Use these simple instructions to make beautiful oven-baked clay tiles. These unique tiles can be used for walls or as interesting works of art.
Decorative clay tiles are simple to make, and they add interest and appeal to basic home decorating projects. They can be used as decorative plaques or as ornamental wall tiles. These tiles will give a custom-designed look to the interior of your home.
To make a decorative clay tile you will need oven-bake clay, an old rolling pin, a pointed knife, polyurethane, paintbrushes, latex enamel craft paint, carving tools, fine-grit sandpaper, a baking pan, seashells, beach glass, polished stones, flat glass marbles, or other heat-resistant decorative items.
For last-minute clay carving and decorating tools, make use of implements such as pointed nail files, dental instruments, metal or wooden skewers, or other ordinary household objects. Small metal-edge cookie cutters are also excellent for decorating clay tile projects. They are available in a wide-variety of shapes and sizes, and they can be found in most large discount stores and specialty shops.
Start with a portion of oven-bake clay about the size and shape of a tennis ball. Pat the clay down until it’s about one inch thick. Roll it out using an old rolling pin. Try to make it a level thickness of approximately 1/8 of an inch. Using a crisscross motion while rolling out the clay will help to make it even.
Find an object to trace around, or use a ceramic tile for a stencil. Cut out the clay tile using a pointed nail file or a knife. Remove the surrounding clay scraps, and set them aside for future use.
Run a knife with a thin blade under the clay tile, and carefully transfer it to a baking sheet. Once on the baking sheet, you can begin carving designs into the clay tile using tools of your choice. You can add polished stones, shells, glass beads, Indian arrowheads, or other ovenproof decorations of your choice. Gently press the objects into the clay. Apply moderate pressure so they don’t go through the back of the tile.
A wonderful treasured keepsake can be created using oven-bake clay. Parents, grandparents, and caregivers can create a lasting impression of a baby’s hand or foot in the center of a ready-to-bake clay tile. Carve the name of the baby on the front of the tile, along with the date the impression was taken. The clay impression will generate fond memories that will last forever. This clay keepsake would make a wonderful gift for grandparents or other close relatives of the child.
If you want to use your tile as a wall hanging, remove the eraser from a lead pencil, and use it to make a hole in the top center of the tile. Be sure to accurately center the hole so the tile will hang straight. When completed, bake the clay tile according to package directions.
After the tile has cooled, gently sand the rough edges and any imperfections from the face of the tile with a piece of fine-grit sandpaper. After sanding, you can either paint the tile with acrylic enamel craft paint, or you can leave it naturally colored. If you are decorating your tile with shells, they can also be painted using thinned acrylic enamel paint. Give the completed tile a durable coat of polyurethane. The polyurethane will provide long-lasting shine and protection.
If your finished tile is going to be used as a plaque, tie a pretty satin ribbon or a piece of raffia through the hole in the top. A clay tile plaque can also be attractively displayed on a small wooden easel. These decorative clay tile plaques make wonderful gifts for friends and loved ones.
Handcrafted clay tiles would look impressive when placed on a wall along with ceramic tiles. Use a handcrafted clay tile in place of every 5th or 6th ceramic tile. Stagger them within every other row to create a very unique tiled wall.