How to make photo coasters {DIY}

How to make photo coasters {DIY} | Cardstore Blog

**We’ve created an update on how to make coasters with an epoxy finish. Perfect for a no-stick finish :)**

I’m an Instagram junkie. I LOVE me some Instagram photos. What I’m not so great at is actually getting them off my phone and doing something with them!

So, Emily and I set out to the craft store last weekend, and we came up with this fun and inexpensive DIY photo coasters project!

How to make photo coasters {DIY} | Cardstore Blog

What You’ll Need:

– (6) 4×4 white ceramic tiles (we found ours at the local hardware store)
– (6) 4×4 printed photos (I used the PostalPix app)
– Mod Podge (glossy finishing spray is an alternative option recommended by one of our readers!)
– Small, 1-inch foam brush
– Self-adhesive felt pads
– Washi tape (optional)

***EDIT: we’ve had a few readers have problems with the coasters sticking to each other when stacked, so we’ve created an update on how to make coasters with an epoxy finish (there’s sure to be no stick there!).***

How to make photo coasters {DIY} | Cardstore Blog

Step 1: Apply 1 coat of Mod Podge to front of tile

Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the front of each tile, making sure to spread it all the way to the edges. (Note: This step is important! We made the mistake of skipping it on the first couple coasters, and the photo didn’t feel like it was fully adhered to the tile in the finished product.)

Step 2: Place photo on the wet Mod Podge

Place a photo on top of the wet coat of Mod Podge from step 1, and let it dry for about 5 minutes. (Decorating your photo with washi tape is optional, but it’s an easy way to add a fun & unique twist!)

How to make photo coasters {DIY} | Cardstore Blog

Step 3: Apply 3 coats of Mod Podge to back of tile

This part is a little tricky with the washi tape. When you apply your first coat of Mod Podge to the back of the coasters, it may seem like the the tape is starting to unstick from the coaster. Just wait about 5 minutes until the first coat of Mod Podge has started to dry and become tacky, and press the washi tape down with your finger. Wait about 15 minutes in between each coat of Mod Podge.

**We’ve created an update on how to make coasters with an epoxy finish. Perfect for a no-stick finish :)**

Step 4: Apply 3 coats of Mod Podge to front of tile

Apply 3 coats of Mod Podge, again waiting about 15 minutes between each coat. Apply each coat as a thin layer, making sure to wrap all the way around to the sides, and smoothing out the front. It’ll look very opaque until it dries, but rest assured that it will dry clear!

How to make photo coasters {DIY} | Cardstore Blog

Step 5: Stick felt pads to the bottom of each coaster

The felt pads just help to make sure that the coasters don’t scratch your table.

Step 6: Let sit for 3 days before using

It’s normal for Mod Podge to feel tacky for several days after it dries. If you wait about 3 days, you’ll give the coasters plenty of time to seal completely & make sure no water will seep in.

How to make photo coasters {DIY} | Cardstore Blog

I love the way these turned out, and they make me smile whenever I see them on my coffee table. With the right photos, coasters like these are going to make great DIY Christmas gifts!


About Jessica B

165 Responses to “How to make photo coasters {DIY}”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Joy says:

    Great project. Thanks for sharing . Was looking for a handmade idea to add to my niece’s house warming gift that is getting married next week. them..

  2. Keely says:

    I can’t wait to make these! What an adorable little guy you have there!!

  3. Feather says:

    Will this project work with one of the original mod podge solutions (matte or gloss)?

    • Hi there! Yes, I definitely think you can use any type of mod podge on these coasters. Each will give the finished product a slightly different feel, but they will all seal the photo the same. I actually updated the post to just say ‘mod podge’ and not ‘satin mod podge’ in case others are wondering the same thing :)

  4. demdi says:

    I’m not crazy about the streaks left with the mod podge. I made a set with it and one without it – the one without it sealing with several coats of glossy finish spray and much liked that look.

  5. Kelly V says:

    Do you need to spray them with a sealer to keep them water proof?

  6. Re AllenAllen says:

    Do I have to print the photos on photo paper or should it be on regular printing paper?

    • I haven’t tried regular printing paper, so I’m not sure. I imagine it would be ok, you might just have to be careful that it doesn’t wrinkle when applying the Mod Podge. If you do try it, stop back and let us know how it turned out!

      • Sarah McLaughlin says:

        I have made several tables / stools with photos printed on regular paper and I’ve never had an issue. I always seal mine to make sure the paper stays protected.

        Good luck crafting!

      • Susan Catron says:

        We tried printing a photo on photo paper and when we put on the Mod Podge the ink came off and it turned pink. Didn’t try regular paper.

