Listen, I’m not a huge fan of “made-up” holidays, but according to my calendar, September 8 is Grandparents Day, and on the off chance that any grandparents I know also have a calendar, I figured I should whip up a quick little project just for them.
So: You know how grandmas always have nice furniture that you’re not supposed to put your feet on or set your drink on play Hot Wheels on or jump on/from? I thought it would be nice to make some personalized coasters that say not only “I care about you, Grandma” but “I care about your fancy coffee table.”
What you’ll need:
–old road maps (or other paper product with a cool design)
–foam craft brush
–soup cans or similar
–spray-on or brush-on polycrylic
–adhesive felt dots
We’re going to make coasters out of tiles. I got mine in a big box at a salvage yard for something like $.01 each, but you can pick them up at the hardware store for not much more than that. Color doesn’t matter, just make sure the surface is smooth and there aren’t any chips.
I wanted to use old maps to decorate my tiles for two reasons: (1) we have a whole bunch we don’t use anymore now that we have smartphones and (2) they’re a fun and pretty way to represent a memory without having to be as literal as using a photograph of yourself standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon or wherever. You could use any kind of paper you want though, although I’d recommend testing a corner first to make sure the ink doesn’t bleed or smear when you brush your mod podge on.
I cut up a map of Lake Tahoe, using locations that have special meaning for my family. I traced around the tile leaving about half and inch of overlap for tucking the paper down the sides and to the back.
Mod podge comes in glossy or matte. You’re going to use it to attach your map square to your tile and give it a hard topcoat. Yes, you’re going to get messy.
I found it easiest to stick the tile on the front, fold the edges around to the back (I did the corners like I was gift wrapping a box), and then add the layer of mod podge to the front. Make sure you smooth out any wrinkles or glops. This craft is going to come out looking very handmade (read: imperfect), but that’s what makes it sweet.
I let my coasters dry on the tops of soup cans. I hadn’t added any mod podge to the centers of the backs, so there was no worry about anything sticking.
Now, mod podge is waterbased, so that means it’s not waterproof. To get your coasters ready for some sweaty drinks, you’ll need to seal them with a layer of polycrylic (which is also waterbased but is highly water resistant if you do a few coats). Once your mod podge is dry, you can either brush on or spray on your protective coating. (It also comes in different finishes, from gloss to matte.)
Finally, to make your coasters truly furniture-ready, add adhesive felt dots to the underside corners, and you’re done! Wrap them up, maybe with a box of Grandma and Grandpa’s favorite tea (or juice, or beer) and put your feet up. Just not on the coffee table, missy.
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