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11.24.2008

Tutorial Tuesday - Tile Transfer Art

I wanted to post this earlier, but it took me a little longer than usual to write up this tutorial. Don't let the long list of instructions keep you from doing it, it's actually pretty easy and definitely worth it! Here's some examples of what you can make with this tutorial:


Set of 4" tile coasters. (A little boutique store nearby sells a set similar to this for $40. Each tile only costs about .50 so you can make them MUCH cheaper yourself!)
I made this tile for me to take to work. I have it sitting on my desk so anytime I want I can peek over and see my husband! It's a little more durable, and I think better looking than putting him in a picture frame! It's also a 4" size tile. (How cute is he?!? He also wanted me to let everyone know that he doesn't really have a big black spot on his forehead...it's a small hole in the tile.)

This is the one I'll show you with my tutorial pictures. I made this for a birthday present for a friend who LOVES french things! This is a 6" square tile.

Ready for the supplies?

Tumbled marble tiles. They have these at Home Depot, Lowes, or any other flooring store. Make sure you get the tumbled ones. This will NOT work on tiles that are really smooth and polished. There needs to be some roughness for the transfer to work properly. (See close up below for what it will look like.)


1 jar each of these: Golden Gel Medium (Heavy Gel Matte) and Golden Medium (Matte Medium) These will be the most expensive part of the list, but they will make a TON of tiles! I use my 40% off coupons for Michaels when I buy these. You'll find them by the canvas and acrylic colors.
1 image printed backwards on a LASER printer. (Don't print it at home unless you have a laser copier. Most people, like me, have an inkjet printer.) Just print it out and take to a copy place and have them copy it for you. It doesn't have to be on a special type of paper, regular copy paper is fine.


1 baking sheet lined with newspaper
1 foam paint brush
1 clean sponge (I use the regular side, not the extra abrasive side.)
1 sheet of thin cork (this is only if you make the coasters)

Ok, now you've got your supplies so let's get started!

-Wash and thoroughly air dry your tiles. This will get off any dust from the tumbling process.
-While letting the tiles dry, print out your image and trim down to the size of your tile, plus 1/4" edges. (If you're tile is 6", trim it to 6 1/2" x 6 1/2". If it's a 4" tile trim to 4 1/2" x 4 1/2".)
-When the tile is dry, paint the front, back, and all sides with a coat of the Golden Medium-Matte Medium and let dry.
-When the tile is dry from the acrylic, put a fairly thick coat of the GEL medium directly onto the paper leaving the 1/4" margin around all sides. I tried to show you what your thick coat and margin should look like in the picture below:
Your paper will probably curl up a little bit but that's ok.
Here's the finished Gelled up paper. (I don't think gelled is a word...but you know what I mean!)
Turn your tile upside down and center onto your gelled up paper. By lining up the tile on the paper it's easier to center your tile with the image.

Once it's positioned, turn it over and use a brayer to press down the paper onto the tile and make sure there are NO air bubbles. (Just to clarify. The acrylic on the tile will be dry, but the acrylic gel on the paper will still be wet.)

After you've done that it's time to bake your tile. Place your tile (like seen below) onto your newspaper lined baking sheet. Put it into the oven for 15 minutes at a temperature of 200 degrees F. Basically what happens here is that the acrylic on the tile and the acrylic on the paper bake together and bring the laser toner with it.

When the 15 minutes is up, take the tile out of the oven and transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 15 or 20 minutes. (The time here is not critical, so you could leave this sitting for a day or two and it won't affect the outcome.)

Next, transfer the tile to a work surface covered in scrap paper. Grab your sponge and a small bowl of water. Get the sponge wet and start to wet the paper. You'll start to see the image come through when the paper is wet....we want to remove the paper and the image will appear! This is the fun part!

Here's where a few layers of the paper have been sponged off and you can see the image transferred onto the tile. Keep slowly removing the paper until you've got the majority of it off.


Sometimes it helps to let it dry for a minute or two so you can see better where the paper still needs to be removed. If you look at the picture below you can see a few paper fibers hanging onto the black part still, it's where it looks a little cloudy. If it looks like this it's fine. When we put the finished coat of acrylic on it, the few paper fibers left will disappear.

*Notes on removing the paper: Don't rub too hard and make sure your paper is fairly wet. It doesn't have to be dripping, but if it's fairly wet it will make it easier to remove without damaging the acrylic layer.

After removing all the paper and paper fibers, put another 1-2 coats of the Golden Medium-Matte Medium onto the tile and you've got a completed tile. This makes a great gift! Try printing out Christmas images or quotes to make holiday decorations for yourself too!

If you decide to do coasters, place a thin sheet of cork, cut to fit, on the back so they don't scratch your furniture.

*Because the acrylic melts with heat, if you make the coasters, please don't use them with hot drinks. Also don't use them as trivets either or your image will be stuck to the bottom of your hot dish.

If you have any questions please leave me a comment and I'll respond and try to clarify anything that may have been confusing.

Happy Crafting!

