How to Create Ceramic Tile Coasters with Photographs

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Print your photos at home for use in creating ceramic tile coasters.
Print your photos at home for use in creating ceramic tile coasters. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Ceramic tile can be used to make efficient coasters, as it prevents the transfer of both heat and moisture between two surfaces. Available in a wide variety of colors and styles, you can use ceramic tiles to create coasters that match any decorating style. With the use of water-slide decals, though, you can customize the tiles to more closely fit your décor. You can add black and white or color photographs to the faces of the tiles, decorating them with any image that you have available.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Graphics arts program
  • Photo scanner
  • Color inkjet printer
  • White decal paper
  • Scissors
  • Clear acrylic spray paint
  • Bowl
  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Rubber squeegee

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Load the photograph of your choice into a graphics editing program, either through a computer image file or by importing the photograph via a scanner.

Use the program to scale the photograph to the same dimensions as the ceramic tile.

Place a sheet of water-slide decal paper into your printer. Make sure that you position the paper so that you print to the clear side of the paper.

Choose the print option in the graphics program and print the photo onto the decal paper.

Place the decal paper onto a flat surface and wait 15 minutes for the ink to dry completely.

Spray the dried decal with clear acrylic spray, covering but not saturating the decal paper. Apply three layers of the acrylic spray, waiting two hours after each layer for the spray to dry over the decal’s surface. The acrylic covering will protect the ink from running after the decal is placed into water.

Cut the photograph from the sheet with a craft knife. Closely follow the outline of the photograph with the knife to keep the edges of the decal as close to the photo as possible.

Place the decal into a bowl of water. Make sure to completely submerge the decal beneath the water’s surface. Leave the decal in place for between 30 seconds to a full minute, until the decal slides from the backing paper at the touch of a finger.

Dip the corner of a paper towel into rubbing alcohol and rub the alcohol over the surface of the tile where you intend to place the photograph while the decal is submerged. The alcohol will aid in the adhesion of the decal to the surface of the tile.

Remove the decal from the water and, with the paper backing still in place, lay the photograph onto the ceramic tile. Slide the paper backing from beneath the photo while holding the photo in place with a wet finger. Adjust the position of the photograph on the tile as needed.

Pat the photograph with a rubber squeegee to remove any excess water that may be present on top or beneath the decal, as well as any air bubbles between the decal and the tile. Let the decal sit in place for three hours to dry onto the tile.

Spray the mounted decal with three more light layers of the clear acrylic to protect the photograph. Wait two hours after each layer to allow the spray to dry.

References

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