Mom and kids painting coasters for Father's Day

Dads are hard to buy gifts for. Give him something handcrafted he’ll love and actually use by making and painting Father’s Day-themed coasters for him. This is an easy and fun project for mom and the kids to take on and it can be done in a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon — even the one just before Father’s Day.

  • Step 1: Get Creative

    Arguably, the hardest part of this project is coming up with a design you think will appeal to Dad and one with which you are happy. If you don’t have something in mind, search Internet sites for great ideas. Sketch your ideas out on a piece of paper to make sure your design will work with the size of a coaster. You don’t want to have to scrap it and start over.

    Kids have favorite colors and have no doubt asked Dad what his are. Choose a paint color or combination of colors that reflect this. Or think outside the box by painting coasters with metallic paint in rust, antique metal, gold or copper.

    Paint images on the coaster with a Father’s Day theme, such as sports, fishing or any other activity Dad likes. Use words or images to create a pattern or a simple motif, such as “Daddy” spelled out, one letter on each tile. For precision, consider using stencils to create shapes and letters.

    You also can add other features when making your coasters besides paint, or in addition to it, such as photos or other images, using the decoupage technique. Decoupage is an artistic method of pasting images you’ve cut out and collected onto a surface, not unlike a collage. Print out pictures of family members to stick on the coasters or find images in books, magazines and postcards that you think Dad would like or gather images from the Internet. Just cut out and trim images to fit with scissors.

  • Step 2: Choose Materials

    There are a few ways you can create the coasters themselves. Some people repurpose old CDs or DVDs or paint over existing coasters. This particular how-to will use coaster-sized (4” x 4”) ceramic tile. You don’t need to purchase a whole box, but get a few. Common coaster sets usually contain at least four coasters. So, you want to have at least that many and then a few extra just in case you make mistakes and need to restart. If you already have colors you want to use in mind, look for coasters close to that color so when you paint them, you won’t have to worry about separate coats and coverage. You also can start with simple white tiles.

    Also purchase a roll or pieces of felt fabric for use on the bottom of your coasters. You will cut the fabric to fit each tile.

  • Step 3: Paint Coasters

    Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer

    Find a suitable workplace, such as a worktable in the garage or the kitchen table. If you’ll be using your kitchen table, remember to first cover it and the floor with newspaper or plastic sheeting to protect it from paint spills. Before you paint, use a fine-grit sandpaper to roughen the surface of each tile so that primer/paint will adhere effectively. Clean the tile thoroughly with a slightly damp, lint-free cloth. This will remove all sanding dust, but it will also reveal any areas that you missed. Look for glossy patches. If necessary, re-sand the glossy patches

    Safety Alert!

    Always wear protective gloves, safety goggles and a dust mask when sanding.

    Apply a primer suitable for ceramic tiles, such as Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer. Be sure to follow all manufacturer’s directions when applying. Then paint coasters in the color of your choice, using True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Paint. This high-quality paint will allow you to skip priming and save you time if you don’t want to tackle the extra step. A semi-gloss or gloss finish is ideal for painting on ceramic tile. Use a small brush to apply the paint and let it dry completely before adding decorative features or new paint.

  • Step 4: Apply Decoration

    small paintbrush

    Apply any lettering on the tiles, using paint and a stencil, or do it freehand. If you’re using stencils, tape them down securely with a piece of painter’s tape in each corner so that they won’t move or let paint bleed underneath, marring your work.

    Paint within stencils with a small paintbrush and EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Paint. Fill just the tip of the brush with paint and lightly stamp into the cut-out area of the stencil, making sure that you paint a little bit over the cut-out edges so that you create a crisp outline of the stencil image. Once you’ve filled in a stencil with paint, carefully pull the stencil away from the tile. If you didn’t achieve the results you wanted, wipe away the paint quickly with a rag and start over. Repeat the process until you’re satisfied with the results. Continue in this fashion until you’ve completed your design.

    You can also stencil your design or letters on paper and then cut out and paste the piece of paper onto the tile. This same process would work for photos as well. Crop or resize images using a photo editing program on your computer so that the images will fit on the tile. You can also use the software to superimpose text on your images, such as “Happy Father’s Day!” Print out the images onto regular copy paper or another type of stationary such as tissue paper, or decorative paper stock, depending on how you want the finished coasters to look.

    Helpful Tip

    When printing on tissue paper, tape it to a piece of regular printer paper so that the tissue paper doesn’t get crumpled in the printer.

    You can attach your images to the tile using a clear, brush-on or spray adhesive. There are a number of craft glue options available for use. Choose one that glues, finishes and seals and can cover the entire surface of the tile. Simply place your trimmed image on the coaster and brush or sponge the glue over the entire front surface of the tile. You may need to do a couple of coats. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on drying times, application, etc.

    If you want extra protection, you may also apply an acrylic sealant to preserve your work and make the coaster last. Remember, sweaty glasses and hot cups will be sitting on them. Apply the sealant following all manufacturer instructions and allow it to dry for the prescribed time.

  • Step 5: Apply Felt Backing

    utility knife

    Cut felt pieces to size by placing a tile on the felt fabric and cut along the edges of the tile, using a craft knife or utility knife, with the help of an adult. Trim off excess fabric so that the felt fits perfectly on the bottom of the tile. Attach the felt to the bottom of the tile using an adhesive appropriate for use with felt or fabric, such as felt glue or fabric glue. After finishing the application of glue, carefully place each tile (felt-side down) on a table and place a weight of some kind on the top of each tile to ensure a good bond.

    Helpful Tip

    Remember to put down some plastic sheeting on the table so that any excess glue doesn’t stick to or otherwise mar your table.

    That’s it! Happy Father’s Day. Here’s to Dad enjoying his new coasters.

Project Shopping List

Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.