Although you can send away your favourite photographs to specialist companies that will turn them into tile coasters, you could make your own at home. All you need is a digital version of the photo you want to use and a printer, or visit a local copy store to scan and print a photo. Once you get the hang of the techniques, you can make sets of coasters as thoughtful homemade gifts.
Open the digital photo in a photo editing program. Crop or resize the photo to fit the tile size, and make any other changes, such as changing it from colour to grayscale or sepia, using special effects or adding text.
Print the photograph onto regular white paper, transparent vellum or tissue paper, depending on the look you want. If you want to print on tissue paper, tape it to a sheet of regular paper before loading it into the printer so the tissue paper does not scrunch up.
Cut out the photograph with scissors. Cut a square shape, or carefully trim around the edges of the person or objects in the photo.
Paint a layer of white glue over the front of the ceramic tile with a paintbrush. Immediately place the printed photograph down on the tile, smoothing it down with your fingers to remove any wrinkles. Allow the glue to dry.
Paint a layer of white glue over the front of the tile and photo, and allow it to dry thoroughly. Apply a second, then a third layer of white glue over the tile, allowing it to dry between coats.
Spray acrylic sealer over the front of the tile and photo, allow it to dry, then repeat at least five times with additional layers of sealer. Without a good coat of sealer, the photographs on the coasters will get wet and peel off when you use them.
Cut a square of cork tile or felt that is slightly smaller than the ceramic tile. Spread permanent glue to the reverse side of the tile and press the felt or cork into it as a nonslip backing. Let the glue dry completely before using the coaster.
Do not stick the printed photo onto the tile until the printer ink is completely dry. Don't use actual photos or photo paper for this project as they are too thick and would stand out from the surface of the tile.
Cover work surfaces with old newspaper while you work.