Sherri's been working for a while to perfect a method to successfully transfer images onto tile. We finally got great, consistent results after some trial and error. Above you can see black and white images from Sherri's daughter Rachel's wedding, and color images from my daughter Brennyn's wedding. I love this project because they are great handmade gifts that anyone can appreciate. The images don't turn out perfectly, and they have a quality that makes them almost looked painted on. You can turn them into coasters (my favorite use) or put them on small easels for tabletop display.
You will need:
4 x 4” tumbled marble tile
3M Wet/Dry 1200-grit blue abrasive sheet
ITS Matte or Gloss Sealer
Felt chair pads or 4 x 4 square of felt
1. Soak the tile in water and scrub it clean to get all the dust off. Let dry.
2. Paint a layer of ITS solution over the tile. Let dry.
3. Size your image so it is slightly smaller than the tile. Remember that the image will appear as a mirror image on the tile. Copy the image onto ITS paper using a commercial copy machine or print it on a laser printer. Use the color setting even if your image is black and white. Cut out the image. If the background of your image is dark, you may want to tear the edges for a softer look.
4. Paint an even layer of ITS solution on the tile. (The layer of ITS should be thin enough to still be transparent, but thick enough so there are no bare spots.) Place the image face down on the tile, being careful to center the image.
5. Press the image on the tile, working from the middle out toward the edges. Smooth the image firmly, pressing out any air bubbles. Turn the tile over on a flat, sturdy surface and press on the back of the tile to help the image make full contact with the tile. If there are still air bubbles, you can use a barely damp sponge to help smooth them out, or prick with a pin or point of a blade and press them flat.
6. Heat set the tile by placing the tile in a pre-heated 325 degreee oven for 30 minutes. After removing from the oven, it is important to let the piece cool thoroughly before the next step.
7. Soak the tile in water for a few minutes. Use your fingers to remove the paper, carefully rolling off layers of paper, working from the center out.
8. When you’ve removed most of the paper, use a 3M Wet/Dry 1200-grit blue abrasive sheet under running water to remove the remaining fiber. The fiber is removed when there is no longer a white film covering the image.
9. Paint a layer of ITS Matte or Gloss Sealer over the image. Wait 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes to heat set. Let cool.
10. To make a coaster, stick felt chair pads on the back of the tile, or glue on a square of felt so the tile won’t scratch furniture.
Next blog: Troubleshooting