Polaroid Coasters

Remember back in the day when you used to print out your photos?  From a roll of film?  If you were anything like me, you would beg your parents to take you to the drugstore to get them developed, proudly drop off your roll of film and then wait a few anxious days to pick up your envelope of mystery photos.  After examining each photo for an hour (on your awesome blue shag carpet), you would put all of them in your funky photo album to show off to your friends at the next slumber party.  Or was that last part just me?

Although we are huge fans of all the different ways you can share photos online, we feel like the novelty of printing personal pictures has been lost a little.  Fortunately we have a fun, creative remedy for that: Polaroid coasters! This craft is the perfect way to share your memories with guests (or yourself) and decorate your coffee table or desk.  Best of all, these are super cheap and easy to make, which equals two granny thumbs up in our books.  Let’s get started!


  • Mod Podge matte (available at most craft stores)
  • Mod Podge super hi-shine clear acrylic sealer
  • 4x4 white tiles (we bought ours at Home Depot for 82 cents a tile - they were labeled in the store as 4x4 but they are advertised online as 4-1/4x4-1/4 - these still work)
  • Adhesive felt circle pads (we bought ours at Home Depot)
  • 4x6 printed photos (we printed ours at CVS for 19 cents a picture)
  • Sponge brushes
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Optional: Super fine sand paper (200)


There are two different ways to do this project, one version is for Photoshop users and the other is for those of you who don’t own Photoshop.  Everyone gets to play!

1.  First you need to give your photos that "Polaroid vintage" look.  There are a ton of apps on your phone that will do the trick, or you can use this website.  PicMonkey also has some great filters.

2.  Once you have your photos edited there are two options:

For Photoshop owners:
  • We created a Polaroid file that is perfectly sized to fit a 4x4 tile.  You can download it here.
  • Once you've downloaded the file, open it in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.  Insert your photo into the Polaroid frame and save it as a jpg.  They've been sized to 4x6 photos so you can get them devolped as regular prints at your local print shop/drugstore.
For Non-Photoshop users:
  • Have your edited photos printed on regular 4x6 photo paper.  Choose what part of the photo you want to use and trim your image to these dimensions: Width 3.25 inches x Height 3.75 inches.

3.  Take one of your pictures and paint a thin coat of the Mod Podge matte glue on the back of the photo.  Place your photo on the tile.  
  • If you are using a trimmed photo without a Polaroid frame (non Photoshop users), then place the photo near the top leaving a 1/4 inch white border around the top and sides, and a 1 inch border on the bottom.  This will create the illusion of a Polaroid frame.  
  • If you are using the Polaroid framed printed photos (Photoshop users), then you are going to place the photo to fit the entire 4x4 tile.

4.  Using the edge of a ruler or credit card, smooth out the photo, making sure to remove all the air bubbles.  Let it dry (usually 5-10 minutes). 

5.  Once it’s dry, take your sponge and paint a thin coat of the Mod Podge Matte glue over the entire tile (yes, even the photo!).  Try to use even strokes in the same direction.  Let dry (this usually takes about 10 minutes).

6.  Repeat the previous step 3 or 4 more times, creating a strong, thick coat.  It's very important to make sure each coat is dry before adding another, which takes longer as they get thicker.

**Bonus step - You don’t have to do this, but we wanted our finished tile to have a smooth finish, so after our final coat of Mod Podge had fully dried (usually overnight), we buffed it with a wet, super fine sand paper (200) and wiped it with a paper towel.  This gets rid of the ridges formed from the built up layers of Mod Podge. 

7.  The amount of time it will take for your final layer of Mod Podge to dry depends on how many coats you do, but to be safe let it dry overnight.  When it's fully dry, spray the coaster with the Mod Podge super hi-shine clear acrylic sealer.  Let dry for a few hours and spray it with a second coat.  Allow to dry a full 24 hours.  The acrylic sealer is really important because it will protect your Polaroid from liquids.  Even if you aren't a klutz like me, without the sealer the condensation from a cold drink will destroy them.  I spilled a few drinks on my sealed coasters and all I had to do was wipe them off and they were fine!

8.  Attach your circle felt pads to the bottom corners of the tile.  If you want to make sure they are secure, you can use a glue gun.

9.  Place drink responsibly and enjoy!

Here are the finished Polaroid coasters that we made: 
(top: Photoshop version, bottom: cut-out version)

We love how they turned out and how custom made they are!  You could make a set for yourself, your family members, your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, anyone really.


  1. These are adorable! I am going to have to make some! Thanks for sharing!
    Leah Faye
    a clover and a bee

    1. We are so glad you like them! We love to see what you create so share some pics with us on twitter or instagram if you make them! xo

    2. You didn't have any issues with the felt rounds leaving impressions in the coasters if they were stacked?

  2. Cute! They totally look like polaroids!

  3. LOVE these! Getting started tonight. xoxo

  4. The heat from a hot cup doesnt harm the sealer?

  5. Huffington post highlighted this project a couple of weeks ago. I just completed 8 coasters this weekend. I did scenes from our wedding - which was 5-years ago and two kids later! They came out great. Such a fun and easy project. I ended up getting 4x4 prints from Walmart with the option of a white frame. Very easy. I just trimmed the corners a little for a better fit. Thank you!

  6. I made these and when I stack them, the felt always leaves an impression on the one under it. Any suggestions to fix this? They've been drying for a week and this still happens.

  7. I made these for my son's graduation from college with pictures from school and all the memories over the past 4 years. They came out great!! He loved them. Thanks for a great idea!