I have been on the hunt for a set of coasters for most of the summer. Almost all of our furniture is wood and during the summer our drinks sweat a lot. I have found a few that would be nice, but none of the ones I found were really that interesting. I wanted something unique and something that popped. It is all about the accessories, right? One day I was sitting at our counter and noticed that the tile pieces of our backsplash were the perfect size for a coaster. I liked that idea, because they would be one of a kind and also there are many great stone surfaces that I could use. As I thought about it more the idea evolved into wondering if I could use small glass tile squares! Now that would be really interesting. The only reason I figured it may not work would be because of the grout not being able to hold it together. After a little more thought, planning, and a trip to the local Home Depot, I was ready to start.
Okay. Here we go.
- glass tile (1 foot square)
- grout (water proof or not, your choice/color your choice too)
- sponge (preferrably a grout sponge)
- utility knife or scissors
- cutting surface
- cork with adhesive on one side (I found this at Home Depot in the Organization section)
(1) Using a glass that you will use on your coaster, measure to make sure that your coaster will be large enough and your glass isn’t hanging over the side. Cut the glass tiles out of the sheet of tile (mine were four by four tiles). The tiles are held together with a kind of mesh. Once you have your four by four tile square you will need to clean up the bottom edges where the mesh will be sticking out I used a utility knife and scissors to trim it back so it wasn’t poking out from under the glass tiles. (picture 3)
(2) Cut a piece of cork and adhere it to the bottom of the tiles. I cut my cork a little smaller than the actual width and height of the glass tiles. I did this because I didn’t want to see the cork when it is on a table and it gives the impression of the glass tile coaster being elevated off the surface. At least in my head.
(3) Push grout into the openings between the tiles. Make sure that you have a scrap piece of paper underneath your tile and begin spreading grout over the surface. You can use grout tools to do this, but I found it easier to just use my fingers. Your fingers are able to push the grout down into the openings between the tiles easier and you don’t have as much pressure being put on the tiles, which makes them slide around. Make sure you go over the surface a few times so all of the openings are full of grout. I cleaned up the sides a little here just so the grout isn’t bulging out the sides (not pictured).
(4) Let it sit for a few minutes and with a slightly damp sponge gently go over the surface of the tiles to clean up the grout. I go very gently here as I don’t want to put too much side pressure on the corner tiles. Rinse out the sponge and repeat this a few more times or until there is only a slight haze on the tiles surface. Don’t worry about the sides or the haze as were will clean it up more once the grout has had time to dry.
(5) Read the direction on the grout that you have used and see how long you need to let it dry. Mine was twenty four hours. Once that time has passed I use my utility knife and I clean up the sides where grout has pushed out. I curved the grout line back beneath the edge of the glass as I feel it gives it a better appearance than being flush on the side. Then using a slight damp cloth wipe the entire glass surface, top and sides. This will clean up the haze and the specks of grout that you may have missed with the sponge. If you have let it sit for the correct amount of time then you should be able to use a little muscle to clean them.
(6) Once the glass tile is all clean there is only one thing to do, and that is make yourself a drink and use it!
You can use waterproof grout or you can seal the grout if you want, but I am not necessarily convinced that this should matter. Unless you spill something with color on the coaster the only thing touching the grout would be condensation. I guess this it up to you. I would be gentle with them initially to make sure the grout is completely dry, but I think they will withstand quite a bit of good use.
I was able to make nine coasters with the single foot of glass tile that I bought. I did buy another piece, but I have not yet begun working on them. I am looking forward to having people over and see what kind of reaction I get from them. I think they will be quite a conversation piece. I definitely plan on making a few of these for a few friends. Feel free to drop me a note in the comments if I was unclear on any part of the description and I will be happy to answer your questions.