      • Barb says:

        Hi Ladies, I used regular printing paper and put the mod podge on the back of the paper and was very careful and it turned out great. I was actually looking for the answer to see if I need to seal it after and stumbled across this. you all are very helpful to me. Thank you!! :)

  7. sue says:

    what can u seal these tile with to make them waterproof

    • I only sealed mine with Mod Podge (didn’t use an additional waterproof sealant), so I can’t personally vouch for any of these products, but I’ve seen several other articles mention Krylon Aerosol and Envirotex. Make sure to follow the product’s directions or look up instructions if you use them – I’m not sure how to apply either. Hope that helps!

  8. Rebel Brick says:

    Modge podge IS a sealer.

  9. Casey says:

    I love this project!!! I just tried it with wrapping for my husband’s man cave. They look great!!

  10. Kristine Patti says:

    I really love the concept but also don’t like the streaks that the “modgepodge” leaves. If anyone has come up with a new “protective” coverage that is clear and smooth, please share!

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Kristine! One of our earlier readers suggested sealing with several coats of glossy finish spray and found they were happier with how that looked. Hope this helps!

    • steph says:

      Try using a foam roller instead of a foam brush. If the roller is a bit wider than the tile, you shouldn’t have any streaks. :)

  11. Kelly says:

    Help! The felt pads that I used keeps pulling on the paper and if its not doing that, its leaving the fibers on the paper. I was so excited to do this project and now I’m just disappointed.

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Kelly, sorry to hear you are experiencing problems! We would love to help you if we can. It sounds like you are having problems with the felt pads Jessica suggested applying to the bottom so you don’t scratch your table. These should be applied directly to the bottom of the coaster, not to a surface with paper or picture. Can you explain more of exactly what happened so that we can help?

  12. Scott says:

    Hi I have a problem, is there any way to fix the coasters?, the problem is that they stick to the coffee mug when it’s filled with hot coffee. I’ve added a clear sealer also krylon flat clear. But they stick to the mugs with the sealer and without.

    • Emily Jankov says:

      Hi Scott, I’m so sorry your coasters are sticking to your hot coffee mugs. I see you tried a krylon coat, have you tried any other brands of a clear acrylic sealer? I’ve read from other other bloggers, this sealer has worked for them. Remember to apply 2 coats and allow a full 24 hours to dry. I hope this is helpful!

      • Kadie says:

        I’m having the same problem with the 5 sets I gave for Christmas presents. I let the sealer dry for 2 days and things are still sticking

  13. Sarah says:

    Does it matter what kind of tile you use? They have different types, like high gloss, etc.

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Sarah, I believe it should work. I don’t have direct experience with high gloss tiles, but I have used it on top of (dried) acrylic paint before to put images down and it worked just fine. I’ve heard it works best on porous surfaces and paper, but I think the picture would count as that surface!

      If you decide to try it, please stop back and let us know how it turned out!

  14. Tina says:

    How have your coasters held up against hot beverages? I’ve read from other articles that without an extra sealer (e.g. Mod Podge Dimensional Magic or a clear acrylic sealer), hot beverages can actually ruin the photo on the coaster. I was curious whether these coasters have been used against hot beverages or only warm/colder beverages.

    Thank you!

  15. alycee says:

    what size photo did you print?

  16. Cath09 says:

    Hey! I know this is an old article, but if you can still answer I’d really appreciate it. If I’m not using the washy tape, do I need to put the Mod Podge on the back of the tile? Thank you!

    • Correct – the Mod Podge on the back is just to seal the washi tape. The tiles are a little rough on the bottoms, though, so just make sure to put little felt pads on them so they don’t scratch your table :) Hope that helps!

  17. Wendy Greiner says:

    So I received painted coasters for a gift and liquid has already seeped through the modge podge and the paint has completely peeled off. The 3 layers of modge podge on the front and back will guarantee that it won’t seep? Does the texture of tile prior to working with it make a difference? I want to remake them and use your idea, but I don’t want the same thing to happen. Thanks!

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Wendy! Thanks for you comment. If you want to guarantee liquid won’t seep through the modge podge, I would recommend trying to seal the coasters with an epoxy. I talk about using epoxy in this post. It takes longer to dry, but you won’t have to worry about any liquids ruining the coasters!

      • Andrea Mailand says:

        Does this epoxy make it heat proof for hot coffee mugs as well?

