I’ve never been a big project person. Not because I don’t like doing them, mind you. It’s likely that it has something to do with my lack of patience. With people, I’m patient. With objects, not so much. I want things to be done yesterday.
Even when I read a book, I have to read it as quickly as possible. If it’s not finished fast enough, I give up on it.
It’s not a trait I’m proud of.
Lately, the crafty-let’s-make-things bug took a big bite out of me, so I’ve started taking on projects. Projects with things that have steps. And have to dry and set and…
I’m learning patience, ya’ll.
One of my latest endeavours was to create coasters for the new geeky man cave I created for the hubs. (That project will be posted next week. Settle down.) I wanted something geeky, and I wanted something that wasn’t going to cost me a fortune, so that is when I decided that I should just make them.
Warning: I liked how these came out so much, don’t be surprised if I ever gift you a set of coasters.
Tiles (4 x 4)
Felt feet for the bottoms
Pour on Resin/Hardener (these are sold together in a kit)
3 disposable plastic cups
a paint stirrer or popsicle stick
Before you begin, make sure you have a clean work surface. If working under a light fixture or vent that hasn’t been dusted in ages, you might want to take care of that well before you begin. You don’t need extra floaties in the air when you are pouring the resin.
For the coaster based, I used white ceramic tiles. I liked the look of black ones, and even some stone ones, but I was trying to do this project on the super cheap, and white ceramic tiles were .10 each at Home Depot. Yeah. Ten cents. Buy extra just in case you drop a couple, or make mistakes in the process.
Pick out the photos you wish to turn into coasters. Remember that whatever you choose has to be “cropped” or cut down to just smaller than the tile, so I recommend working with 4 x 6 prints. I did a google search of some of my hubs’ favorite games, then resized the images in photoshop and sent them off to the local drugstore to be printed. Cost about .17 a print.
If you choose to use online images, you’ll have to be sure to choose images that don’t get to pixelated when you resize them. If you are using actual photographs, that won’t be an issue at this size.
Once your photos are cut down to size, glue them to the tiles. I recommend a simple glue stick. Super cheap from just about any store, and you can avoid the mess of squishing too much out of the sides. Be sure to smooth the picture out nicely so you don’t end up with any weird ripples on your coaster.
Now, this is the part that gets a little tricky. Whatever resin you choose to purchase, read the instructions prior to starting and prepare yourself to follow them exactly. Most will require that you pour the resin in one cup, the hardener in the other, in identical amounts. You will then pour one into the other (it specifies which gets poured) and stir for exactly two minutes. It even tells you how to stir. This is where a popsicle stick would be great. I didn’t have one, so I cut a piece of stiff cardboard.
After the two minute stir, you then pour the mixture into another clean cup and stir for two more minutes. Then you are ready to pour. You pour the mixture in the center and allow it to spread, aiding it when necessary with the popsicle stick. Don’t push down on it, don’t try to thin it. (No step by step photos here. This stuff sets quickly, so you have to move.)
About 15 minutes after pouring, watch for air bubbles to rise. I kept checking for the first 45 minutes in 10 minute intervals. When you see air bubbles, breathe on them gently. The CO2 you expel removes the bubbles!
It takes 8 hours to “dry” but it is still very tacky at this point. Be sure the project is in a place where you won’t have to move it for 72 hours, the full amount needed to cure. If you must move them for some reason (say, because you accidentally glued them to the table…) then do not touch the tops.
Now, here is where you can learn from a few mistakes I made:
- Watch how much resin falls down the sides and gently wipe it. Check back a few times and repeat. I didn’t do this. My coasters stuck to the stack of paper towels they were sitting on. It was not pretty. I still need to sand the edges of hardened paper towel off.
- Remember the dusting recommendation I made? My dining room light dropped a few little particles so I got a few tiny flecks on my coasters.
- Be sure that whatever you place underneath the coasters is thick. I thought my pile of paper towels would suffice. I ended up with coasters stuck to not only the paper towels, but the table underneath (it soaked through). Have rubbing alcohol on hand. It will help in clean up. If things are fully cured, you’ll be out of luck without heavy duty chemicals.
- If you have long hair PULL IT BACK. You don’t need to get your hair in this stuff, or this stuff in your hair. Particularly important when you are close to the tiles blowing on the bubbles.
- Don’t wear your good clothes. Just in case.
- Put the felt feet on LAST. I put them on at the beginning, so some of them got stuck in the goo and had to be replaced.
Despite my mistakes and being slightly unprepared in the supply department (I had to use some disposable tupperware and a sippy cup along with my cardboard stirrer) the coasters came out really nicely.
Cost of the project? At .10 per tile, .17 per photo print, and using only about 1/5 of the resin (full kit price was $23):
$6.22 for six coasters. Just over $1 a coaster.
I now have grand plans for custom coasters for friends – and maybe even some bigger projects involving the resin. I’m thinking shiny countertops may be in my future.
Have you tried any new and budget friendly projects lately?