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Picture this: new home, new coffee table. What’s missing? New coasters.

Yes, coasters, very important.

I saw lots of fun coaster tutorials online, but was really struck by these map coasters I saw from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Being me, I couldn’t just use any old map. No, I live for making things more difficult. I decided to use special maps, i.e. maps I had saved from past travels. They were in the closet anyway and free.

It ended up being pretty fun. The husband and I picked out our favorites together which included something from our first trip together, our honeymoon, and several other happy vacations.

Fun maps saved from vacations. I know you are wondering why Disneyland is front and center. He asked me to marry him at Disneyland.

Supplies

You will need:

  • Coasters to be covered. Anything coaster-shaped would also work well.
  • Maps
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam brush
  • Scissors
  • Spray enamel

These can be made in any shape using any coasters you can find. I found these monogram coasters in the dollar bin at Michael’s and bought a bunch.

Dollar bin coasters from Michaels

Assembly Line

Start by tracing the coaster shape onto your maps and cutting them out.

Take a moment to lay the piece on top of the coaster and trim off bits of excess as necessary.

Step One: cut out your shapes

Using Mod Podge, glue the shapes to the coasters. I used Hard Coat Mod Podge because I wanted the coasters to be durable.

Important note: spread the Mod Podge on the coaster, then press the shape down. If you put the Mod Podge on the shape first, there is a greater chance of bubbles forming and paper curling.

Step Two: spread Mod Podge on coaster

Using this method, you have a lot more control placing the shape on the coaster.

Step Three: press shape to coaster to glue

Leave the coasters to dry for at least an hour. Then apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the top of each coaster. Let that dry for 20 minutes, then add a second coat.

Step Four: apply two coats of Mod Podge to top

Let these sit for a couple of hours or overnight.

Bringing in Reinforcements

I checked with Amy at Mod Podge Rocks to see if two coats of Mod Podge would make the coasters durable enough. She suggested adding a layer of spray enamel to ensure absolute waterproofing.

Spray enamel is like clear spray paint and can be found pretty cheap at the hardware store.

Spray your coasters using the same sensibility you would to spray paint something: stay at least a foot away and use an even hand or else the spray will puddle up on the coaster.

They’ll dry to the touch in an hour and you can pick them up and bring them inside.  Let these dry for a day inside (to be on the safe side).

Step Five: spray enamel for ultimate waterproofing

Durability Testing

I had to be sure with this. I set an icy drink on one of the coasters for several hours. Victory! They are indeed waterproof.

Waterproof!

Troubleshooting

Bowing – If the coasters are thin, they may bow after you glue the shapes to them. Set the coasters under a pile of heavy books for a couple of days and they will return to flatness.

Bubbles – Even when I had smoothed the shape out while gluing, sometimes I would return to find a bubble or two after they had dried. Don’t sweat it. The bubbles mysteriously went away after I added the top coats of Mod Podge.

Trimming – If the shape hangs slightly over the edge of the coaster, trim it before gluing. I’ve not had success trying to press or glue down any overhanging paper onto the sides of the coaster.

When in doubt, leave it alone and don’t touch it. Instead of trying to fix the bubbles, I left them alone and went on with the project. They disappeared and I’m glad I didn’t try something drastic. I sprayed one of the coasters with too much enamel and it looked cloudy when wet. I tried, unsuccessfully, to wipe some of the wet enamel off. Bad decision. It ended up looking okay, but really, leave it alone and it will probably turn out okay!

Finished!

Tips & Ideas

  • Use any map you have lying around.
  • You don’t have to over complicate it like I did by using special maps.
  • Coasters can be found pretty cheaply – look for cheap seasonal coasters at the store.
  • Glue the shapes to the coasters by spreading Mod Podge on the coaster and then placing the shape (not the other way around).
  • Make sure to use spray enamel (like clear spray paint) to water proof the coasters.
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