        • Gwen Bucknell says:

          Hi Andrea, epoxy fully cured should be able to no problem stand up to the heat of a hot coffee mug. It starts to degrade at temps above 350 degrees, so as long as you don’t try and bake it, you should be fine :)

  18. Tonya says:

    Hi, thanks for this idea! I’d like to make Thanksgiving trivets with clear glass tiles 6″x6″ or so…? Put the photo behind the glass, and put the felt feet or clear acrylic feet on the mod podged photo or paper. What do you think? I guess I’ll try it first before I try it with the Brownie troop! :)

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      This sounds like a great idea, Tonya!! My suggestion, if you’re using clear glass, would be to adhere the photo underneath, instead of on top. Since you’re working with a clear surface, you already have a built in coaster :) If you do end up trying it, we’d love to know how it turned out!

  19. autumn says:

    what is going to prevent liquids from cold drinks sweat from running off the coasters

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Great question, Autumn! I’m not sure the answer, and I bet it’s something any coaster maker would love to know as well ;)

      • Keil Miller Jr says:

        My mother has coasters with a lip around them to contain sweat. With tile, you could try cutting a small channel round the edge with a router and very small bit? Add lots of mod podge around the edges and sand the middle lower and flat? Add a material around the edges? You could make a rubber border around the photo from inner tube. That would probably be the easiest solution while still looking good.

    • sam says:

      You can modge podge or hot glue a thin ribbon around the edges. It will make a pretty border and the cloth material will absorb most of the sweat and prevent drips.

  20. Made quite a few of these and had students make some for mother’s day as well. To my disappointment they stick together if a bit humid and stick to the glass if there is condensation. So made more with school students and bought small plate easels from Dollar Tree so they could be for display rather than coasters.

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Lesa! What a great idea to make them little art pieces instead? Love it! I’m sorry you had trouble with coasters sticking – we’re going to edit this post to make another suggestion because it sounds like several people have unfortunately had this problem :(

  21. Kelly says:

    Hi there. I’ve made several coasters. I have let the mod podge dry for a couple days before spraying with an acrylic sealer. I have then let the sealer sit for almost a week. But then when I stack the coasters, the felt dots (I put a small felt circle on each corner of the bottom) stuck to the coaster underneath and left fibers and a mark on the tops of the coasters. I let them dry for so long before stacking, what am I doing wrong? I sold some of these at a craft fair and I’m mortified that people got home and this probably happened…

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Kelly, thanks for your comment! I’m so sorry to hear that the coasters are sticking! When we did this project, we didn’t have any trouble with the coasters sticking, however I’m going to add an edit to the post to suggest some other coating instead of mod podge – and try to test out a few others. It seems you’re not the only one having this problem, so you’re not doing anything wrong! Stay tuned…

      • Brianna says:

        They make dishwasher safe mode lodge which is great for not sticking to things. Also, on some midge lodge if you read the back it recommends waiting 4 weeks before using so the items completely “cure”

  22. Fantastic idea! I have been looking for a little unique idea for my husbands birthday. We have a load if pictures that he loves of the family, so I know he will love them…

    Thank you Jessica <3 xoxo

  23. Tanya says:

    I had a problem with the acrylic spray ruining the colors in my photo. I used Mod Podge to coat it twice, then sprayed it to seal it. Afterward I noticed that my picture looked a bit darker after spraying the protective coating. Now 3 days later, it looks horrible! The once vibrant colors are drab and changing into ugly faded hues. They were printed at Sams Club, so I doubt its because of the way it was printed. Has anyone else had this problem? I used a clear acrylic matte coating spray from Hobby Lobby. It even says its for photographs on the can. :(

  24. Danielle says:

    There are tiles where I live (Utah) for 16 cents each that work really well at home depot. Try looking for those! (:

  25. WOW..!! These coasters look beautiful and thanks for sharing these photos.

  26. Lauren says:

    I’m confused. What or how should we print our pictures if not on traditional paper?? Did you ever solve the tacky texture problems? I was wondering if the issue was altitude and climate? Maybe the issue is too much moisture in the air?

  27. Margie Christian says:

    Margie Christian
    The only thing is I got my tiles for 16 cents a piece not two dollars Danielle is spot on too I did the same thing.
    Looks Like a really cool projects

  28. Stephanie says:

    This is great! Can’t wait to try. Thank you for the great tutorial.
    I don’t know if anyone else has post this but I saw another tutorial that someone used corkboard on the back instead of felt pads – another good idea!

  29. Hannah says:

    as i was making these, some of the edges began to bubble. I used my own kodak glossy paper and printed pictures off myself. Not too sure what I did wrong!

  30. Kathy Gramm says:

    I was able to get tiles for $0.05 each at a restore where recycled materials are sold from construction jobs.

  31. sandra says:

    I’m having a problem with the mod podge leaving some white steaks and/or white patches on my photos… Why?

