It is never too early to start thinking about getting a head start on those DIY holiday gifts! These resin photo coasters are a perfect gift for almost anyone in your life- what grandmother wouldn’t love a set of coasters with her grandchildren on them or what mother wouldn’t love a set of coasters with her children’s drawings on them? Plus, bonus, they are easy to make and don’t take much in the way of materials! The total cost for a set of 8-10 coasters would be less than $10, with plenty of resin to spare to make more! I’m sure you’ve seen the coasters on Pinterest that use Mod Podge- these are even more durable (and in my opinion) much nicer looking! The resin gives the coasters an almost glass-like appearance which makes them super shiny and highly durable!
You can make them with your children’s drawings, your favorite photographs (Instargam pictures work especially well because they’re already square!) or even memorabilia such as ticket stubs or newspaper clippings! (If it’s the latter, or your children’s drawings I’d suggest scanning them and getting them printed on photo paper because once it’s put in the resin you’ll never get them out again, plus the glossy coating of the photo paper works well with the resin!). Pretty much anything flat that’s printed on glossy paper will work!
For this project you will need:
Resin – I prefer the two part epoxy resin. Check your local craft store- it is usually in the glue section. You do not need a lot for each coaster, so unless you are making a lot of coasters, go with the smallest bottle!
4 inch white tiles (you will need one for every coaster you wish to make). Check your local home improvement store- mine were a mere .18c each!
Photographs (or scanned artwork, memorabilia, etc). They’ll be cut down to a scant 4 inch square so make sure whatever you pick will look good in that format! You’ll need one photo for each coaster.
White craft paint
Craft felt (one 9×12 sheet will be enough for every 6 coasters). I went with black so that it doesn’t show any stains that might get on the bottom of your coasters due to everyday use.
A disposable cup and spoon (reuse some of those coffee cups- the paper cups with no ridges works the best)
A well-ventilated area away from small children and pets.
*Note* – Resin is a very toxic substance- please make sure you are working in a well ventilated area where you will not be disturbed by any children or pets. Each brand of resin is different, so read the directions that come with your resin thoroughly. I will provide plenty of tips for working with resin, but be sure to follow the directions that came with your bottle. Don’t be intimidated! It is very easy to work with and once you see the wonderful, professional-looking results you can achieve with it, you’ll be hooked!
Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients and cracked open a window, let’s get started!
Cover your work surface to protect it from the paint and resin. I find that re-using plastic bags works best because if something sticks it’s easier to pull it off of the plastic bag than it is to pull it off of paper.
Paint the edges of your tiles with the white paint. This step is optional, but I think it makes the final product look more professional. In the photo, you can see that the top one is painted and the bottom three aren’t.
It won’t take too long to wait for the painted edges to dry, so while you wait, trim your photographs down. I trimmed mine down to a scant 4×4 (Just under 3.875 x 3.875) You don’t want your photos to go to the edge of the tile- you want them to be about 1/4 of an inch smaller than the tile. This will ensure that the resin will fully seal the photograph down to the tile.
Using a glue stick, glue the photographs to the center of each tile. Make sure you press down firmly and really glue down the edges. Set aside to dry.
While the tiles are drying, begin to prepare your resin.
If you bought the two part epoxy resin you will be mixing together two parts. These parts must be mixed in equal proportions in order for the resin to harden properly. I use a plastic teaspoon to do my measuring- you’re going to want something disposable because lets face it, who wants resin on their utensils? Each coaster will need about 2 teaspoons of resin to cover them, so for 4 coasters, I measured out 4 teaspoons of part one of the resin and 4 teaspoons of part two of the resin. Once your resin is measured out, stir. Stir, and stir some more. Set a timer and stir for a minimum of 2 minutes. Get your whole arm into it! Pretend like you are whipping eggs, pausing every 30 seconds or so to scrape down the edges and bottom well. You really want to ensure that this is mixed well.
If you are stirring properly, lots of little tiny bubbles will appear- don’t worry, they’ll come out later!
After you are done stirring, line up your tiles on your covered work surface and get ready to make some magic! Working carefully, spoon out one teaspoon of your resin and pour it gently in the middle of the tile. Pour a second teaspoon right on top of the first, and then using your spoon, very gently push the resin outward to the edge of the tile. You’ll want a nice even coating of resin from edge to edge, stopping just a hair shy of the edge of the tile.
Repeat for each tile, and then when you are done take a flashlight, get down low and examine each tile to make sure that you didn’t miss any spots.
If you have little bubbles, fear not. Take a deep breath and slowly exhale your hot breath over each tile- the carbon dioxide will help pop all of those little bubbles! Please make sure you turn away from the tiles before inhaling again though! We don’t want you breathing in the resin! Repeat as necessary to remove all the bubbles from your coasters.
This step is the toughest for me. Now you must wait patiently for the tiles to dry. For a thin coat such as this, it will take between 48-72 hours for a full cure. Within 24 hours you should be able to handle them, but wait the time recommended to insure you don’t leave any dings in your newly made coasters!
To finish the coasters off, I glue felt to the bottom of them to help protect your table. Cut felt into 4 inch squares, and hot glue to the bottom of each coaster.
Package them up, give them as gifts, or put them to good use in your own home! The set above is going to be an engagement gift for a friend who just got engaged. I first made a set for my husband and myself almost 2 years ago and they are showing almost no wear! The resin is tough and really protects your photos well. It also makes for easy clean up- just wipe them off with a damp cloth if they get any stains on them (I may be known to have gotten some sangria on mine…).
Here’s the set I made almost 2 years ago – I’d say they held up well! They still look as good as the day I made them!
If you make a set, share them with me! Feel free to stop by my Facebook page to show them off, or share them on Instagram! Make sure to follow/tag me @sewin2disney and use hashtag #handmadeisbetter – I’d love to see what you come up with!