Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Eclectic Garden Tile Coasters by Geri Beam

Hello. Geri Beam with you today.

I admit my vocabulary can use stretching – but when we were given the challenge title of Mixed Media Pastiche, I was glad StencilGirl® gave us an explanation of the word pastiche. 

A pastiche is a work of visual art, literature, theatre, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists.

I often get direction for a project from a stencil.  In this case, the stencil Kandinsky’s Garden by Caroline Dube was my inspiration. What if I did a ceramic tile coaster of different artists using abstract art and the school of Bauhaus? Each coaster would be different yet tied together with the garden theme. I ended up with six coasters each with a different style. 

For a complete list of stencils and supplies used, please scroll to the end.

Base Coaster

Each coaster is made from a solid white ceramic tile that measures 4.5 inches square. The images were applied by various methods as explained throughout this article. The edges and back were colored with an alcohol ink applicator and felt. The backs were then covered with peel-and-stick cork. No matter what method was used to create the images, the final coat was always a light spray of matte Krylon Low Odor Clear Finish. This makes the coaster water-resistant and seals the bottom layers to the tile.  

Tile One – Kandinsky’s Trees

This was the easiest tile to make. I simply laid the stencil Kandinsky’s Garden by Caroline Dube on top of the tile and used a black Uni Posca pen to outline the tree images. I then colored the tree as Kandinsky would with bright colors. For the background I used the blue pen but watered the paint down and applied it with a paintbrush.

Tile One – Kandinsky’s Trees

Tile Two – Pathways

This tile was also easy to make. 

However, before we get to the image on the tile, let’s discuss how I use Stencil Girl Artist Trading Card (ATC) stencils. On this tile, I used ATC Mixup -Sjodin by Valerie Sjodin. ATC stencils are 9”x12” in size with nine images that work well for ATCs. These cards are miniature pieces of art usually sized at 2.5”x3.5”. You can keep the images together in the original size or cut them apart. I use a pencil to mark where I would cut the images apart.

I use a hole-punch on the stencil and a stainless-steel wire key ring to keep the pieces grouped together.

I tore colored tissue paper into strips. This also works using rice paper. With a brush, I applied Liquitex Matte Fluid Medium to the tile and laid the tissue pieces on top. I then applied more Medium on the top of the tissue. I waited for the Medium to dry and used a piece of sandpaper to trim the edges. 

I used a white Uni Posca pen with the stencil to create abstract pathways. When that was dry, I splattered white and black spots from the Uni Posca pens on top. I used Krylon Low Odor Clear Finish spray to seal the tile.

Tile Two – Pathways

Tile Three – Gilded Glass

For this tile I wanted to create an image of looking through stained glass onto a garden. I used the Doodle It Geometric Landscape Stencil by Maria McGuire.

I laid the stencil on top of the white tile and dripped alcohol ink on top of the stencil.  I used an alcohol ink blower to move the ink around and to make the ink dry faster. Once the ink was dried, I removed the stencil.

To add depth and contrast to this piece, I used metallic and black Uni Posca paint pens to outline the shapes created by the stencil. An important step in this process is to spray-dried alcohol ink with Krylon Low Odor Clear Finish spray and let that dry before using the Uni Posca pens. I applied another layer of spray after the pen paint dried. 

Tile Three – Gilded Glass

Tile Four – Kunst Gate

My inspiration for this tile was the stencil The Kuntz Mask 3 by Andrew Borloz. On the Stencil Girl Products website, the description for this stencil says “Inspired by costume, marionette, and mask design during the time when Bauhaus, De Stijl, Dadism, and Cubism were thriving.”

This tile took a little more thought and planning. I decided to look at bits and pieces of the shapes in this stencil to see if I could create a garden gate. I wanted to juxtapose a solid modern gate image over an airy garden. 

I already had a tile colored with alcohol ink leftover from an earlier project. It made a great background for the gate.

However, it needed a little adjusting on the colors. I dabbed on a little more green ink.

To create a gate shape, I used a pencil and paper to trace around shapes in the stencil until I got a pleasing gate shape. Can you see how I flipped the stencil in different directions to create it?

I needed to provide a base for the gate.

I added a browner ink to the bottom and used the used ATC Mixup -Sjodin by Valerie Sjodin stencil to create rocks on the bottom. 

I laid the stencil on top of the bottom of the tile and used a baby wipe to wipe away ink to create rocks. I used a spray bottle full of alcohol ink to spritz about 10 inches up from the tile. I held my hand over the top of the tile to prevent the top from being affected.  By using this method, it softened the edges of the rocks.

Before adding the gate on top of the alcohol ink I sprayed the tile with Krylon Low Odor Clear Finish to set it and prevent the ink from moving.  

I used black gesso on a make-up sponge to create the gate image on the background. I used Dylusions paint pens and a black Uni Posca pen to further enhance the background.

Tile Four – Kuntz Gate

Tile Five – Rex Ray Garden

This tile was inspired by an artist named Rex Ray. The first Stencil Club set I purchased was the Rex Ray-Esque by Valeri Sjodin.  Here is a picture of the type of work he did. He was known for wood grain backgrounds collaged with bold colored shapes. It was my inspiration for how he might have seen a garden.