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Sandra, sorry to hear you’re having problems! It sounds like your Mod Podge isn’t fully drying for some reason, it should dry clear. Do you live in a humid environment or applied the Mod Podge thickly? Try using thin coats, and allowing it to dry fully in between layers. If you think it’s not fully drying, you could try putting the coasters in as much direct sun as possible, in front of a fan, or into your oven on a very low temperature (keeping a close eye on it) to try and get the Mod Podge to fully dry. Does this help?

  32. Veronica says:

    I’m planning on doing this! But wanted some advice. I need them to put on crosses (like crosses on the side of the road), that will be outside in the Texas elements. What can I use to make the photos last longer in the heat and rain?

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Veronica, I would highly recommend using epoxy if you need these to last through the elements. I talked a little about using epoxy in this post: Good luck, please stop by again and let us know how it worked!

      • Veronica says:

        I sure will. My phone won’t allow me upload a pic of the ones I did just playing around. But they turned out fantastic! Should I use the epoxy 1st? Or after I put the mod podge on? I’m not really a “crafty” person, so I don’t even know.

  33. jenni hawthorne says:

    Use a mini roller for mod podge to avoid streaks.Ive worked that bit out but still sticky:-(

  34. kamil says:

    does it matter weather the tiles are glossy?

  35. Sam says:

    I use the mod podge then seal it with polycrylic, it works amazing. Also make sure you let them fully cure before stacking them.

  36. cristel says:

    may i know if we have to print using photo paper or we can use normal A4 papers?

  37. Hannah says:

    Could I use something like PVA glue to coat over my photos instead of buying mod podge? Thanks :)

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Hannah! I don’t have experience with PVA glue, however from what I’ve read it won’t do the same job as mod podge. PVA glue is used more as a straight adhesive, while mod podge is used as a sealer (but can be used as an adhesive as well). Basically, I’m not sure if it will dry clear and non-sticky. If you do end up trying it and it works well, please let us know. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help with this!

  38. d says:

    I used sticky back cork instead of felt I liked that better and it was easy to get it to adhere to the tole

  39. Hannah says:

    You can also order 4×4 prints through Walgreens! They have an app which allows you to connect to your Instagram and upload your photos from there. They print on nice matte paper and are surprisingly good quality for quick printing. They often have 40% off everything photo so I wait until they have a sale and stock up! They are having one now actually, code is EVERYORDER good through dec 16,2014.

  40. Emma says:

    I have made these and even a year later if a cold drink is set on the coaster it sticks to it and even when you pull the drink up the coaster comes with it. Any suggestions on what I should do to them to prevent this?

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Oh man, I’m so sorry to hear that, Emma! You could try applying an epoxy coating to the coasters. We’ve edited the post (near the supplies list) to suggest that. Please let us know if we can help any further!

  41. Brittany says:

    Would epoxy or polycrylic be better for covering the top of the photo to seal it? I’ve never used either of these. I’m giving these as gifts and I just don’t want them to get ruined a couple days later!

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Brittany! An epoxy sealer might work better. Another reader also suggested trying dishwasher safe mod podge (who knew that was a thing??) and that the back label of mod podge actually recommends waiting 4 weeks before using to that the item completely cures :( This is quite a wait, and I’ve had really good luck with epoxy with another project. So, if you want something durable, I would definitely consider trying it! There’s a link to a post where I talk about it up under the supplies in the ‘edit’ section. Good luck!!

  42. Cheryl says:

    Where can you get epoxy?

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Cheryl, I ordered mine online from, but you might be able to find it at a craft store. I also found this from if that helps!

  43. Meg says:

    Krylon triple thick or Rustoleum triple thick clear.Apply 12 to 24 hours hours after mode podge
    No need for three days drying for mode podge.

  44. Jean Bishop says:

    Thanks for a great article. I am making tile coasters using Liquitex gel medium as an adhesive and sealer. As it’s an acrylic gel, it’s waterproof which is great but I am getting the same problem as others using mod podge when it comes to putting hot drinks on the coasters – they stick. I am going to try using a heat gun on them to see if that helps but this seems to be a very common problem when making coasters and I’d love to find a fail safe solution.

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Jean! Try sealing them with epoxy like we did here, and I think that should be the fail safe solution!

      • Shirley says:

        I used an epoxy resin on mine and it worked great for cold beverages but hot beverages still stuck to it and left a ring. The ring does disappear but if people are selling these, the customers will not know this.

        • Gwen Bucknell says:

          Hi Shirley, I’m so sorry your coasters didn’t work out. I’ve used epoxy on a few projects now and I know it’s REALLY important to make sure you get the measurements perfect when you mix it, and also allowing it to cure long enough. Is it possible that your mixture was slightly off and the epoxy didn’t fully cure?

