We've had great fun upcycling some spare ceramic tiles to make a special Father's Day gift for Bean's Daddy. It was such a satisfying process, with such beautiful results, that I thought I'd share with you here on the blog. We'll be sourcing more tiles, because we're keen to make more!
You will need:
White ceramic tiles - we had these left over from tiling our downstairs toilet, but you can buy a set specifically for this purpose here. This set comes with cork backing pads, so you won't need to buy those separately. You want tiles approx 4" square for making coasters.
Sharpie permanent markers - it may be possible to use other brands of permanent marker, or even non-permanent markers, but I haven't experimented with either so can't vouch for them.
Cork bumpers - these can be stuck on the back of the tiles to protect your work surface from scratches.
Start by colouring your tile with the markers. It really doesn't matter at all how you mark make on the surface of the tile, so the very youngest artist can join in (although, do beware with permanent markers). Any design you make on the tile will be transformed once you add the spritzing ink or rubbing alcohol, so it's worth explaining that to your child. I tried to discourage Bean from drawing anything specific, as I wanted to save her from disappointment when her design is spoiled by the process, but she was keen to experiment.
Once you are happy with your design, spray over the top with the spritzing ink and/or use a dropper or pipette to drop rubbing alcohol onto the tile. The colours will blend and bleed into one another. It can be tricky to know when to stop, as if you keep adding ink/alcohol you will eventually end up with a big brown puddle. This happened to us with one of our tiles. We used a damp sponge to gently remove a bit of the brown liquid and then sprayed more ink on the tile. It was rescuable!
This is what ours looked like after our first round of spraying and dropping. While we worked on the others, these dried a little bit and we were able to add more.
The whole process was so satisfying and interesting to observe. We both got really, really into it!
Once you are happy with the overall look of your tiles, set them aside somewhere safe and leave them overnight to dry.
Once dry you can varnish if you like. Be sure that the tiles are fully dry before adding your varnish, then allow to dry overnight again.
This is what they looked like finished. We added cork bumpers to the underside to protect work surfaces, then wrapped them up and they're ready to gift on Sunday. A fun process art experience for the whole family, with something useful to admire at the end.
This blog post contains affiliate links. If you do click through, Bean and I will receive a small amount of commission which will contribute to new books and resources for her home education. You can, however, find all of these resources elsewhere, including other online retailers, second hand selling pages and your local library.