I've seen this coaster-making project in various forms on Pinterest but not quite this format. Most involve finding a single pretty paper or napkin or photo and then mounting that on a 4x4 tile. I wanted to try this quilting applique transfer method with paper first and--ta-da!--a new craft sensation.
The kids made 20 of them. Twenty. Ten each. It took the majority of an afternoon but they were insanely excited about it and only stopped because I made them clear the table for dinner. I have no pictures of them making their coasters but once August got in the game the camera came out. His were sent to his godparents, Cindy and PJ, and PJ didn't believe August did the work himself. Here it is:
The big kids used wax paper to trace the parts of some simple coloring book images and then cut those out (roughly) and glue-sticked them to the back of scrapbook paper. They then cut that out really carefully and peeled away the wax paper to have a sticker, basically. They assembled the "stickers" on a 4x4 background paper to recreate the image. Eventually we coated the ceramic tiles with some mod-podge (watered down Elmer's glue, basically) and centered the paper squares. Once I smoothed them out, the kids coated them with another layer of the mod-podge. Dry-repeat-dry-repeat-dry and then a layer of polyurethane which is more heat- and water-proof than the acrylic that most tutorials recommended. Dry-repeat-dry-repeat-dry. And then a square of felt hot-glued to the bottom.
Sounds tedious, but really it meant every 20 minutes I could say "ok, fine, yes, you can paint them again" and the kids would fight over the paint brushes. Then Katie helped me wipe on the poly one day around noon and again at 3 and again at 6 and they were done the next morning. She also helped roll the felt on as I put on the hot-glue. Decent little sweat shop worker, that one.
August didn't do the tracing and cutting routine. I have some fancy paper punchers that make trains and candles so he dictated which color to use for those. He also asked for a pine tree which I free-handed and tore a scrap of brown to make a trunk. And he requested a star, a heart, a wreath, and a present. Once I cut/punched them out and swiped them across the glue stick, he determined the positioning and smooshed them down. So trees are growing across presents and trains and candles are everywhere ("More candles! mmmmm......LELLOW! And..mmm....emee-see.....BlackTrain!")
Definitely a fun craft. And super cheap. I bought an insane amount of scrapbook paper on sale at Michael's along with some glossy-finish mod-podge and spent $20 and have over 1/2 of it left. The tiles per coaster were $0.13. Yes, thirteen cents. So $23 or so for the whole craft which made 6 personalized gifts. Hope you all like them!
[I'd wait to post this, but (a) I'll forget and (b) pretty much everyone should have gotten them in the mail by now and they're not wrapped up in boxes or anything so you'll have found them by now anyhow. Might as well explain what they are!]
[If you're considering doing this:
I recommend finding 1-2 background designs that you like in the 12x12 papers. Those obviously cut easily into 4x4 squares and give you 9 background tiles per sheet. If you do the 8x11 papers you'll only get 4 per sheet and have scraps. I also recommend using a somewhat mellow background so you can use very thin papers without it showing through. The thicker papers were ok but a little harder to cut and also bulky and lumpy on the coaster. Pick easy images. And the tiles are 4.25x 4.25 so a little will show around the edges. They came in blue, black, white and off-white so you can adjust to your preferences but white was about 1/2 the price of the colored options.]