the Stone and the Oak

A journey into bible education with the depth of the of the oak the accountability of the stone

Father’s Day is half a week away, and rather than doing the last-minute, panic-buy where you shell out way too much money for a lackluster gift, consider making him something meaningful.

I decided to make these photo coasters for my Father-in-law because, like all grandpas, he adores his grandkids— and we are on a tighter budget these days.

You will need six things to make these coasters.

Do you only see five? Crumb. Me, too. I forgot to take a picture of the backing! Have no fear— I will make sure to cover it in a bit.

1: 4×4 tiles

I found a large stack of tiles at my local Habitat for Humanity Restore. If you don’t already know, Restore has secondhand building supplies that have been donated, and all proceeds from the sales of these items support Habitat for Humanity— an excellent cause.

The tiles were 5 cents apiece! You can’t get anything for a nickel anymore…except apparently 4×4 tiles.

Sure, you can get your tiles at Lowe’s or Home Depot, but if you are a thrifter and treasure hunter like me, it’s a lot of fun to dig around at Restore.

If you do. Hey secondhand, don’t worry if your tiles have stains or scratches on the front; the photo will cover almost the entirety of the tile’s face. As long as the edges are good, and there is no mortar stuck to the back, the tile will work!

2. 4×4 square photos

Left: 4×4 photo from Walgreens; Right: Image printed on cardstock at home

I did a little experiment to see if there was a difference between using images printed at home on cardstock versus the glossy 4×4 prints I picked up from my local Walgreens (they were 20 cents a piece).

Both glossy prints and images printed on cardstock will work, but keep in mind that the ordered prints are usually pre-cut with straight edges and the cardstock you will cut yourself. So, unless you have a trusty paper cutter, the edges might be imperfect for the cardstock option.

I liked the deeper saturation of the glossy prints, so I opted for those after comparing them side-by-side.

3. Brush for applying ModPodge

The first step is to apply a generous coat of ModPodge to the tile

If you have a disposable foam brush, I’d use it because Mod Podge is a glue and therefore not always easy to wash out of a standard brush.

4. Speaking of… ModPodge!

ModPodge is a crafter’s bread & butter and comes in many different options: matte, glossy, dishwasher-safe, and on.

As you can see from the above picture, even my three-year old can handle the first step of applying a liberal layer of Mod Podge to the surface of the tile. Mod Podge is non-toxic, so I don’t have to worry about his involvement.

My three-year-old, who needs to clean his fingernails, helps me press the photo onto the tile layered with ModPodge

Once the photo is fixed in place on the ModPodge-coated tile, go ahead and apply the top coat of ModPodge right across the photo itself.

Remember, ModPodge dries clear, so don’t be hesitant to give the photo a good coating and give extra attention to the edges.

The coaster that inspired me! This was made for me by my sister-in-love, Monica, right after my third was born.

Yes, you will see a faint appearance of brush-strokes when it dries, but the evidence of the crafting is what reflects the love that went into making it. You won’t find these coming out of a factory.

The evidence of the crafting reflects the love that went into making it

5. Acrylic sealing spray

Now to really help the coasters stand up to the moisture of an icy drink cup, you’ll need to spray an acrylic sealer over the dried ModPodge layer.

Acrylic Spray Sealers are not non-toxic, so be sure to do this project outdoors and keep the kids at a distance.

Here, I am spraying the first of two thin coats of the acrylic sealer

The acrylic sealing spray I chose has a glossy finish, but you can also find other brands in a matte finish.

Once you’ve let the second thin coat dry, the front of your coaster is complete, and you only need to add the backing.

6. Cork backing or felt bumpers

Because raw porcelain tile will not be kind to a wooden table, you’ll need either:


Here is the large pack I ordered from Amazon in the hopes of making more coasters in the future:

They peel easily

And adhere with a press

If you want to make a smaller batch of coasters, you might want to opt for…


Felt dots like these can also be found at Target and WalMart near the furniture section. You will need four dots per coaster— one for each corner.

Project complete!

My coasters are ready to wrap up for Dad! He loves Diet Coke, so I might also include some Diet Coke and have the kids write a little cheeky note on the gift box asking where he will put his Diet Coke cup.

So tell me, what is the best handmade gift you have ever received?

with His love,


One thought on “How to Make Photo Coasters using 4×4 Tiles

  1. Love this project, Addie — you are so good at finding just the right idea for the right person!


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