The first step was to create a wood grain background. This was a fun challenge. I sprayed the tile with alcohol and applied a mix of five brown inks. I used the alcohol ink blower to mix and dry the ink.

Next, I used an Alcohol Lift-Ink pad and a wood grain rubber stamp. I inked up the stamp, placed it on top of the tile. I lightly dabbed the top of the tile with a paper towel to remove excess ink. The last step was to rub with paper towel to reveal the grain. 

To connect the places that the grain didn’t quite match up, I used an Alcohol Ink Blending Pen to draw lines.  Next I sprayed the tile with Krylon Low Odor Clear Finish to set it and prevent the ink from moving.  

To make collage parts I used the Mid Century Modern Repeat stencil by Jennifer Evans. I use old telephone book pages as my pallet pages when doing projects and use those to create collage pieces. I drew the shapes from the stencil onto these pallet pages and cut them out with scissors. I used Uni Posca paint pens to draw in other shapes.

I used gel medium to attach the paper to the top of the tile.  But something was not quite right. I needed more contrast between the collage pieces and the dark wood grain background.  It may have been better if I had used lighter background colors. 

As often happens when I am working on a project, I woke up in the night with an idea on how to fix my problem. I could highlight each collage piece with a bright color. I used Uni Posca Paint pens to “fix” the contrast. 

Tile Five – Rex Ray Garden

Tile Six – Geri’s Arboretum

Now that I had five tiles inspired by artists using abstract art and the school of Bauhaus, it was time to create my own interpretation. I wanted to have a high contrast black and white image with little bits of bright color. I used the ATC Mixup -Sjodin by Valerie Sjodin stencil. 

First, I used a makeup sponge and black and white gesso on the tile. 

I used the stencil and makeup sponge to pounce gesso through the stencil to get the tree and leaf shapes. I noticed that the white gesso on top of the black gesso had traces of red peeking through. This often happens when using black as a base color – no matter what medium you use. I continued layering white on top to try to eliminate the pink. I used colored Uni Posca paint pens to add the colorful foliage. The black and white dots were placed to move the eye from one side of the tile to the other.

Tile Six – Geri’s Arboretum

Coaster Storage and Display

I had help from my husband to keep my coasters in a tidy but decorative display. He designed a wooden holder. He cut two square end pieces and three dowel pieces. I painted them with black gesso and glued them into place. Simple but elegant, I really like the way it complements the coasters.

I hope you have been inspired by this project and think about making your own set of coasters. The ceramic tile and peel-and-stick cork backs are not expensive. I found the tile at the local hardware store and found the peel and stick cork backs on Amazon. If you don’t have Uni Posca pens or alcohol inks you can use any acrylic paint. Of course, you can use any of the many inspiring stencils found at Stencil Girl Products; just use what speaks to you.  The secret ingredient is the Krylon Low Odor Clear Finish to seal the tile. If you don’t want to work on tile, consider making coasters from fabric. Coasters make wonderful gifts. They are easy to make and fun to create. Also, see other coaster-making ideas on this Stencil Girl Talk blog post.

Supplies used in this project


Kandinsky’s Garden by Caroline Dube

ATC Mixup -Sjodin by Valerie Sjodin

Doodle It Geometric Landscape Stencil by Maria McGuire

The Kuntz Mask 3 by Andrew Borloz

Rex Ray-Esque by Valeri Sjodin - Stencil Club July 2019

Mid Century Modern Repeat stencil by Jennifer Evans 


Black Gesso by Bob Ross

White Gesso by Bob Ross

Uni Posca Paint Pens – PC 5m bullet shaped tips







Copper (metallic)

Gold (metallic)

Dylusions Paint Pens

Dirty Martini

Slate Grey

Melted Chocolate

Alcohol Ink

Ranger colors

Pitch Black









Mediums and Sealant 

Krylon Low Odor Clear Finish, Matte

Liquitex Matte Gel Medium

Liquitex Matte Fluid Medium

Other Supplies and Tools

White ceramic tiles 

Peel-and-stick cork pads for back of tile

Makeup sponge

1-inch chip paint brush

Baby wipes

Paper towels

Wood grain rubber stamp

Tim Holtz’s Alcohol Ink Blower

Tim Holtz’s Alcohol Ink Applicator with Felt Pad

Tim Holtz’s Alcohol Ink Blending Pen

Ranger Alcohol Lift-Ink Pad 


  1. What a great variety of pastiche tiles! Very fun project - thanks, Geri!

  2. This is my favorite art history period, so I love them all. As I went through, I kept saying "Now THIS one is my favorite!", each time. There are so many innovative techniques here, I could work for weeks on the inspiration from any one of them. Thanks for the details that tell me how to do one technique on top of another. Great post!

    1. Thank you Charlene. It is hard for me to pick my favorite one too.

  3. Wow. You teach me every time I see your work. Such an incredible mind for creating.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I try to incorporate new things to every project that I can share.


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