If y’all have read a single one of my posts or looked at my Instagram, then you know I am obsessed with old houses and historic charm. I am constantly trying to add character into our new build and today I’m focusing on making tiles for the fireplace. Let’s learn how to hand paint tile in a delft style.
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Before we dive into the DIY and step by step process of hand painting tile, I wanted to share real quick sum up the gist of the post in case you are in a hurry. I get detailed and chatty, and I know we ain’t all got time for that.
I used ceramic tiles and a alcohol marker from hobby lobby. First, I practiced a couple of times with designs I liked and sizing on paper and a couple of extra tiles. Then I just free handed the designs onto the tile with the marker. The marker ink dries quickly and when I was done, I sprayed with a ceramic glaze from Rustoleum.
What Are Delft Tiles?
Delft tiles are hand painted tiles that are famous for their blue and white coloring. This feature makes them instantly recognizable whether the tiles are antique originals or modern reproductions. They originate from a Dutch town called Delft in the Netherlands in the 17th century.
The tiles were Dutch potter’s version of the blue and white porcelain pieces that had become so popular in China. These potters started using signature marks and monograms on the tiles which made each one a true piece of art. The style soon spread to England and the rest of the world.
How To Make Hand Painted Tiles
Supplies For Hand Painted Tiles
Here are the supplies for making your own hand painted DIY Delft Tiles:
- 4×4 Ceramic White Tiles
- Graphite paper
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Cotton Pads
- Alcohol Ink Paint Pens
- Rustoleum Triple Thick Glaze
Step 1-Picking Designs and Practicing
The first step to hand painting ceramic tiles was to decide on some designs. I wanted a mixture of authentic Delft designs, ones I liked, and ones that were easy to draw. As with most projects, I turned to Pinterest.
Once I found designs that inspired me and that I liked, I started to practice. I took a tile and traced around the edges a couple of times to make a square the same size in my notebook. This helped me get the spacing and size right when I was practicing drawing the designs.
Step 2-Cleaning The Tiles
Next, we need to clean the tiles before painting them. Take a cotton pad with some isopropyl alcohol on it and wipe the tile clean. This will remove anything lingering dirt or residue on the tiles.
Step 3-Draw The Design On The Tile
Draw the design on the tile. I started with finding the designs and printing them out in the right size (about 2×2). Then I cut some graphite paper to size and placed it underneath my printed picture. Make sure to tape the papers in place so they don’t move while you are tracing.
Next, take the blue alcohol marker and trace the design onto the tile. I found in my research that most blue delft tiles had some designs in the corner even if there was no center design.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have good luck with the graphite paper transferring my design. So I started just free handing the design which adds to the charm of the hand painted tile.
If I made a mistake, I could either scratch it off with my fingernail or with an bit of rubbing alcohol on the tile. You have to let the tile dry before trying to draw the design again.
Step 4-Spray With A Top Coat
The tiles were pretty dry as soon as I drew my design with the alcohol ink marker. However, I did want to protect it with some kind of top coat. Since I wanted these tiles to look authentic, I tried a clear glaze from Rustoleum. It has a high gloss finish, but is a bit thicker than a regular clear coat.
This is my first time using the clear glaze, but it says it works on ceramics as well as many different surfaces. If you are using alcohol inks with this product, be careful not to spray it too close. Ask me how I know…my duck became a blurry shadow.
Step 5-Admire the After!
Here is how the tiles look after they are finished! I am so impressed with myself (not to toot my own horn!) These turned out even better than I thought they would! I loved being creative and painting designs on the tiles. This was such a fun process!
Be sure to check out when I get these up on my living room fireplace surround. I’m really excited to see how they look next to each other and once they are grouted. Should I try to age them a bit with some antiquing wax?
This project was very inexpensive to make these tiles. When I put them on my fireplace, the cost will increase, and I’ll update what those costs are in that post.
Tiles-$4 (13 cents a tile)
Triple Thick Glaze-$6.98
Total: $18.98 (and I only used one sheet of graphite paper and not a whole can of the glaze)
Other Methods For How To Hand Paint Tile
Here are some other ways for how to hand paint ceramic tiles:
Method 1-Porcelain Paints
The first method you can try is using porcelain paints on the tiles. With this kit, you will paint on the design with the paints and a paintbrush. Once the paint on the tile dries, bake them at 300 degrees for 35 minutes.
The paint shouldn’t change color, but now the tiles can be washed or cleaned without the design rubbing off. Note: if the paint is a few years old, it may change color in the baking process. I would recommend purchasing new paints for this project.
Method 2-Primer, Paint Pen, Top Coat
The second method is to take the ceramic tiles and hit them with a coat of primer first.
Next, take a paint pen in blue, green, or whatever colors you want and draw your designs.
Seal with a glossy top coat to keep the designs from rubbing off.
There are a few different ways for hand painting tiles that will get similar results. I really like these alcohol markers. They gave me good control and didn’t require thinning of any paint.
My favorite part about these DIY hand painted ceramic tiles is the versatility and customization. You can make any design and use them anywhere: backsplash, bathroom, fireplace, coasters, etc! It is also very inexpensive and something you can do with your kids! WIN WIN!