Happy New Year! Hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone already. I’ve experienced 31 of them in my life and I’m always surprised at how quickly they sneak up on me and then disappear faster than an El Rayo taco plate. In fact, I think Christmas comes and goes faster the older I get, which of course causes me to scramble for gifts because I convince myself that I have way more time to shop than I actually do.
In conjunction with the shopping, I sometimes like to throw in a dash of creativity with some homemade gifts. This year, I crafted some pretty good-looking and practical coasters which shamelessly showcased some of my favorite Instagram shots. If you’re ever struggling with what to get for not only Christmas, but birthdays or housewarming parties, I highly suggest this fun, simple and inexpensive gift idea.
- 6 quality images printed on sturdy paper
- 6 4×4″ tiles (about $1 each from Home Depot)
- Mod Podge
- Krylon Matte Finish
- Narrow foam brush
- Cork adhesive
STEP 1: Collect your images. You can really source your images from wherever you want, but I recommend pulling them from Instagram. If you use Instagram, you probably fancy yourself a professional photographer, frequently taking birdseye or angled shots with heavy filters (I know I do). The colors generated from edits look very cool against a white border, and Instagram photos are already cropped, saving you the hassle later.
STEP 2: Print your images. I know what you’re thinking: “Instagram doesn’t even let me save my photos never mind print them. What do you know that I don’t?”. I thought I was screwed at this step, but a brief Google search yielded possibly the best website ever – Social Print Studio. These guys make it soooo easy. All you do is link to your Instagram account then pick and choose your images. They’re mailed to you in less than a week, and come on sturdy card stock with a matte finish. In short: they look fly AF. Another plus is that you can choose what size prints you want and they come in 4×4″, which is perfect coaster size.
STEP 3: Gather your materials. The best thing about this project is that you don’t need very many supplies. Take a quick trip to Home Depot to pick up ceramic tiles and a roll of cork adhesive, then stop at your local craft store and grab Mod Podge, matte finish spray, and a narrow foam brush. Voila, you’re good to go!
STEP 4: Add your photos. Mod Podge is awesome. Not only is it an adhesive, but it also protects your photos and helps keep moisture out. Prep your tiles by using your foam brush to apply a layer of Mod Podge and place your photo in the center of your tile, then apply the Mod Podge over your photo. It will show up as a thin white coat and then slowly disappear as it dries. I applied one coat in a horizontal direction and one vertically for a cool-looking finish. Wait several minutes after each coat for Mod Podge to dry completely.
Step 5: Spray with protective finish. This step is critical in preserving your work and protecting it from inevitable condensation and spills. You can go with either a shiny or matte finish – I opted to go with the matte finish throughout to create softer results, and used Kryon Matte Finish spray to coat. A word of caution (which probably goes without saying, but I apparently like to live on the edge): make sure you are in a well-ventilated area when using this stuff. Spraying it outside your apartment in the hallway with the window open will NOT keep fumes from seeping in. Allow your coasters to dry for 20 minutes before adding 2-3 additional coats.
Once your coasters are dry, wrap them up to give away! I added some twine to each stack, which adds a simple and rustic look.