Friday, November 24, 2017

DIY Geometric Tile Coasters

The holiday season will soon be here, and it's also summer in our part of the world so not only are there Christmas get-togethers, guests, and New Year's toasts, there are also summer celebrations, backyard BBQs, and cool bevvies a plenty.  With these DIY geometric tile coasters, we'll be looking snazzy and keeping our tables safe.

I had originally planned to use a single-piece hexagonal wall tile to make my coasters, which is super simple - just skip the tile bonding steps in the instructions below and go straight to the cork. Easy peasy!  Buuuuuut then I saw the three-piece illusion tiles. They were the perfect shades of grey for our home decor. They were different. They were on sale. I couldn't resist.  I ordered a sheet and while awaiting their arrival mulled how to join them securely. In the end, it was easier than I thought - no backing reinforcement needed, just a good strong epoxy bond.  Here's how I made them: 

To create your own, you with need suitably sized tiles, a clear-dry two part epoxy adhesive that can be used to create a strong solid (important: must be non-flexible) bond between tile segments, a clear-dry multi-surface/universal adhesive that can bond the tile and cork (can be flexible), cork sheet, and utility scissors. When selecting your epoxy adhesive for joining the tile segments, resist the urge for an ultra rapid set. It's better to give yourself a little flexibility on application and positioning.   Tip: If your tile isn't sealed or has a porous surface, you may want to seal your coasters with a tile sealer to avoid staining through use over time, especially if you are a little clumsy like me!

Before you start, set up a work area with suitable ventilation, and prep your creation station, including a flat work surface from which the tiles can be positioned to dry and still freely lifted just in case there is any epoxy on the bottoms (I used baking paper on a flat board surface), a mixing board for your epoxy (I used the finished side of some scrap cardboard), and a small applicator (I used toothpicks) for mixing and applying the two-part epoxy.  It is also helpful to have industrial wipes at the ready for any adhesive that pushes up between your tiles to the top surface.  I was a little slow fetching my wipes and have a a little bit of visible epoxy on the first coasters - boo!

  • Remove the tiles from their backing sheet.  Inspect for damaged pieces (I had several with chipped bottom corners - invisible on a tiles wall, but annoying on the side of a coaster). 
  • Lay out all of your tiles in groupings prior to starting your adhesive work. This will make it easier for adhesive application but also helps with a better looking coaster set.  Look for best fit (closeness of gaps, even corners) and, where possible, try to position any bottom chips inwards where they will be hidden under the cork backing of the finished coaster. 
  • Working incrementally, join the tile segments for each tile using non-flexible adhesive on the adjoining edges. Take care to align your corners and try to get a minimal gap at the joints. Try to avoid getting excess epoxy on the tops of your tiles and clean up quickly where needed. Allow to set securely. Important: Follow the preparation, application, and safety guidance on your chosen product.
  • Cut cork sheet into pieces to fit your tiles. To simplify getting a perfect fit, cut them as squares and trim after bonding. Tip: If you have self-adhesive cork (like mine) this will not be a strong enough bond for the rippled bottoms of your tiles. Use a universal adhesive product.
  • Working incrementally, glue the cork pieces to the back/bottom sides of your coasters.  Allow to set securely. Important: Follow the preparation, application, and safety guidance on your chosen product.
  • Trim the excess cork from the edges of your tile coasters.
  • Ensure that the adhesive bonds are all fully set/cured to your chosen products' recommended times before use.

Note: Not all tiles will be suitable for joining into shape. Some may have gaps intended for thick grout lines that affect alignment. Check before falling in love if you'd like to try creating coasters with a direct bond, like the coasters shown.   

Love the pretty flower and herb ice cubes? Green in Real Life has shared some delicious tips for flower, herb, and beverage combos as well as growing your own edible flowers.

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