By J Stephen Spence
Making a ceramic tile is daunting to some folks. There are pads and tape and a transfer (of course) and the times are long and â€œwhat is heavy pressure anyway?â€.
Although Iâ€™m not going to tell you every step of making a tile in my latest video, I do show you how to make a graphic for a tile that will work and I mean will let you create a perfect tile every time â€“ at least as far as the graphic is concerned.
The secret isnâ€™t really a secret at all. Everyone who makes tiles have learned that you have to leave a little image all the way around the tile. The reason? One, it is impossible to position a ceramic tile perfectly on an image that is the same size as the tile. Two, tiles vary slightly in size, even in the same batch and three, tiles expand when heated to 400Â° in a heat press.
To make it as easy as possible and to insure there is enough left-over image for a tile, I add 2/10ths of an inch to each side of a four or six inch tile and even more to a ten or twelve inch tile. This makes it super easy to position the tile in the center of the image, fold two sides of the transfer around to the back of the tile and tape them in place. If the tile shifts a tiny bit in the process, no problem â€“ I have extra image available.
When making a mural, you might want to reduce that extra image down to 1/10th of an inch so you donâ€™t sacrifice too much image between the tiles â€“ especially if you are working with a tile that doesnâ€™t have spaces to the edges. Just remember, the smaller the extra image, the more careful you have to be when attaching the transfer to the tile. NEVER try to put a 4â€ tile on a 4â€ image â€“ it almost never works. You need that extra little bit of image as insurance.
There are lots of things you can do with a sublimated tile. There are wire baskets and wall hangings and easels and trivets and message boards and a dozen other applications â€“ besides murals.
And the profit margin? Darn good. With a 4â€ tile ranging from about $1.35 to $2, and a retail of at least $15.95 each even without a trivet or other holding device, they are a great money maker.
Iâ€™m not sure what the attraction is for people to ceramic tiles. Maybe it is because they are so slick or the coolness to the touch or the weight. I really donâ€™t know but people are drawn to them so letâ€™s just leave it at that.
Havenâ€™t tried making tiles yet? No problem. Check out my new video on how to create the graphic and Condeâ€™s videos on making them and you will be an expert in no time.