Decoupage Coasters: How to Turn Cheesy Tourist Maps Into Travel Souvenir Gifts
This step-by-step tutorial shows you how easy it is to make meaningful, attractive gifts that capture cherished travel memories.
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An hour or less
Less than $20
A tangible snapshot of time and place, two-dimensional maps remind us of our three-dimensional explorations. Learn how easy it is to turn stone, ceramic or porcelain tiles into evocative drink coasters with tourist maps collected on your travels.
- Paper towel or rag
- Permanent ultra-fine point marker
- Craft or decoupage glue (glossy and dries clear)
- Self-adhesive furniture protection pads
Project step-by-step (8)
Trace the Tile
- Lay out the map on a table or other flat surface.
- Choose a section on the map and turn the tile right-side down over that area. If the map has grid lines, use them to align the tile so that it's straight.
- Grab a pencil and trace around the outer edges of the tile.
- Pro Tip: Instead of a map, you can decoupage the tile using museum stubs, train tickets, matchbook covers, bar napkins or hotel stationary — just about any paper memento will do! It's a great way to upcycle instead of throwing these items away.
Cut out the Map Section
- With the scissors, cut out the map along the pencil line. To keep the paper from rolling over the outer edges of the tile, leave about a 1/16-in border all the way around.
- Trim to fit, if needed.
Prepare the Tile
Adhere the Map to the Tile
- Center the map (printed side up) on the tile, starting at the top edge and working your way down.
- Smooth with your fingers, making sure the edges are good and stuck.
- Let dry a minute or two.
Seal the Coaster
This next step gives the coaster its glossy finish, as well as sealing and protecting it from damage.
- Apply a layer of glue on the top and sides of the tile.
- If large bubbles or wrinkles appear, work them out with your fingers.
- Repeat this step at least two more times, waiting 30 minutes between coats.
- Let dry overnight.
- Note: Most creases and bumps disappear after the glue has dried.
Add Stick-on Protective Pads
The pads prevent the coaster from sliding or scratching surfaces.
- Flip the coaster over and attach four self-adhesive felt furniture protection pads at each corner.
Sign and Date
- With an ultra-fine tip permanent marker, sign and date the back of the tile.
- Travel Expert Tip: For a creative touch, add an inspirational quote about the city or country you visited.
Your keepsake coaster is ready to use for your morning cup of coffee, evening glass of wine or as a one-of-a-kind gift.