27 comments:

  1. Oh how fabulous, I love these! I'll be linking.

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    1. To create a such kind of article is really amazing,I daily read your blogs and give my announcement for that here this article is too great and so entertaining. Bandar Bola

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  2. Would the image lift off if you sealed it with a spray sealer? I'd love to do this, but most of my pals drink coffee and/or hot tea....

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    1. I used Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic coating after I made some tiles for coasters - I've had them now for about a year and they've withstood (for the most part) hot mugs and rings from other cup condensation. I recommend two coats! (:

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  3. SpeakDog- I believe that even if you sprayed it with a spray sealer, it wouldn't keep the heat from melting the acrylic. If you need one for hot drinks, I might try Lazertran Transfer Paper. They may be ok with heat. Here's the link. http://www.lazertran.com/projects/tiles.htm

    I haven't used it but there's lots of tutorials if you search. If you contact the company directly they could probably tell you if the transfer is heat sensitive or not.

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  4. Can you tell me where to get the decorative sayings?

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  5. Thanks Erin... I'll check out the Lazertran product. Looks like fun!

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  6. Just wanted to tell you I have just spent the entire morning looking at your blog! Love all of your tutorials...your cards and decor are the best!

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  7. Ok, so I just did your tiles, and the paper isn't coming off...to make it worse, the bottom layer (matte mediium) is coming off when I rub the paper. YIKES! Any tips??

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  8. Anon, there are multiple reasons the paper might not be coming off. Is the paper super wet? Also, this step takes time, the paper won't completely come off the first time. It will come off in layers. If you try to peel off all the paper at once it won't work. Sometimes my finger works better than a sponge to get the paper off. As far as the matte medium coming off: Anything super abrasive, or if you rub really hard with the wet sponge, can take the bottom layer off. If you gently rub with light, circular motions, I found this works best. Also, if you used a really polished tile there's not enough rough texture for the matte medium to stick to. Hopefully this helps! If you want, you can send me a pic and I can try to help you on a more individual basis! erinschlosser (at) schlosserdesigns (dot) com

    To answer your earlier question. I made my own decorative sayings. Usually I just put some sayings in a decorative font I like, size it correctly, and print it out. You can use Photoshop or Microsoft Word for this. Just make sure you print it backwards so that it will transfer correctly.

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  9. Thanks so much for explaining this. I was wanting to make some more and couldn't remember a couple of steps.

    Cindy

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  10. Thanks so so much for your tutorial! I had spent lots of money on other options and tried this one tonight! worked like a charm! thanks for sharing your wonderful technique!

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  11. Do you think Modge Podge on the finished tile would help keep the image from transfering onto the bottoms of hot cups?

    I love this idea and I think I now have a go to DIY gift for my crafty friends!

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  12. Rebekah,
    I have not tried modge podge. I would be worried that any heat would melt the layer, even if the modge podge was on top. I'd try it on a sample tile and old mug before making a lot of them. I may play around with this a little more and experiment with this! Thanks! I'm glad you like the tutorial!

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  13. I'm guessing I should know the answer to this but how do you make the words print backwards? Is that a function of Microsoft word? If I have a saying I want to use and it is in image form I am not sure how to flip that backwards. I love this idea and want to try it!

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  14. Marion, If you're printing from Microsoft Word here's what you'll do:
    Go to File -> Print
    When the menu box pops up, just go to your Printer Properties and choose a setting called Mirror Image on. Each printer will say something slightly different, but you'll want to just mirror the image and it should print backwards with no problem!

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  15. Wow... I LOVE your website. These tutorials are awesome! I'm definitely going to have to try this out. Just one question... what is a "brayer"?

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  16. Anon. A Brayer is like a rolling pin for paper. Here's one: http://www.misterart.com/g453/Speedball-Rubber-Brayer.htm?WT.mc_n=froogle&WT.mc_t=CPC&WT.mc_id=453

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  17. Do you think this would work on a textured wall? If so, would it ever be removable?

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  18. Elisa and Morgan- Due to the heating process involved I think it would be difficult to do on a textured wall. I'm not sure how you could do this transfer on a wall. Thanks so much for asking! Sorry I couldn't help you more!

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  19. These are awesome! I just made my first "batch" (starting xmas gifts early) and am amazed at how easy and gorgeous they turn out. My family is going to LOVE them! :)

    Thank you for the tutorial!

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  20. If you don't have a brayer, I have used the back of an old spoon and it seems to work fine. Also, I agree with you -- using your dampened finger to remove the paper works better than a sponge! I have not tried the heat method before, it looks really interesting. Can't wait to try! Thanks for writing out this tutorial, and for all the GREAT pics!!!!

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  22. Just wanted to add that if you use clear engine enamel spray to finished product and allow a week to cure, it will dry hard and protect against heat up to 500 degrees. You can buy at AutoZone.

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  24. I can't get my printer to print backwards. The option is not there. I printed it out as is. Can I take to some copy place to relax reprint?? I really want to do this help!!

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