By Steve Spence
Magic? Since when did a ceramic tile become magical? Since we started sublimating them!
There is something about sublimated tiles that people love. I canâ€™t explain it. Maybe itâ€™s the weight of it or the why it feels to the touch. Certainly, they are beautiful and when people see them imprinted, they buy them. And they are certainly magical in the profit they can product too and thatâ€™s what I love about them.
A tile that costs less than two-bucks can easily sell for $15.95 and put four of them together to form a small mural and it can sell for $75 to $100!
The reason I focus on IronClad tiles is because they are a quality tile that only Conde sells and the coating is very consistent. Coating is everything with ceramic tile. Not that other tiles arenâ€™t good, they are but IronClad is Condeâ€™s pride and joy and rightly so. If you arenâ€™t experienced doing tiles, IronClad tiles is a great place to start.
As for how to make them successfully, tiles are easy. Just check out CondeTV by searching for â€œHow to Sublimate a Ceramic Tiles in a Standard Flat Heat Pressâ€. There is also a CondeTV video called, â€œImprinting Tile Murals with Dye Sublimationâ€ and one of the newest videos is â€œIronClad Tiles for Sublimationâ€. These videos will get you way down the road to being a professional tile imprinter. Click here for the Ceramic Tile Playlist on CondeTV.
The IronClad tiles by Conde make great general purpose tiles. They come in several sizes and three coatings, Gloss, Satin and Matte. There is a reason for three levels of coating besides the way they look. Obviously, the gloss tile results in a high gloss product much like a glossy photograph. The matte finish is just that. It looks like a matte photograph. The satin is somewhere between the two and gives a finished product that isnâ€™t as flat as the matte but not high gloss. But also, you will want to know the other difference which, in many cases, is far more important. Each level of coating is more resistant to scratching. The gloss finish is tough enough for normal use. The matte is extremely durable and perfect for applications where the tiles are going to get a lot of abuse. The satin is durable but you canâ€™t take a knife or key to it without scratching it. The choice of glossiness and durability is up to you and your customer.
So what do you do with a single tile? Surprisingly to me, people like to buy single tiles by themselves but if you want to take them to the next level, consider providing a small easel with them (available at craft stores like Michaels or A.C. Moore or amazon.com). You might also check out the metal easel stands made by UNISUB and sold by Conde. Item #U4220 will work for a 4x4â€ tiles and sell for only 76 cents. Because of the ridges on the back of the tiles, you may want to ahere them with some silicon adhesive rather than just the tape that comes with the easel but thatâ€™s no big deal. Of course, larger sizes are also available.
An even nicer way to display a tile is with the wrought iron â€œframesâ€ sold by Conde. These can hold one, two, three and up to 14 tiles to make a product worth well more than $150.
Another market is the fundraising market. Churches, various organizations including schools like tiles with a picture of their church, school or other facility on it. Let the organization sell and take orders for them. You can wholesale a single tile for $10 and let them sell them for whatever they want - $15 to $20 is common.
If you are really ambitious, consider showing small murals at home improvement shows, or to companies that do kitchens and bathrooms. Small 4, 6 or 8 tile murals can pull in $85 per sq foot wholesale and retail for $125 or more, plus installation.
If murals scare you a bit, try a four tile mural. At 16x16â€, you donâ€™t have to have a terribly huge size file to work with. Ideally, 300dpi per inch file will produce the highest quality product you could hope for. Even if you have to come down to 250dpi, you will still get a great end product. If you have an image that doesnâ€™t measure up, you can run the image through â€œAdobe Photo Essentialsâ€ to raise the resolution as much as 400%. That means you can start with an image suitable for a single 4â€ tile and use it for a 16â€ mural. The Photo Essentials program is inexpensive and available from either Conde or dealers like amazon.
HEREâ€™S THE BEST PART: If you ask your sales rep with your next order, Iâ€™ll bet they will give you a 4x4â€ ironclad tile for FREE! All you have to do is ask.