Tutorial: Comic Book Coasters

Coasters serve a functional purpose out in the open in your home. Sure my coffee table is a piece of crap from Ikea, but that doesn’t mean I want to encourage the black paint to bubble and peel off the particle board.

I not only wanted to give the illusion of standards in my living room but I also wanted to add a little personalized nerd flair to everyday function by making my own coasters out of comic books and tiles. So were Comic Book Coasters born!

Welcome Home, Nerd - DIY: Comic Book Coasters

I saw a number of tutorials online about glued paper on small objects and then called coasters… followed by unsettling footnotes about the coasters not being waterproof. Um… not sure what other people do with their coasters but I tend to get them a little damp.

Eventually I found a recipe for super lacquer made from mixing various chemicals together. I like to be able to do my projects while slightly intoxicated so that wasn’t going to work out.

Some of the tutorials I found recommended using just Mod Podge.

Note: Mod Podge is water based and therefore not really waterproof no matter how durable it seems. If you plan to have the coaster coated in liquid repeatedly, you should seal it with a clear outdoor sealer.

Enough of that. Onward to some DIY for the geeks!



Comic Book Coasters Tutorial

Welcome Home, Nerd - DIY: Comic Book Coasters


  • Comics you don’t mind cutting up
  • Tiles, the 4×4 bathroom kind – I used tumbled marble because I like the chunky look. Make sure they’re not broken, they ruggedness of the tile hide cracks well and you might end up with a broken tile or two.
  • Mod Podge Gloss
  • Acrylic Sealer
  • Waterproofing product – I use Minwax Helmsman spray but you have choices.
  • Craft knife
  • Foam brushes
  • Ruler
  • Pen, pencil, or other writing too to mark out the four square inch (or less… or more) area you plan to cut and paste
  • Craft paper or newsprint to protect your surface

STEP ONE: set yourself up for success

  • Dust off the tiles; use a damp cloth if necessary.
  • Determine if you want a border or if you want the square to just go to the edge, or if you want to put in the work and have the image wrap around the sides

Welcome Home, Nerd - DIY: Comic Book CoastersSTEP TWO: commit to a square

  • Choose your scene
  • Frame it up based on your edge preferences. I made a frame from some craft paper to help me isolate my scene and see it cut off from the rest of the page. (Make sure there isn’t something more amazing on the back)
  • Cut it out.
  • If you’re making a set of coasters, cut all your images out before you start so you don’t have to stop and start repeatedly.

STEP THREE: painting and gluing

  • Welcome Home, Nerd - DIY: Comic Book CoastersUsing your foam brush spread a thin layer of Mod Podge over the surface of the tile. Too much glue will make the paper soggy and wrinkly.
  • Working quickly, position your image square so it’s straight and has an even amount of space showing or not showing on all sides.
  • Welcome Home, Nerd - DIY: Comic Book CoastersSmooth the image from the center to the edges to get rid of any air bubbles. I like to push the paper into dips and dents so it really molds to the stone.
  • Wait about ten to fifteen minutes.
  • Now, spread a thin layer of Mod Podge over the surface and down the sides.
  • Wait about ten to fifteen minutes.Welcome Home, Nerd - DIY: Comic Book Coasters
  • Spread another thin layer and wait some more.
  • I like to do this a few times because I think of it as closing the gap between the paper and the tile surface. And I’m paranoid.

STEP FOUR: seal it upWelcome Home, Nerd - DIY: Comic Book Coasters

  • Following the instructions on your acrylic sealer, spray your coaster(s).
  • Wait for them to dry (should be about ten to fifteen minutes).
  • Finally, finish with your waterproofing product. This can be a spray on like the one I use, or maybe a paintable liquid polyurethane.
  • Wait. This is usually at least 12 hours to ensure it’s thoroughly dry – It should not be tacky at all.

Welcome Home, Nerd - DIY: Comic Book CoastersSTEP FIVE: enjoy

  • Seriously, hang out and have a drink. I’ve been drinking this whole time…

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