have it lined up properly before letting the tattoo paper touch the tile. You won’t be able to reposition once it is laid down. Use your scraper tool to firmly push down the tattoo paper on the tile. This step is very important and will help avoid bubbles on your coasters! (Don’t worry if you end up with a couple of small bubbles. I’ll tell you how to get rid of them in an step 7.)
Step 6: Lay a wet cloth on top of the paper backing for 10 seconds or until you can see the image through the backing.
If you see white spots where the paper is still dry and you can’t see the image through the paper, cover again with the wet cloth until you can see the image.
Step 7: Peel away the paper backing and reveal your gorgeous photo left behind. Allow the tattoo to dry for 30 minutes. If you see any bubbles left behind leave them until the tattoo is dry, then pop with the tip of a pin to remove the air and gently press down the bubbled image onto the tile. If you don’t like the way the image has transferred, wet down the tile, scrape the tattoo away and start again.
Step 8: Using your foam brush and the dishwasher safe Mod Podge, apply a thin layer of mod podge over the top of your tile coaster. Allow to dry and then apply a second layer and allow that to dry too.
Step 9: Cut your felt into 4 inch by 4 inch squares. Use your hot glue gun to glue the felt to the bottom of the tile. The glue will dry quickly so I usually put hot glue on one edge of the felt, lay it on the tile, then lay glue down on the tile line by line, laying the felt down on top of the glue, working my way from one edge of the tile to the other.
Viola! You have beautiful DIY photo coasters! Allow your mod podge to cure for 30 days before getting it wet. Allow your coaster to dry for 24 hours before placing a glass or mug on it.
Abbie H. says
I was very touched by this project and family photos. You made me remember my childhood. That’s great..
Victoria Ess says
This is an amazing idea!
Sarah Jackson says
Another great idea!!! I love it ! perfect to do with my daughter to give as gifts to family
Victoria @DazzleWhileFrazzled says
Great gift idea, for one’s self or to give away. Who wouldn’t want a cute face to place their beverage on?! 🙂 Visiting from The Scoop party.
Tammi L. says
I love, love, LOVE this idea. Perfect for Christmas stockings!
What do you suggest as a top coat to waterproof wood coasters? I have Liquitex floss gel that I’ve used as a top coat before I did not know if it would provide a waterproof seal.
Thank you so much for visiting! I use dishwasher save mod podge on mine (you can find it here: https://amzn.to/2GnALWb). Hope that helps!
Robart Lee says
WOW, Amazing tips, Really appreciate, Its very informative, Thanks for sharing.
So gonna try this for some last minute Christmas presents. Thanks for the idea and detailed directions!