The other day I was casting about our living room looking for a place to put a dripping glass of ice water. When I set the glass on the floor because I was worried about marring the surface of the teak end table, I realized there was a problem that needed fixing. So I started daydreaming (as one does) about making some coasters. Practicality was the initial motivator for this project, but it was when I started thinking about quirky little pieces of art scattered around the room that I began to get excited. These (functional) little portraits were easy and inexpensive to make, and are making me super happy!
I downloaded the portraits from the National Gallery of Art, which has images that are in the public domain and available for free download and public use. I had a lot of fun browsing the collections, and my brain is now teeming with ideas for other projects using this resource. I liked the idea of mixing the portraits with a floral print, so I also used some of the Rifle Paper Co. gift wrap leftover from my hutch project.
These took less than two hours – plus drying time – to make (though I think it would go faster now that I’ve done some troubleshooting and if I weren’t constantly stopping to take photos for the blog). I had most of the supplies on hand, but even the ones I had to buy (Mod Podge and cork) were inexpensive and easy to find at our local craft store.
- Printouts of images – I used Microsoft Word to make each image 4″x 4″ and to put them in a grid of four
- Mod Podge
- Foam brush
- Cork Board ($3.99 a sheet, I used three sheets to make about 35 coasters)
- Utility knife, ruler, and a cutting surface
Step One: Cut the white space off of your printouts (but leave them in their grid). Apply Mod Podge to the back of your paper and also the cork board. Use your fingers to spread out any wrinkles or bubbles and allow to dry completely (I left mine to dry overnight).
Step Two: Use your utility knife and straight edge to cut off the excess cork and then to cut your images into individual squares. Make sure your blade is super sharp or it will tear the edge of your paper!
Step Four: Apply Mod Podge to the edges and top of your images. Allow to dry completely (I left mine for a couple of hours).
And that’s it! Seriously simple, and I love how they turned out!
That high-browed profile of the 15th century Franco-Flemish Lady is really giving me a lot of joy. I’m planning to give some of these away, so I made a couple stacks and tied them together with baker’s twine. These would make a great holiday or thank you gift!
I will definitely make these again. The top coat of Mod Podge seemed to give them a good seal, but if they do get ruined fast I might try applying a spray-on sealant the next time I make them (if I do, I’ll make sure to update here). I also think it would be fun to paint the edges of the cork in a bright color – it would probably work best to do it before applying the top coat of Mod Podge so the glue doesn’t repel the paint.
And lest you think I’m not giving these puppies a thorough testing, worry not! This glass of wine and I are putting them through their paces, and so far so good.