I am completely obsessed with this next idea, and actually, just might go make these adorable coasters myself to have in our office! Also love the idea of making each bundle different, with modern graphic prints. GREAT way to add a pop to your decor.
Here is the play by play...
From the crafter...I think these favors are appropriate for our current economic situation. With each set of four coasters costing about one dollar (mine were a little less), I think it would be difficult to find favors for this price.
I was first inspired by glass coasters that Martha Stewart featured on her website. When I investigated these, however, each piece of glass was going to cost almost $7. I tried lots of ways to achieve the look without the cost, though this this was my final idea. Enjoy!
Home Improvement Store:
-Square ceramic tiles (mine were 16 cents each and 4 1/2" x 4 1/2", although you may find variations in sizes between stores)
Craft Store (Don't forget about the 40/50% off coupons! S ign up for the email list!)
-Decoupage glue, I used Mod Podge (or craft glue to dilute with water at a 1:1 ratio)
-Paper- can be scrapbook, cardstock, leftover invitations, monogrammed napkins, copies of love letters or song -Foam brushes
-Felt for backing coasters. You can use rolls of thin cork board, which will increase your cost slightly. Cork does make it easier to achieve a clean, professional look.
-Ribbon or raffia for tying, or small appropriately-sized boxes. Even paper cut into thin strips and glued.
-Waterproof acrylic sealer, in a spray or paint can
A note about what paper you choose:
You can order extra paper from your invitation supplier to make sure that your coasters coordinate. This way, they are clearly associated with your wedding. You can also stamp any logo you may be using onto your paper in waterproof ink. I kept mine black and white so they would match with most people's home decor, but there are so many amazing patterns available! Scrapbook paper comes in large packs that are all pre-coordinated, which takes the guesswork out of which papers to choose. Finally, you can choose to stamp directly onto your tile with an ink like Staz-On, which you can color with ceramic or glass paints and then cure. This would work especially well if you had a custom stamp made for your wedding.
1. Clean the tiles with alcohol to remove smudges/fingerprints. Be sure you're working on a non-stick surface like plastic or vinyl. The decoupage glue WILL stick to newspaper or cardstock! (That's it's intended purpose.)
Optional: The grooves on the sides of each tile can be sanded down. I like the way they look, though. They can be painted, or sponged with waterproof ink before adding your paper. They can be gold-leafed or covered in ribbon at the end of the process.
2. Cut your paper into squares 1/4" smaller than your tile. Have a stack of these cut to expedite the process.
3. Brush the tile with decoupage glue. Use a generous coat, since you want all parts of your paper to bond permanently. You must work quickly, as it begins drying immediately. Decoupage glue is NOT very forgiving!
4. Center your paper on the tile. Press the paper to the tile firmly, beginning in the middle and working your way outwards, eliminating air bubbles. Pay extra attention to the edges. These must adhere well, otherwise the paper will peel. Allow this layer to dry, 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Apply a layer of decoupage glue to the top of the paper. Make sure your brushstrokes are uniform and run in only one direction, as you will be able to see them (lightly) when the glue dries. Allow this layer to dry 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Brush another layer of decoupage glue over the coaster. You can make your brushstrokes in the same direction or the opposite direction (horizontally). The latter will produce a hatchmark effect.
7. Continue adding layers of decoupage glue until you are satisfied with the look. I used three. Then repeat the process of sealing with waterproof acrylic sealer, brushing on a layer and allowing it to dry. If using spray sealant, follow directions on the can. With either, make sure you are in a well ventilated area and you follow the precautions on the product! I wait at least one day before adding the sealer to make sure that my coasters are thoroughly dry. Each sealer has a different curing time; check yours for the appropriate number of hours/days it will take to dry.
8. When the coasters are completely sealed and dry, cut the felt to the appropriate size to match your tiles. Use the heavy-duty glue to affix the felt square to the bottom of the tile. Most heavy-duty glues require adequate ventilation! Again, be sure to follow manufacturer's directions and precautions. The same process applies to the use of rolled cork board. Wait a few days before packaging to make sure that the adhesive no longer has an odor.
9. Stack and package your coasters. Add a tag with a printed message, or place a larger poster-style message on the table where these will be displayed inviting guests to take a set. "Next drink's on us!" or some variant of "Coasting through marriage." A cute or humorous set of instructions would also work.
Alternate ideas/Additional Considerations:
*These look beautiful when they are placed in a grid arrangement next to each other, especially when arranged in the pattern of the original paper. These can be used as a part of your table centerpieces if they are placed under a flower or other arrangement. They would look amazing used as a runner down the center of a long table. You can leave a note for guests instructing them to help themselves to their favorite four if you choose to display them this way.
* Each set doesn't have to be identical! It actually looks even cuter if you mix and match!
* Consider making each coaster one letter of a four letter word, like LOVE or LIFE. You can use die cuts or stickers over paper.
* Tiles are available in larger and smaller sizes, as is paper. I saw 16", 12", 8" and 6" square tiles. The same process can be used to personalize these, which can be incorporated into other areas of your wedding.
* Consider punching paper with various punches to create an eyelet or papel picado look. Some scrapbook paper is cut to look like lace.
* Many craft stores sell rub-on images and letters that can be applied to the tiles and then sealed.
* Don't forget the elements that personalize the coasters. Use monogrammed initials, stickers, etc. to ensure that they are a coordinating part of your day.
* If you don't love the unfinished edges, the paper or fabric can be cut long enough to cover the edges. Just fold the paper/fabric over the edges and tuck under the bottom side of the tile. The felt or cork will cover the rough edges.