LulaBelle Handicrafts

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Map Coasters Tutorial

on September 2, 2012

Of late, I’ve become very fond of DIY coasters. They are super affordable, easily customizable, and fairly simple to create. I realized that I’ve yet to make any featuring maps, so I set out to change this yesterday.

For a little inspiration, I scoured Mod Podge Rocks and found some from Casa Sugar by way of the San Francisco Chronicle. How’s that for giving out some due credit? Theirs featured upcycled coasters. Since I didn’t have any on hand and can’t really see buying new ones just to redo them, I decided to head to the hardware store in search of tiles. I splurged (a whole $.33 a piece!) on agora tiles because they have a gorgeous, old world look. I then headed home and spent the better part of yesterday afternoon making my new coasters.

Now that you know where we’re going, let me tell you how to get there.


  • Map
  • Ruler and Pencil or 3in. Square Stencil
  • Scissor or Paper Trimmer
  • Wax Paper
  • Brown Ink Pad
  • 4 4×4 Almond Agora Tiles
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint Brush
  • Clear Indoor/Outdoor Sealer
  • Adhesive Cork Circles

Step One:

The trickiest part of this craft may be choosing your map. I used maps of Canadian cities from my infamous 2000 atlas. Why Canada? For one, several Canadians read my blog, so it’s a nice nod to them! Also I liked the amount of water, aka blue, in them because I knew that it would beautifully complement my almond tiles. I made a square stencil with my Slice Elite, but you could also use a ruler to mark out your squares. Because I am so enamored with these tiles, I wanted my map pieces to be 3×3 to allow a significant amount of tile to be shown in the finished product.

Step Two:

With my squares drawn, I cut them out with scissors. You could also use a paper trimmer.

Step Three:

Before getting into the potentially messy parts of this craft, I covered my work surface with wax paper. I didn’t want my maps to look all shiny and new, so I chose to dab them with a brown ink pad to give them an aged effect. If I ever break down and buy some Tim Holtz’ Distress Ink, I’ll make these again using it. I did some practice dabbing on my map scraps. There is nothing worse than doing something permanent to a project only to hate the result! With my map pieces sufficiently aged, I let them dry for about 5 mins just to make sure that they wouldn’t smudge in the next step.

Step Four:

Before adhering the maps to the tiles, I brushed a layer of Mod Podge onto the back of the maps and allowed them to dry for about 15 mins. I got this tip from Country Chic Cottage’s Map Coasters Tutorial. Doing this is supposed to reduce the extent to which the paper gets wrinkled once Mod Podged onto something.

Step Five:

I next brushed a healthy amount of Mod Podge onto my tiles, centered the map pieces, and smoothed out any bubbles. I must say that the maps weren’t wrinkled, so I’ll probably be using that tip from Country Chic Cottage again. I then let them to dry for about 15 mins.

Step Six:

With the maps adhered to the tiles, I brushed a layer of Mod Podge across the entire top of the coaster. I let them dry for about 15 mins and then repeated the process so that I had two layers of Mod Podge on each coaster.

Step Seven:

To make these coasters functional, I sealed them with a clear, glossy, indoor/outdoor spray. This step is critical if you intend to have any wet glasses sitting on the coasters. Always do this in a well-ventilated space! I wanted an excuse to soak up some sunshine, so I sprayed them outside.

Step Eight:

Finally the last step! To make the coasters furniture-friendly, I attached adhesive cork circles to the bottom of each tile. You could also use felt circles.

Here’s a closeup of the finished product. I cannot tell you how much I love these agora tiles! They look expensive, even though they aren’t, and have more weight to them than the standard, white, ceramic tiles. I will definitely be using them again.

These coasters, while not difficult to make, are a little time-consuming. This is the kind of project that I like to have going on while I’m doing other things like house cleaning. Maps are certainly not the only option. You can use scrapbook paper. I’ve even read of people using napkins. Although I’m going to keep these, I’m considering making more for Christmas presents.


2 responses to “Map Coasters Tutorial

  1. DIY coasters are a great idea. Thinking of doing some holiday themed ones to give out as gifts for christmas.

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