7. Handmade Ceramic Coasters

Over Christmas I saw a tutorial as a guest post on a couponing blog that I follow. I have been putting off trying these out even though I thought they were super cute. So, since I am making an effort to actually do all of these things that have been on my to-do list, I thought this would be a fun one to do. This project requires very few materials and was relatively easy to make.

Materials

Materials:

4 – 4.5 inch ceramic tiles. You can get these at your local home store, at my local Home Depot I found them in a section for back splashes and floor tiles.
1 – sheet of scrapbook paper. These mostly come in 12×12 sheets, so one full sheet will yield nine squares, enough for two sets of coaster if you buy enough tiles.
1 – small foam brush. I tried to find these at my local Michael’s but wasn’t having much luck finding them individually, but I was able to get on at Home Depot.
1 – ruler. I ended up using this to flatten the sheets as well, so a rigid ruler is probably best.
Mod Podge. This is a water based sealer, glue and finished that can be used in a lot of different types of projects. It was a bit of an initial investment, but a little bit seems to go a long way.

Step One:
Flip the scrapbook paper over and measure out 3 and 3/4 inch squares out with the ruler. I am terrible at drawing a straight line with a ruler (maybe that is something I can learn this year), so I made has marks at 3 and 3/4, 7 and 1/2 and 11 and 1/4 inches in three different spots along the paper. Then you can line up the ruler along the three points and get a nice straight line. Repeat this along the opposite side and you will have a perfect grid and you can cut right along the line.

Scrapbook Paper Grid

Step Two:
Cut along the grid and set aside four of the squares for the first set.

Step Three:
Apply the Mod Podge to the back of one square in a thin layer. Apply the square to the tile, leaving an even border around the square. If you don’t get it perfect the first time don’t panic, there is a little bit of leeway for centering the paper onto the tile, but you need to work quickly. When you are laying it on the tile try to do it evenly, to minimize air bubbles.

Attach the Scrapbook paper

Step Four:
Once you have it in place you will still have a few air bubbles so flatten the paper out and make sure all the air bubbles are out. I found it much less messy to use the ruler edge to straighten it out. Let the paper dry completely. Completely. The first attempt I got impatient and tried to do the next steps too quickly. This shifted the paper too much and I got brand new air bubbles. So learn from my mistake and let it dry completely. All the way. 100%. You get the point.

Step Four:
Once the paper has dried to the tile, you want to apply a layer of Mod Podge right over the top of the paper and tile. You want to make sure to coat the glue evenly and in thin layers. Don’t worry about going over the edges a little, it is better than not getting all the way to the edge because it will cause a rough texture around the corners. Also, don’t freak out! It will look like that Mod Podge is not going to dry completely clear, but it does, you just need to give it time. Repeat this three to four times so your coasters get a nice seal on them.

Seal the Fronts

Step Five:
Wrap the coaster in a cute decorative ribbon and give them as a gift, or set them on the coffee table and start using them. You can wash these by hand, but don’t put them in the dishwasher.

Finished Product

Additional ideas:
1. Add felt feet to the bottom if they will be used on sensitive surfaces like glass.
2. Add an acrylic tile sealant to make them even more waterproof for heavy-duty use.
3. I am excited to try making these with photos instead of scrapbook paper, I just need to go out and take some photos that will look good cropped into squares.

Let me know how your coasters turned out in the comments. These were fun, and really easy to make and I look forward to making more sets as gifts for friends and family.

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1. How to make three stone drop ring earrings

Last year I started to dip my toe into crafts and DIY, trying to decorate and maintain our new house, but on a very limited budget. Every time I went to Michael’s to pick up craft supplies, however, I always had a hard time pulling myself away from the huge wall of beads. As many people who know me can attest, I like anything that is organized and color coordinated, so the jewelery making section there is right up my alley. Unfortunately, I have never really experimented with jewelery making, and the few books I had looked at were very overwhelming with all the supplies that you need to get started. I finally decided while in the store yesterday that it was time to take the leap and make a small investment and try some things out. I initially had this project from Michael’s in mind, but I couldn’t find a similar bead, and the basic bare bones instructions were overwhelming for me as a first timer. So naturally, I did what I think I will probably end up doing a lot this year, and winged it. I wanted to start out with just the basics to see whether or not I could even pull it off, so for a little over $10 including excess supplies, here is how it went:

Materials:

Earrings-Materials

2 Ear Wires
6 Jump rings (I used the smallest, but they have several sizes if you want more spacing or have larger beads.)
6 Beads of your choice, pictured are 10mm amethyst wire wrap glass
*Note: For this particular method, it is probably best to use beads that can be attached directly to the rings, rather than threaded, unless you are more familiar with using wire.
1 pair of pliers small enough to work with opening and closing the drops rings of your choice

Once I got all of the materials together, I found it was much easier to figure out how to put the whole thing together once I laid it out and got a feel for the finished product.

Design Layout

Steps:

Start by opening one of the drop rings where the ends meet. This is probably easiest with two pliers to pull in opposite directions. I only had one pair of pliers so I closed the nose of the pliers, stuck it in the ring and slowly opened the pliers until there was enough space in the drop ring. You don’t want to open the ring too wide, especially if they are smaller, because it will make it harder to close without your beads falling off.

On the first ring put the ear wire and your first bead in the opening of the ring. The least frustrating way I found to do that was to hold the bottom of the ring (opposite the open end) with the pliers, then put the beads onto the ring by hand.

Open Drop Circle

Now that your beads are on the ring, use the pliers to close the ring. Make sure it is closed well enough that the beads won’t fall off.

Open the second drop ring and attach the first bead to a second bead. If your beads have a front and a back (like the Michael’s project for example), make sure you place them onto the ring so that the beads will be facing the correct direction. Repeat this with the third ring and attach the third bead. Of course, if you have smaller beads or want longer earrings, just continue attaching them with the rings until you like how they look. Here is the final product:

Finished-Earrings

Finished-Earring_worn

Do you have experience making earrings? Feel free to share your favorite projects, tips, tricks and can’t live without tools. I definitely want to try working with wire and maybe a jig. Let me know what you think!

Thank you to Moon Stars and PaperBeads for the featured image.