Most birders are drawn to their craft by the unique beauty and majestic qualities of birds. It’s no wonder that many spend hours trying to capture that beauty in a picture (or two or two thousand).
Instead of stuffing those perfect pictures into a box or a folder on your computer, let those pictures fly by displaying them proudly in your home or sharing them with friends and family as a gift with these affordable, easy-to-make DIY bird photography coasters!
DIY Birding Coasters
- 4-1/4” x 4-1/4” ceramic tiles (The number of tiles depends on how many coasters you want to make. I suggest getting extra in case you mess up. You can find them at any hardware store for about 20 cents each.)
- 4” x 4” pictures (Crop your photos into a square and print them at home or at any printing/photo center, like Walgreens or FedEx.)
- Mod Podge (Gloss or matte, depending on your preference. Our example uses gloss.)
- Disposable Brushes
- Acrylic Sealer
- Self-Adhesive Felt (We used the self-adhesive circles, but any felt will do.)
How to Make the Coasters
1. Make sure the surface of the tiles are clean and dry. Using one of the disposable brushes, apply a layer of Mod Podge to the back of the picture—making sure to cover all four corners. Press the picture to the tile and smooth out in all directions to ensure there are no air bubbles (using a hard, flat-surfaced card works well). Wipe away any excess glue that might have seeped out. Let dry for 20-30 minutes.
2. Apply a layer of Mod Podge to the top of the picture and tile, making sure to cover the entire surface—including the edges where the picture meets the tile—to seal both. Brush the Mod Podge in smooth, even strokes in the same direction (the glue will likely create a sort of textured surface, so you don’t want it to look messy). Let dry 1-2 hours.
3. Apply 2-3 more coats of Mod Podge to the top, making sure to let each coat dry for 1-2 hours between applications.
4. Apply a thin layer of acrylic sealer to the top of the coaster in quick, even, sweeping motions. It’s best to do this outside or in a well-ventilated room on some cardboard or newspaper. The fumes are noxious and very strong, and you wouldn’t want to ruin any surface in your home. Make sure not to apply too much sealer, as it tends to build up and dry unevenly, leaving a sticky, tacky surface. Let dry 2-3 hours.
5. Repeat Step 4 and apply 3-5 more coats of sealer. Make sure you’re letting each layer dry properly—the key to these coasters is patience!
6. When you're happy with the look of the coasters, apply the felt to the back of them to ensure they won’t scratch the table you’re making these coasters to protect. We used self-adhesive felt circles because they were cheap and easy, but if you have some felt lying around the house, cut a few pieces or even a similarly sized square and glue it to the back of the coaster.
7. [Optional] If gifting them, they look great stacked together with a ribbon tied around them!
That’s it! This whole project was super easy and very affordable. We managed to buy all the materials for under $25, but a savvy shopper (or an avid crafter who already has many of the materials) could easily make these for $10-15 or less.
These coasters make such an impression in the house and are perfect gifts for any time of the year. So pick your favorite birding pics and get to crafting!