Looking for a quick gift idea for an upcoming occasion? What grandparent doesn't love receiving homemade gifts from their grandchildren? Here's a great project that's both quick and easy, finishing in 1 to 2 hours, depending upon your style.
|Assemble the materials to create the photo coaster|
- photograph or artwork
- 4" coaster substrate (available from D&D Stained Glass)
- 2" x 2" clear glass
- variety of scrap stained glass colors or ready made tiles
- No Days Mosaic Adhesive film
- scissors or razor
- standard heat gun or embossing heat tool
- long pair of tweezers (or other heat proof tool)
- black sanded grout
- latex gloves
- dust mask
- container for mixing water and grout
- glass cutters/running pliers/mosaic nippers (or 3/8" pre-cut tiles)
- cork backing
- HoneyDoo Powerbond Glue
To create a custom photo coaster, the first thing you need is a photograph cut to 2" x 2". (You can also use a piece of artwork, just re-size it to 2" x 2".)
Cut the No Days Mosaic Adhesive to fit the substrate and another that is slightly larger than the photo. Find the center of the coaster and place the photo between the two pieces of No Days Mosaic Adhesive. Put the glass over the top of the photo and adhesive. So, now you've got the coaster substrate in front of you with a layer of No Days Mosaic Adhesive film on it. On top of that, you've got your photograph in the center of the coaster with a piece of No Days Mosaic Adhesive that covers it. Then, you place the clear glass on top of that. So this is what you've got so far:
|Make a No Days sandwich with the photo between two layers of adhesive|
You can purchase tiles to fill in the rest of the space or using scrap stained glass, you can easily make your own. If you are cutting tiles from the scrap stained glass, it's helpful to have a strip cutting system. The Morton Portable Glass Shop makes a quick and easy job of cutting lots of small square tiles:
Now, you'll need to fill in all the empty space. Cover the substrate with the rest of the tiles, remembering to leave little gaps (1/16" to 1/8") for the grout lines. It's not important that your lines are straight. In fact, it adds a bit of interest if they're not that straight! Also, you don't need to worry that all the tiles are in the exact spot they're supposed to be, as you can move them into position while you're heating.
|Continue to cover your substrate with tiles|
When you've got tiles covering your substrate, it's time to heat set them in place with a standard heat gun or embossing heat gun. Begin by holding the heat gun about 6"-8" above your coaster and turn it on low. As the tiles begin to heat, you can begin to move the heat gun closer. You don't want to start too close, though, or else you'll end up blowing the tiles off the substrate with the force of the hot air!
As the adhesive heats up, you will see it start to turn glossy and liquify. You need to make sure to heat the tiles enough so that the adhesive underneath them also liquifies.
|After placing all the pieces, heat set with a heat gun|
Remember: In order for the tiles to hold securely, you need to heat them to 160º F (70º C), the temperature at which the adhesive fully adheres.
|Check to make sure all the pieces have been thoroughly heated|
Wearing a dust mask, mix a small amount of black sanded grout (a handful) in a cup with just a bit of water (maybe a teaspoon). Stir the grout around with your fingers until it is thoroughly mixed and about the consistency of peanut butter. Spread the grout on top of your coaster, rubbing the grout across the tiles to force the grout down into the gaps. Don't try to push the grout into the gaps vertically, it won't pack it in there tightly. After you've got the grout in all of the spaces, stain the edges and underside of the coaster by rubbing the grout against them. (Alternatively, you can paint the edges and back after you're finished with the coaster.)
After you've finished grouting, wait about 10 minutes for the grout to become hazy on top of the tiles. Then, you can polish the tiles lightly with a paper towel. You can call the coaster finished now, or you can add some rubber pads to the bottom to protect surfaces that the coaster will lay on. Otherwise, you can continue with the instructions below to attach a cork backing. The HoneyDoo Powerbond will take a bit longer to cure, but the end result looks very professional.
|Cut the cork backing slightly smaller than your substrate|
While waiting for the grout to set up, cut the cork backing (you can find this at craft stores) by cutting it slightly smaller than your coaster (3-7/8"). After polishing your coaster, flip it over to the back side. Smear the HoneyDoo Powerbond glue in a thin layer around the entire surface of the cork backing, BUT stay at least 1/4" from the edges. While the glue is drying, it will expand slightly and fill in the gap.
|Spread HoneyDoo PowerBond on the back of the coaster substrate to attach the cork|
|Finished photo mosaic ready for gifting!|