Intro: Fantasy Map Coasters
Whether you are in an epic campaign against a goblin horde, marathoning Frodo wandering Middle-earth, or deep into the saga with a coming winter this is a perfect place to rest your drink while keeping you immersed in the adventure.
This is totally open to customization, print out whatever you would like and you can put them on yours, and makes a great quick last minute gift.
Step 1: Materials
Things you will need for this project.
Map Sections: You could use a map or page out of an atlas that you already have. I opted to print out some sections of a map I liked. I cropped the sections to 4 in x 4 in squares.
Brushes: Any sort of brush will really do for this. It just needs to be able to evenly spread your Mod Podge.
Tile: I found some really nice looking tumbled marble tile at my local hardware store. Mine are 4in x 4in squares.
Scissors: You'll need something to cut and trim the map to the size of the tiles.
Mod Podge: This will bind the map to the tile as well as act as a sealer.
Other than this I would say you might want to lay down something on your work station.
Step 2: Prep Work
So the first step to this is doing a little prep work.
The tiles you are using probably have some dirt or dust on them from the shop. You can hit them up with some soap and water, compressed air, or just brush them off. Whatever your weapon of choice is, just make sure the surface of the tile is clean.
A clean surface is going to allow the Mod Podge or other glue that you use to get a better grip on the tile's surface. If not you run the risk of it peeling up or bubbles in the map.
Speaking of the map, go ahead and cut out your pieces. I went with 4x4 print outs, but that doesn't fully wrap around the edges. If you really want that full look go ahead and make them just slight larger then trim to fit to your liking.
Step 3: Weathering
Weathering is going to make the maps pieces look like they lived a rugged life.
This step is completely optional but I think it works really well with natural and tumbled tiles.
Start off with balling up your map square into a little ball. Then undo that and make it flat again, evaluate how the character of the map is now. If you want more character, then ball or roll up it up again. You can also add a crease to it, use the the scissors to score it , or if you are daring rip and wear a few holes in it.
Not show: For another level of weathering, brush on some coffee or paint. Flicking or randomly splatter some across the surface. Dip a glass in your medium and press it on the surface for some well used rigs.
Be creative and mix it up.
Step 4: Time to Get Sticky
Crack open your Mod Podge, or glue of choice.
So lay your map face down, and evenly coat the back with a hearty amount of glue.
Next apply some to the surface of the tile. Then square up the map on the tile and lay the map on. You may need to add more glue to the tile as you apply.
It's okay to go heavy on the glue application, just make sure to even it out afterwards.
Step 5: Mind the Nooks and Crannies
You have to be gentle yet firm with this phase.
Once the map has been applied to the surface, gently attack it from every angle with the brush. This will allow the paper to take on the tile's surface, giving it character and ensuring a better binding of the two.
Not all section of this are going to want to lay down or contour to the surface of the tile. Additional glue will make the paper more pliable, and have a better seal to the tile. Just be careful, once saturated the paper is even more prone to ripping and being torn apart in ways you may not have intended.
The paper could flip over on itself and could stick together. When you try and removing it, tearing may occur. Just take things slow and easy.
Step 6: Build It Up
Once the first coat has fully dried, we can begin this. Applying multiple layers will strengthen the coaster and also cover the rough edges that may scratch or blemish a table top.
Start by adding an additional layer to the top. Once that has fully dried, flip it over and apply a coat to the bottom and sides. Then repeat the first step.
Do this two to three more times, it depends on how heavily you apply your coats. Having more thin coats works better than fewer thick coats.
Step 7: Final Thoughts
Well its all done!
If you want to take this to the next level you could get some acrylic sealer and spray on a few coats for additional protection.
Also if you don't feel entirely comfortable with encasing the tile, or want to save on materials look into felt, rubber, or cork self adhesive pads
If you had the time you could also have it that when you assemble the coasters they can make an actual map and be semi-functional in that aspect as well.
I hope you have fun if you decide you want to try this and enjoy.