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tutorial: Vintage Book Cover Coasters

Written By: Word Nerd - Dec• 07•11

Today’s craft is my favorite project that I have completed this year.  It is cheap, simple and adorable.  A set of these coasters would make a fantastic hostess gift, just tie the stack together with a festive ribbon and you are ready to impress!

You will need a stack of plain bathroom tiles.  These 4×4 tiles are available at any hardware/building supply store and cost about .20¢ each.  You will also need paint to match the tiles, decoupage glue, clear enamel spray, felt and adhesive for the felt.  The most expensive item is the enamel spray, which is about $8 a can.  I don’t know the exact numbers, but I’m estimating that you can do a boatload of these coasters with one can.  The cost per tile is negligible.

There is obviously something missing from this list…oh, yeah! The adorable Little Golden Books vintage cover art! The best way to get high quality art is to scan the covers of books in your collection.  What if you don’t have a collection of vintage LGB Christmas books?  Check out Library Thing for a vast selection of cover art uploaded by Library Thing users.

Drop your cover art into the publishing program of your choice and re-size it to fit your tiles. LGB’s re-size very nicely to a square, simply pull from the lower right corner until it is 4 inches wide, then “smoosh” from the bottom until it is 4 inches tall.  It does not leave you with a horribly distorted picture, unlike books that have a wider variance between length and width.

You might notice that the 4×4 tiles are really about 4.25×4.25.  I had already sized and printed my art when I noticed that, and I was willing to live with a little bit of the tile showing.  If you want edge to edge coverage, you will need to take that into account.

I have my covers printed with a color laser printer.  I put 4 on a page and it costs .25¢ per sheet to have them printed at my local Office Depot.  Did I mention this is a very inexpensive craft?

The first thing you will want to do is paint the edges of your tile.  You can see from the picture that I did not do this first, because I am special like that.  I painted mine to match the tile, but you could use an accent color or even paint some red and green stripes…just cover up those ugly raw edges.

Once the edges are dry, you need to make sure that the top of the tile is nice and clean.  Spread a generous dollop of decoupage glue on the tile and carefully add your cover art.  Use an old gift card to smooth down the paper and remove any bubbles.  In all honesty, I usually just use my fingers for decoupage, but it does not work well for this project! Save yourself the misery of trying to fix bubbled paper by just starting with the card.

The glue dries pretty quickly, so by time I finished the first glue on all four coasters, it was ready for the second glue.  Add a swirl of glue on top of the coaster and spread it all over the cover art, taking care to make sure all the edges are well covered.  I used the card for this step, too.

Once the second coat is dry, you can add the final coat of decoupage glue.  I put some little swirls in my final coat of glue.  It is near impossible (for me) to not have lines showing on my final project, so I might as well try to make them look pretty!

After the final layer of glue has dried, it is time to add the enamel spray.  I put mine on a tray covered with freezer paper. (Yes, you can see that it is a bathroom tray from a Ramada. No, I did not filch it from a Ramada.  I purchased a large stack of these for .10¢ each at a thrift store and I use them all the time.  They are definitely one of my favorite thrift store finds!)

I added two coats of enamel and let them dry overnight.  They seem to be very well sealed, but I may add another coat of enamel, just to be safe.  I don’t suppose they can be too protected.

After drying overnight, you are ready to glue the felt on the backs.  You can also use cork, but I had felt on hand, so felt won.  I originally used gold felt and cut squares slightly smaller than my tiles.  I quickly decided that I preferred the felt to match the tile and go all the way to the edges.

Apply a liberal amount of glue to the back of your tile.  Place the tile, glue side down, onto your piece of felt.  Allow the glue to dry, then cut around the tile for a perfect fit.  I used the hot glue gun, but in the future I think I will use a stronger adhesive, like E6000.

This looks much better than the gold felt that left a bit of tile showing.

Your coasters are now ready for use!

The pictures really don’t do them justice.  Teen Geek has already asked for a set of “normal” ones for use after the holidays.  (I  have vintage Sherlock Holmes covers printed and ready to go.)

I pulled art from several different Little Golden Books, and decided what to use after I printed them.  You can download the .pdf here, but please remember they are sized to 4×4, so they will leave a bit of tile showing.  Christmas Little Golden Books

What book covers would you most like to see on your coffee table?

Linking to these Merry Mensches

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18 comments on “tutorial: Vintage Book Cover Coasters

  1. I love this idea! So many possibilities to make a truly useful, personalized, affordable gift for all ages. I think I’ll see how it works with that no-slip shelf liner as a backing.

  2. Citlalli on said:

    Hi, visiting from lollipops cards

    love your idea, sounds like so much fun, and it’s an affordable and special gift!

    Happy wednesday!


  3. LaVoice on said:

    Wat a great, simple idea. I used to do a lot of things like this, but my eyes do not see that well anymore. You have done a very nice job on the coasters.

  4. sherika on said:


  5. Melanie on said:

    Cute! Thanks for linking to Things I’ve Done Thursday!

    Sew Rugged @ bear rabbit bear

  6. {oc cottage} on said:

    How cute!!!!

    m ^..^

  7. Pingback: 17 Holiday Gift Ideas!

  8. Great tutorial! thanks for sharing!

  9. these are awesome!!! i love them!

  10. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these!!! Great idea!

    Thanks for joining Make Yourself Monday!! :o)

    For Love of Cupcakes

  11. Great idea! I can see coasters made from vintage Jane Austen or Charles Dickens or Mark Twain covers for literature lovers!

  12. Natasha on said:


    Thanks for sharing on Serenity Saturday!
    Hope to see you there again tomorrow

    Natasha xxx

  13. Love the coasters and the tutorial is great. Off to the tile shop on MOn. Thanks for sharing

  14. I love your project…what a great gift idea I love the idea of pulling them out again next year and still loving them. I’ve got a linky party going on now, if you have some time – please come on over and link this up! Have a great Christmas!

  15. Pingback: Tutorial: Top 3 in 2011 « Word Up, Nerd Up

  16. Can you use regular photographs for this or does it have to be paper?

    • Word Nerd on said:

      Hi Monica- Yes, you can use regular photographs for this. The advantage to using a thicker paper is that you don’t have as many problems with wrinkles. The disadvantage is that it takes many, many layers of overcoat to get it secure and sealed.

      Remember that whatever you use, it absolutely cannot be from an inkjet printer. Inkjet will just run and make a mess with the decopauge glue.

      Good Luck!

  17. Paula Collins on said:

    Thanks for the Christmas coaster! I am going to attempt this one.

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