Sharpie Tile Coasters
As I was brainstorming ideas for my Girl Scout Brownies to do for work on our Potter’s Badge – I stumbled across these tiles on the official Sharpie blog. I’m always attracted to things with color and these don’t disappoint. Plus – they’re inexpensive, fun, and an easy activity for kids to do. And to finalize your design – all you have to do is spray with a great sealant and add some sticky felt pads.
I have to admit – they are a bit addictive. We went through all of our original tile supply and I ended up going back to the store and grabbing more because the whole family was having fun making them – even before we introduced them to the Brownies.
What You’ll Need
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- White 4″ X 4″ tiles (glossy)
- Sharpie markers
- Rubbing alcohol
- Dropper or other means to apply the rubbing alcohol
- Spray sealant (I used a tile glaze spray)
Step 1 – Create Your Marker Design
Lay down something to protect your work surface first (especially with smaller kids) – this can be messy and since you’re using permanent markers you’ll want to protect your work space. Paper towels or old newspaper works great for this. Then create your design – use your imagination because anything goes! Draw swirls, circles, boxes, or just scribble.
Keep in mind that the designs you create will run and smudge together. Experiment with lines, blobs, shapes, and big bold blocks of color. Have the kids draw a picture of something specific – for example a house, the sun, the park, a popsicle, etc.
Step 2 – Use Rubbing Alcohol to Smear the Marker
Once you have the marker design laid out – take the rubbing alcohol and drop a few drops on several spots on the tile. Don’t use too much or the alcohol will simply wash off the marker. If you apply just a small amount – the alcohol will slowly spread and create a tie-dye like effect. If you want more color – you can always add more marker and then use more alcohol.
Do it as many times as you like to get the desired effect. It’s great fun! In fact I’d say the more times you add more color and then smear it with more rubbing alcohol the better.
Also, be sure and let the alcohol dry between each round of marker. It’ll air dry really fast so just be a little patient.
Here’s a few shots of one of the tiles we did. Here’s the first round of ink + alcohol.
And here’s the second round of ink + alcohol.
The beauty of this project is that you can just keep going until you’re satisfied with the results. In fact, you don’t even have to stop. You could use your tiles as mini blank canvasses and simply clean them thoroughly with alcohol each time for more coloring fun another day. They come all the way clean with enough rubbing alcohol.
This is also a good time to point out that when helping littles do this project – you need to warn them of this. A few of my Brownies created elaborate designs and then blasted the tiles with alcohol and the WHOLE design washed away. Needless to say, this didn’t make them too happy.
Step 3 – Seal and Add Felts
At whatever point you or your little artist feels the design is just right you can prevent the design from changing any further by sealing the tile with a waterproof sealer. I really like the Rust-oleum® Triple Thick Glaze. They didn’t pay me to say that, I just really dig their product. 🙂
In a well ventilated area (preferably outside) spray several thin even coats on your completed tile, allowing the tile to dry between each application of glaze. The final product will have a nice glossy layer of glaze that makes your tile completely waterproof.
Finally, once the tile is completely dry (give it a few hours – it shouldn’t feel tacky anymore) apply small self-adhesive felt tabs to the back of the tile. This step isn’t really necessary, but it helps prevent damage to tabletops and littles really like to apply the little felt stickies.
And you’re done! These make great little teacher appreciation gifts or are ideal for Father’s or Mother’s Day. Also, grandparents love them! I keep one on my desk just because I think they’re so darn beautiful!