12 Days of Coasters Day 2: Wood Photo Coasters

Completed Wood Photo Coasters

Wood Photo Coaster

For my second coaster creation I decided to create wood photo coasters by transferring photos to wood. This is a scaled-down version of the photo to wood transfers I used to create a gallery wall in our dining room. Unlike their wall-art predecessors, these coasters only took a few minutes to make and left my fingerprints completely intact. I’d recommend these to anyone looking for a personal DIY gift that is quick, easy and inexpensive.

Cost: about $5 for 4

Time: 20 Minutes (plus 24 hours of waiting)

Materials: (list contains affiliate links – if you buy any of these items you are supporting my coffee addiction)

Photo to Wood Coaster - Materials

Step 1: Select and Print Your Images

Photos for Coasters

I made these for a wonk who works in state government so I went with historic photos that I found on the New York State Library Digital Collections site. The NYS library houses thousands of old high resolution photos that are available to download for free.

I’ve also used color photos of people and places in the past and they came out great. These would make a nice wedding gift with a set of glasses and a bottle of champagne.

Step 3: Slather on Some Liquitex

Slather on some Liquitex glue
The goal is to get an even layer of Liquitex over each one. Make sure the glue covers the entire surface of the coaster.

Step 4: Place Images Face-Down on the Coasters

Place Images Face-Down on Coasters

I tried to center the images on each coaster as much as possible. After each image had been placed face-down on the coaster I spent a minute smoothing it down with my fingers.

Step 5: Wait 24 Hours!

I mean it! Wait 24 hours for the glue to dry. For anyone who shares my impatience and compulsion to finish things this step is more challenging than you’d think. If you fall into that category try to wait at least8 hours before removing the paper.

Step 6: Remove the Paper

Removing Paper from the Coasters

Now it’s time to start peeling off bits of paper. The best practice is to carefully rub a damp washcloth over it until the paper comes off. I prefer the high-risk-high-reward method of vigorously peeling it off with my hands and occasionally wiping away the paper with a towel.

This part is surprisingly fun! I have no logical explanation for this but there’s something I find extremely calming and satisfying about peeling paper. I blame the same personality trait that compelled me to meticulously remove all wrinkles from aluminum candy wrappers as a kid.

Step 7: Coat With Mod Podge

Coasters coated with mod podge

Add a layer of mod podge throughout. Don’t worry if the mod podge shows up white. It will dry clear in an hour or so.

Step 8: Mark the Occasion with a Traditional Cocktail

Now that you’ve finished your wood photo coasters you can sit back, put your phone on silent and enjoy an old fashioned.

Old Fashioned

  • 3 oz bourbon
  • Bitters
  • Sugar cube
  • Water
  • Orange slice and cherry garnish

12 Days of Coasters

If you’re looking for a more festive coaster craft, check out my first coaster creation – 12 Days of Coasters Day 1: Melted Peppermint Coasters.

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