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.)
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.
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!
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.