I’ve been so busy with classes the last two weeks that I’m a little late with this post, but I had to get it up anyway to show how awesome and easy these coasters were to make! I loved this project and, like all of the other Darby Smart boxes, I found that it was super easy and a complete DIY/craft-sy novice can easily create a beautiful project.
Darby Smart is one of my newer subscription services and I am loving it more and more with each box I receive. I have ordered a bunch of individual projects from the site and I have also received a few monthly boxes so far. You can sign up for a monthly subscription (which is a surprise box) or you can purchase a project you like from the huge list of craft boxes that the Darby Smart website has to offer.
Even though this particular box to create ink blot coasters is no longer available, Darby Smart does offer some similar projects (which I have listed below), or you can go to the craft store and purchase the supplies yourself to make this exact project — I have listed all of the supplies in this post. I am actually planning on buying more blank coasters and alcohol ink this week so that I can make even more coasters since I had so much fun with this project!
Each Darby Smart DIY box comes with a set of instructions and step-by-step photos, and then you can check out their website for more help and inspiration. The instructions didn’t come out that clear in the above photo, but I just wanted to give an idea as to what they look like on the card.
THE DARBY SMART FEBRUARY 2014 TO DIY BOX (INK BLOT COASTERS) CONTAINED:
- 4 blank ceramic tiles (under $2 per tile at most hardware stores)
- 1 Tim Holtz Adirondack Alcohol Blending Solution (~$5 at most craft stores)
- 3 Tim Holtz Adirondack Alcohol Inks (~$10 for a 3-pack at most craft stores)
- 1 foam craft brush (super cheap, less than $1 at most craft store and less than $5 for a pack of multiple brushes)
- 1 pack of cork stickers (~$5 at most craft stores)
- 1 bottle of Mod Podge (~$7-8 at most craft stores — I am looking for an alternative to this to seal in the alcohol ink because I didn’t really like how the Mod Podge worked with this particular project)
Okay, so, on to the fun! So, the first step is to take out a blank coaster. Okay, easy enough. This step probably didn’t need a whole photo but I always need a sense of completion with things like this, so here is “Step One“.
Oh, I forgot to mention — the best part about this project is that the ink is completely washable with soap and water and you can fix and re-do the coasters as often as you like to get a design you absolutely love. I lost count with how many times I washed and re-inked my coasters. And, although the ink takes a little longer coming off your fingers (it really seeped in after 20+ tile applications … -_-), it definitely comes off the tiles very easily which really makes this whole project completely fool-proof. I got super excited about this whole thing and never wanted it to end, but I had to choose my “finished project” at some point and I’m just going to go out and buy more coasters and ink to make more!
Step Two: Pour a few drops of the Alcohol Blending Solution onto the tile and spread it out evenly with the foam brush. The more blending solution you use, the more your inks will spread out and blend. I ran out of this stuff after like my 50th do-over and when I get more I think I’m going to use a little less blending solution on a few tiles to keep some of the inks in the circular pattern that you will see in the next two photos.
Step Three: Start dropping your ink on the tile and watch them spread out and do awesome, pretty visionary stuff. Like I said before, if you use less blending solution then the colors won’t spread out as much. You are basically making art out of complete messy chaos here, so anything goes, really. You can drop as many colors as you want, and make the drops as big or as small as you like. You can cover up the whole tile or leave some white space — it’s totally up to you. This project really takes zero crafty talent.
Step Four: Ooooh … pretty colors. Mix and match to your heart’s desire and watch all the colors combine and make new colors when you mix them together. They should totally do an alcohol ink project in elementary school art classes. This is the color wheel in action.
Step Five: Depending on how much blending solution you used, the finished product might look totally different than what it looked like when you were dropping the colors. I overdid it a bit on this tile (above), as all the colors mixed together way too much and formed into black … but it actually came out cool this way.
Step Six: After your ink is dry, turn the tile over and apply the cork stickers to prevent the tiles from scratching any surfaces. Then, flip the tile over and apply the Mod Podge with your foam brush over the whole thing. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Mod Podge in this project — I found that it streaked the tiles (even though it was supposed to prevent streaks) and it made the inks lose a lot of their shininess.
I’m going to find a better sealer in the store — one that seals the ink in place and keeps the colors vibrant and glossy-looking. I also re-did this tile multiple times so that’s why there is so much ink on the bottom of the tile. The first few tiles I made didn’t have any ink on the bottom so it looked a lot neater.
And here is my finished project! As you can see, there are a few white streaks in the top right tile because of the way it dried after applying the Mod Podge. Otherwise, I think these all came out pretty cool (after rinsing them off and re-doing them at least 20 times). I’m going to look for a better sealer for the inks that will preserve their color vibrancy and glossiness, so maybe I will do another post for my next set of ink blot tiles! Here are a few more photos of the finished tiles up close:
Overall, this project was super fun, SUPER easy and I love the fact that you can wash off the ink as many times as you want before you obtain a finished product that you absolutely love. The whole thing did become a bit messier after re-doing the tiles more than, say, three times (that’s how the ink dripped down to the bottom of the tile), but, overall, this project wasn’t that messy.
I would definitely recommend to put a towel down and not use these inks directly on any surfaces (obviously), and to use a towel that you don’t mind getting dirty. Some of the inks set into the towel that I used but that’s okay because I can use the towel again for the next DIY/craft project 🙂
This specific Darby Smart Ink Blot Coasters DIY kit was part of the February TO DIY FOR subscription box, so it is no longer available. If you want a coaster-making kit, Darby Smart offers a Malachite/Fabric Coasters box ($29), a Moroccan Tile Coasters box ($22) and a Monogram Coasters box ($29). There is also a multitude of other DIY craft boxes that comes complete with all the supplies you need for that specific project, or you can make these exact ink blot coasters by buying the supplies listed earlier on in this post.
For $19/month, you can also subscribe to the Darby Smart monthly TO DIY FOR subscription box, a new surprise DIY/craft box each month. There are also other pricing plans where you pay every three months ($47) or yearly ($199), that ends up being cheaper than the $19/month price. For more information, visit DarbySmart.com.