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A few years ago, DIY mod podge coasters seemed to be all the rage on Pinterest. For those of you who haven’t heard of them before, the general idea is that you use mod podge to transfer an image of your choosing on to an appropriate surface to make a custom coaster. They were one of the very first Pinterest-inspired projects I ever made, and I still remember how excited I was to have made something from the internet.
However, while these DIY mod podge coasters turned out beautifully, they did not stand the test of time. For some reason, the mod podge would melt ever so slightly every single time a hot or warm mug was placed on top of one of the coasters (which, in this coffee-loving household, was all the time). This meant two things. Firstly, whenever I lifted my mug to take a sip of coffee, the coaster would come with it. Secondly, whenever the coasters were stacked together, they’d end up sticking to one another. Because of this, I eventually gave up on my mod podge coasters and tossed them out.
A few years went by, life happened, and I forgot about the custom coasters. Until last week, when I was in the craft store and spotted some chipboard coasters for 70 cents each. At that price, I decided that it couldn’t hurt to give making my own DIY coasters another try. I mean, how hard could it be, right?
Well, apparently, very hard.
My second attempt at mod podge coasters was probably worse than my first. This time, I used epoxy glue (rather than mod podge), as I had read that epoxy solves the stickiness problem. And, you know, maybe it does. But I didn’t have time to find out because the epoxy completely ruined my image transfer and it gathered crazy amounts of dirt and dust (including a strand of my hair) while it was drying.
It was honestly a complete mess.
After this second dismal failure, I turned to the trusty internet for further advice. After procrastinating for an embarrassing amount of time on Pinterest (we should totally be friends on Pinterest, by the way), I stumbled across a mod podge transfer technique that I hadn’t tried before. With nothing to lose (except my hairy coasters), I decided to give it a try.
And I’m so glad I did. The images transferred well and there were no awkward raggedy edges. In addition, because I sealed my mod podge coasters with water-based varnish, the coasters don’t stick to one another every time I’m trying to responsibly down my seventh cup of coffee for the day.
So today I’d love to share with you how to make your own custom coasters that won’t go all sticky!
How to make your own DIY mod podge coasters
If you would like to use the same images that I used for my coasters, click here to download them. If you’re stuck for image ideas, check out my other free printables as there might be something there you can use.
To make your own DIY coasters, you will need:
- Coasters, painted with acrylic paint in the colour of your choice.
- Mod podge
- A paintbrush
- A sponge or rag you can get damp
- Water-based varnish
- Pictures to transfer, printed with a laser printer.
Important notes (please read!):
- The images need to be printed with a laser printer. Apparently images printed with an inkjet won’t work. If you don’t want to buy a laser printer, you can always get your pictures printed at one of the major office supply stores (such as Office Depot) as they use laser printers.
- If your images have text, it’s a good idea to print them out as a mirror image of themselves (i.e. flip them). Otherwise, your text will be backwards on your coaster.
Step 1: Cut out your images
To begin, use your scissors to trim excess paper from your images. Here’s a picture of one of my birds after I cut it, to give you an idea of how you should trim your images:
Step 2: Transfer your images to your coasters
Apply a generous coat of mod podge to the front (not back) of your image. Make sure you cover every part of the image, as the transfer won’t work properly if you miss spots.
Then, flip your image so that it is face down and stick it to your coaster. Use your fingers to smooth out the image so there are no bumps or wrinkles.
Leave the mod podge to fully dry. You can either let it air-dry, which will take about 24 hours, or speed up the process by using a hairdryer. I used a hairdryer on maximum speed/heat and was able to dry my coasters in about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Use a sponge to reveal your pretty image transfer
Once your mod podge has dried, grab a damp sponge or a rag. Your sponge should be noticeably damp, but not so damp that it’s dripping water.
Working in sections, lightly dab the sponge on the back of the paper, like so:
Once your paper is damp, use two fingers and circular motions to gently rub the paper. Bits of the paper will begin to flake off, leaving your design on the coaster. I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of this part, so if you’re confused, please watch this video for a demonstration.
In case you’re wondering: No, I have no idea how this works. I’m a Martha Stewart wannabe (the homemaker part, not the racism and tax evasion part), not a scientist.
Step 4: Apply a coat of sealant to your coasters
The final step is to apply a coat of water-based varnish to your coasters. Using water-based varnish over the top of the mod podge stops the coasters sticking together/sticking to mugs and glasses.
Coat your mod podge coasters with one or two coats of varnish. Allow to dry for the time specified on your particular brand of varnish.
Once your varnish is dry, your DIY coasters are complete.
Mod podge is honestly so much fun! What’s your favourite thing to make with mod podge? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Not ready to make your DIY mod podge coasters yet? Pin me for later!