My first Mod Podge coasters – tutorial

I was thinking about where and how else to apply the surface patterns my husband and I are having fun with creating other than using it for fabric. Thought it could be fun on a simple melamine tray, or on a glass vase, or maybe a cute little box, or coasters. And what better first project could there be than some coasters with our own patterns, employing the help of the apparently ever useful Mod Podge….

Here is what you need all at one glance – except for the pretty paper and the coasters and sandpaper… and no need for two brayers. I just thought the first one was too small in proportion to the other objects, thus drew a second one.

This is an easy and fun project, but I tend to like forgetting that everything you do for the first time does have a learning curve, and that it just takes some practice and patience…  Had I not forgotten that, I would have spared myself some initial frustration, when the project did not go as smoothly and quickly as I initially thought. So I don’t want to talk anyone out of decoupaging, just a gentle reminder that the first time around might take you a little longer than you thought.

When looking for Mod Podging or decoupage problem solutions – like the paper bubbling like crazy – you’ll find different solutions, and it seems that some solutions work for some people, but not for others. So here again you might have to play around a bit with which solution actually works best for you.

This is the pattern collection that inspired me for the coasters

What you’ll need:
Coasters (can also be tiles)
Mod Podge
Clear acrylic spray
Foam brush or regular brush
X-acto knife
Paper towel
Spray bottle with water
Brayer (optional)
Sandpaper #400


  1. Start with cutting the paper the size of the coaster with an x-acto knife. My coasters had uneven corners, so I first cut out a square, then placed the coaster on top of the paper and marked the exact curve of each corner, then cut accordingly. Since all four were different, I marked the upper left corner on paper and coaster to make sure they would match again later.
  2. Spray your paper from the back lightly with water and distribute evenly with paper towel to avoid bubbles later on. If you have thicker scrap book paper you might not need this. Also for thinner paper you might find that you like it or you might prefer spraying it with clear acrylic and letting it dry before Mod Podging to avoid bubbles. I like to reduce the use of the rather toxic acrylic spray, thus I only tried the water method and really liked it.
  3. Apply a medium layer of Mod Podge on the coaster (matt, glossy, super glossy, whatever you like best, I used matt) . I used a sponge brush, trying to reduce the effect of brush strokes. coaster-mp
  4. Place paper on top making sure to match the corners. Smooth out and press down, I like using a paper towel wrapped around my finger for this. Check the corners, if one of them lifts up, just add a little more Mod Podge, and wipe off excess. If there still are a few bubbles, don’t worry, they should even out with drying.
  5. Let dry for 15-20 minutes. This is really important to avoid bubbles. Then add medium layer of Mod Podge on top of the paper. It will look opaque and you might wonder how it will end up looking, but it gets completely clear when drying.coaster2-mp
    Apply 2-3 coats (I did 3), each time waiting 15-20 minutes in between. If you don’t like the brush strokes, use #400 sandpaper and smooth between layers, spraying the sand paper lightly with water. But careful, don’t be too strong in using the sandpaper, especially when sanding the first layer, since it might go through to the paper and mess things up – I am speaking from experience here…
  6. Since I want the coasters to be fully water resistant, I recommend spraying them with acrylic spray. I used one from the hard wear store, since they are cheaper there than at craft stores. Spray 2-3 layers outside or in the garage, or with wide open windows, waiting about 15min between each layer.
  7. Wait again! Yes, I know, not again, but I would recommend to wait using the coasters for 3 days. Crafter’s impatient hearts might cry out against this monstrosity, but the heart bleeding if the project were going to be ruined by using the coasters too early might be harder to bare than yet another round of waiting….
On the right upper coaster you’ll see the 2 white spots I got by using the sandpaper somewhat too much… Should have tried a sly camouflage move by placing the glass on those spots!

Hope you have fun!


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