          • Shirley says:

            At first I thought maybe I was mixing it wrong. I watched countless videos and did everything according to the directions. I also tried 4 different types of resin and all did the same thing. I scoured the internet and found many people had the same problem only with hot beverages. I even went so far as buying two coasters off etsy from two different people (my husband thought I was crazy lol) and their coasters did the same thing. After trying just about every sealer and resin out there, I find the engine sealant works the best for me. In all, I think it took me 4 to 5 months of testing to figure out what I liked best. I will say the easiest and cheapest resin came from Lowes. It also had the least amount of bubbles to deal with. I am using it for some other projects so at least it didn’t go to waste.

  45. I just made some of these for a friends birthday and so far they look great. I put the modge podge on first, then the photo, which I printed on regular printing paper, and then applied two coats of modge podge, one applied vertically and one horizontally and the streaks are less noticeable and art looking :) afterwards I sprayed with krylon uv resistant spray and let dry overnight. So far so good. Instead of felt pads (which I didn’t find until later) I just cut circles from felt and glued on the back. So far so good!

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      What a great birthday gift!! So glad that you were able to make these successfully, I hope your friend liked them! Please keep me posted on how the UV resistant spray holds up, I’d love to hear if that’s a quicker option than epoxy.

  46. Kay says:

    Okay, I was TOO generous with my Mod Podge and i have glue all over the edges, and not in an even coat. How do I get the glue off the edges?

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Kay, try carefully using an x-acto knife to shave it off. That should help with the bulk, and then you might be able to go over the edges a little less generously ;) to cover up any harsh edges.

  47. Theresa Houston says:

    I made several of these and am so upset . Not only are they sticking but I have also found while waiting for the spray acrylic to dry every airborne particles have stuck to them. I used modpodge first and then followed with the clear acrylic coating.

  48. Wannee says:

    I love it. Thanks for sharing!

  49. Madison says:

    Will this mess up the original photo?

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Madison, we would recommend getting copies of the original photo if you’re worried about ruining it. But the photo should be just fine underneath that coating. I would HIGHLY recommend using our updated tutorial, This version helps with sticking and some other issues we found that happened with this version. Best of luck!

  50. dee dee says:

    if you wanted to make team coasters would you suggest wall paper?

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Dee Dee, if you have a wallpaper that has the imagery you’d like to use, I think it should work. No reason why you can’t use wallpaper instead of photos :)

  51. CB says:

    How much area does Mod Podge cover? I’m going to make several with a group and want to make sure I have enough. Thanks

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Carmen, I’m not sure how much area the mod podge covers, but 1 jar would probably be more than enough for a group. That stuff goes a long way :) However, we noticed that the mod podge doesn’t cure completely and can be sticky with glassware :( I would highly recommend trying epoxy like we did here. Good luck! Hope your group has fun making these!

  52. DEBBIE JACQUES says:


  53. Debra says:

    I’m using mod posh matte and making the tiles as instructed and making with pics printed on HP premium photo paper in B&W and every time I try this the picture gets a pinkish hue upon using the mod podge and completely pink where there is full white. HELP. Tired of doing it over and over again and still at square 1. Thank u.

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Debra, I’m so sorry that you’re experiencing problems! My guess would be it’s the color combo of the ink in printing and the mod podge is somehow smudging the red ink and that’s where the pink hue is coming from. I would highly recommend using epoxy like we did here, we had a lot of commenters say that the mod podge never fully cured and they were left with sticky coasters (not what you want!). Hopefully that works better!

  54. Steve says:

    Hello, my girlfriend has been making tiles lately. She was using modge podge with no trouble. She switched to using Krylon clear recently. The krylon aerosol hasn’t hardened fully and it has been 2 days. When a cup is set on the coaster it leaves an impression of the cup. Any suggestions?

  55. Andrea Mailand says:

    I am trying to make these as christmas gifts. Has anyone used the epoxy successfully and had it withstand the heat of a hot coffee mug?
    Also someone mentioned using engine sealant I was curious how that panned out?

  56. Earl says:

    Let it sit for 3 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!! At the time that. I’m reading this, it’s two day before Christmas! Sure, I procrastinated, but seriously! 3 DAYS!!!!!!!!!

  57. judy says:

    do the pictures need to be printed on high gloss photo paper, or just regular printer paper,

    • Gwen Bucknell says:

      Hi Judy, you can try it with regular printer paper, but I’m not sure how it’ll turn out? There’s a chance it might smear, I would highly recommend getting prints made through Walgreens, etc if you can. Good luck!

Leave a Comment