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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Next Project
Time

An hour or less

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

Less than $20

Introduction

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.


Tools Required

  • Paintbrush
  • Paper towel or rag
  • Pencil
  • Permanent ultra-fine point marker
  • Scissors

Materials Required

  • Craft or decoupage glue (glossy and dries clear)
  • Map
  • Self-adhesive furniture protection pads
  • Tile

Project step-by-step (8)

Step 1

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.

travel map tracing with coasterToni DeBella for Family Handyman

Step 2

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.

cut out mapToni DeBella for Family Handyman

Step 3

Prepare the Tile

painting glue on tileToni DeBella for Family Handyman

Step 4

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.

gluing map on tile craftToni DeBella for Family Handyman

Step 5

Affix the City Name

  • While the glue is drying, find the destination's name on the map.
  • Cut closely around the letters to create a banner-like effect.
  • Glue the name anywhere on the tile.

gluing name on map tileToni DeBella for Family Handyman

Step 6

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.

seal coaster with glueToni DeBella for Family Handyman

Step 7

Add Stick-on Protective Pads

The pads prevent the coaster from sliding or scratching surfaces.

attach stick pads on tileToni DeBella for Family Handyman

Step 8

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.

sign name on back of coaster