Sunday, January 17, 2010

How to Stamp on Tiles! A comprehensive guide.

Today's project is a gift I made. It is for no particular person, yet; I just have it on standby for a last minute gift to give. I used an old retired stamp set for this.
  • Tile (glazed or unglazed)-- any size will do!
  • Flat back marbles OR cork or felt furniture protection pads
For the process, I will give you some information about the various inks, tiles, and sealants that you can use to create your own. I have researched the Internet and used my own experiences to give you a comprehensive guide to stamping on tiles.

First, I need to point out two things: if you use a glazed tile, you MUST make sure you place the stamp and lift straight up, or the stamp will slip on the smooth surface. Also, whatever ink you use will have to be heat set, without it the ink will either wash off or chip off with use.

Tile Preparation:
  • Obtain your tiles from any home improvement store. Any size, any shape, any color. Remember dark colored tiles will only accept White or Very Vanilla ink.
  • Choosing your tiles. Glazed tiles are easy to choose. Unglazed tiles require you to be more choosy. Look through the boxes and choose a box that has more tiles that are smooth on top. All unglazed "tumbled" tiles will have some pits and depressions, but remember that the more smooth surface on the tile, the better the stamped image will be.
  • Choosing between glazed (shiny) and unglazed tiles is a matter of choice. You will have to be a bit more careful when stamping on a glazed tile to prevent the stamp from slipping. In most cases, if you make a mistake, you can wipe the stamped image off using stamp cleaner. Unglazed tiles usually have an uneven surface, which doesn't let the stamp slip; however, there is no second chance, what is stamped is going to be there. The unglazed tiles also hide a multitude of sins. If your stamped image doesn't go on completely. No problem! The tiles looked distressed, so just pretend you planned for the stamped image to be distressed too!
  • Wipe the glazed tiles with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol, once it is dry, the tile is read to use. Wash the unglazed tiles with a mild soap and a soft toothbrush. Rinse well. Allow to dry completely. Overnight is best.
Ink Choices, Curing Process, and Sealant Requirements:
  • Use craft ink (embossing ink) and emboss. No sealant required. No baking required. These are the least durable of the tile preparations; however, this is a quick and easy way to make a decorative tile that will only be used to look at. Store this tile wrapped in tissue paper. It is possible for you to color in your image with Sharpie or other alcohol markers. One thing to note, you will have to bake to set the markers, which will darken the colors, so choose your colors wisely. Make sure you do not touch the embossing with the marker. Wipe off any excess marker from the tile with a alcohol swab. Bake to set the marker at 250 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool and spray 3 coats of an acrylic sealant, allowing each coat to completely dry between.
  • Stamp or sponge with Stazon ink. Use alcohol based markers, such as Sharpies, to color in the design. If you touch the stamped image with the marker, it will smear the stamped image. Bake the finished tile at 250 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool.
  • Stamp or sponge with craft ink (embossing ink). Do not emboss it. Use it to color in your design too. Bake 20-30 minutes at 250 degrees. Spray 2-3 coats of acrylic sealant allowing it to dry in between coats.
  • Lightly sand the glazed tile with medium grit sand paper in both directions, wipe clean with alcohol swab. Stamp with Staz-on ink, heat set in over at 250 degrees for 15-20 minutes, and spray with a sealant.
  • Stamp with Staz-on ink on an unglazed tile, then spray with a sealant. I have not personally tested this method; however, many people report success with this technique.
  • Stamp with Staz-on Ink. Heat set at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Color in design with Stampin' Pastels and a Blender pen. Spray sealant to seal the chalks. One coat is suggested. Again, I have not tried this technique, but it has been successful for many crafters. Crystal Effects can be used here too, but use a very thin layer first, as the chalks will try to bleed through.
  • Stamp a design on cardstock. Tear image out leaving the torn edges showing. Sponge ink onto tile using craft ink. Use SNAIL adhesive to attach cardstock image to tile. Seal the entire surface with Crystal Effects, applying a second coat when the first is dry.
  • This next technique is best used on a glazed tile or a smooth unglazed tile. Stamp a design onto white tissue paper and color in with colored pencils or inks. Tear edges of tissue paper so the size of the image is the size of the front of the tile. Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge onto the tile. Lay tissue paper image over the tile and smooth down with the Mod Podge brush. Allow to dry. Add 2 more coats of Mod Podge, allowing each coat to dry before adding the next.
  1. If you are making coasters for drinking glasses, use unglazed tiles. Do not spray with acrylic sealant, as this will affect the ability of the tile to absorb the liquid.
  2. For coasters: You can use felt circles, cork circles, or cut sheets of cork to the size of the back of the tile to protect furniture.
  3. For trivets (for hot pots): add adhesive small rubber protective buttons or flat back marbles with industrial adhesive (such as E6000) to protect the counter.
  4. For magnets: some magnet material is not strong enough to hold both the tile and a piece of paper, such as sheet magnets. Find "button" magnets or round coin style magnets to glue to the back. You will need to use an industrial adhesve, such as E6000.
  5. For decorative tiles: add a ribbon around the outside of the of the tile to hang it by, add a ribbon loop to the back with industrial adhesive (such as E6000), or perch the tile in a small photo easel or plate easel.
  6. Using E6000 glue: this glue is very strong, both in holding strength and smell. Use adequate ventilation, or your head will ache reminding you of your mistake. Trust me.
  7. Many people claim that glazed ceramic tiles are notorious for not holding any ink or sealant. Personally, I have not experienced this, yet. However, I used a medium-fine grit sand paper to slightly rough up the surface, before I stamped.
  8. Many people use the Sharpie markers to color with directly to the tile. Others prefer a cotton swab to prevent smearing of the Staz-on ink. To use a cotton swab, color the Sharpie on acetate or a piece of plastic packaging. Dab the cotton swab in the Sharpie ink while it is still wet. DAB the color onto the stamped image. Repeat coloring on the plastic and dabbing the cotton swab to load the color until the image is complete.
  9. You can use alcohol inks to color the tiles, creating a very nice effect!
  10. Using a cotton swab dabbed in rubbing alcohol (not dripping wet) that is then rubbed in Sharpie ink that was colored onto plastic packaging or acetate, creates a very subdued color palette.
  11. To make the background lighter than your focal image, rub a fine grit sand paper over the whole surface, which lightens the color a bit!
  12. All sealants can cause the inks and work you have done to drip and run. Very light coats are key! Spray very light coats for each layer, allowing drying time in between. For brush-on sealants, brush a VERY light layer first and brush only in one direction not overlapping strokes. Repeat for each layer allowing drying time in between, turning tile 1/4 turn each coat, which will alternate brush strokes.
  13. Finally, try 1" tiles and add them to a tag, mini album or scrap book page.
  14. One technique is to use Staz-on ink in the various colors it comes in and stamp and ink your image completely in Staz-on ink. Use sponge daubers to color in images and DAB, do not rub. rubbing will cause the two Staz-on inks to smear and blend. There is no heat setting or sealant involved here. Stamp TV has a video of this technique.
I hope that this helped you learn what you need to know to make your own tiles. Want to learn more. Call and book a workshop today!
Thanks for stopping by today.


  1. This is a really cute project. A great way to personalize your trivets to your kitchen.

  2. We’ve been stumbling around the internet and found your blog along the way.

    We love your work! What a great corner of the internet :)


  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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