How I Make These Custom Coasters for Really Cheap

How I Make These Custom Coasters for Really Cheap main article image
Posted on June 15, 2022 by Jennifer Carroll

Supplies You Will Need:

Ceramic Tiles

A Small Wood Crate


Stamps or Letter Decals

Mod Podge

Cork Tiles

I’ve been making coasters this way for a few years now. The idea came to me from my husband. We were brainstorming about products that we thought I might be able to make for a few shows we had coming up. People had been very receptive to my artwork, but they often confessed that they just didn’t have the wall space. We are constantly adding items to our inventory so that we can provide everyone with an opportunity to shop. The discussion that day centered around practical and functional items that we could offer at an affordable price. My husband held up a coaster that he had purchased at a show we attended, and I was sold!

Dan was even kind enough to do some research on YouTube. When I got home from work, I watched a few videos on the subject, then modified the techniques to fit my style. Then I thought about the supplies that would be the most economical. Ceramic subway tiles were $.06 at the time so I bought a box of 100 from Home Depot for $6.00.

If you don’t need to make these in bulk, they do sell them individually. Cork tiles are available in packs of 100 from Amazon, or you can get a 12”x12” sheet from The Dollar Tree.

Here we go!

The first thing I do when I mod podge on these ceramic tiles is to give them a coat of chalk paint. I do this because the ceramic is very smooth, and the texture of the paint gives the mod podge something to stick to.

I used two-ply napkins that I bought from The Dollar Tree as the artwork for these coasters. Each napkin makes four coasters, so this is a very economical use of the 20 pack. I like this particular pattern to customize with a monogram because there is a lot of negative space.

This idea won’t work with every pattern.

The first thing you’ll need to do is separate the top layer where the image is printed from the rest of the napkin. You want to work with the thinnest layer possible to avoid wrinkles and bubbles.

Another way to avoid those wrinkles and bubbles is to use a very light coat of mod podge. This medium it used to stick the paper to your surface, not to saturate it. So, apply a very light coat of mod podge to your coaster then grasp your napkin on each side and lay it gently down. I press it down with my fingers to work out any bubbles. If you lay your napkin down as described, you shouldn’t get any wrinkles. If there are bubbles that you can’t press out, put a heat gun on them for a few seconds. This isn’t usually necessary, but it is effective for stubborn air pockets.

After that bottom coat dried, I gave each coaster a heavier top coat of mod podge. I made sure that my strokes were long and that they all went the same way. When the second coat had dried, I used a sanding sponge to remove the excess napkin. Just sand away from the edges to give your coasters a clean edge. This step makes that artwork look like it was always there.

I am making these coasters as a custom product that I can offer my customers. If they have a name that starts with a letter of the alphabet, I can make them a monogrammed set.

For my letters, I am using an IOD stamp. This set is called “Typesetter” and here’s a link where you can look at all the IOD products and find a stockist near you.

The first time you use these stamps, you’ll need to rough up the front with a fine-grit sandpaper. This will help ensure that the ink sticks to the stamp. If you don’t have stamps, there are tons of alternatives. Vinyl lettering, adhesive stickers, or stencils are all options to consider.

I used blue ink that I bought at Michael’s. It’s their Craftsmart brand and it’s priced reasonably at $3.50. I had my 20% off coupon that is available in the app, so it was even cheaper. I like to save money where I can. This coupon is always on the app and can be used for in-store or online purchases. I’ll use this pad for multiple projects over several years.

I used a thin mount to apply my stamp to the coasters. It’s just a thin sheet of acrylic that gives your fingers something to grasp and is convenient because it has a grid so that you can make a straight application. After I stamped my letters on my coasters, I dried them with my heat gun for a few seconds. This speeds up the process a little and the heat helps set the ink so that nothing smears it while I’m waiting to go on to the next step.

When the ink was completely dry, I gave each coaster a few coats of acrylic sealer. This makes them water-resistant and able to be wiped down with a damp cloth.

The last step was to give each coaster a cork backing. I use these 4”x4” squares that I buy from Amazon.

The Dollar Tree sells 12”x12” squares if you just need enough cork for one set of coasters. You could also use felt squares.

The little wood crates that hold my coasters are from The Dollar Tree as well. Michael’s sells a similar one, but they aren’t quite as wide and the coasters fit too snugly so they are hard to get in and out.

For these coastal-themed coasters, I just gave my crate a quick coat of white chalk paint. To add more interest and texture I added rope handles on each side. This was the perfect finishing touch and for under $2 I have made an item that I regularly sell for $25. That’s a great profit margin for a handmade item that will get years of functional use.

Have fun with all your upcoming projects and until next time – happy crafting!

Please follow me here to see my latest creations!

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