Polymer clay tiles allow for a huge amount of creative freedom that commercially made tiles simply don't have. Using the technique demonstrated here you have virtually an unlimited colour choice and the freedom to add any textures of your choosing. Cut them to the size or shape you desire or add words and quotes to personalise them.
This technique uses polymer clay and alcohol inks.
- White Premo Polymer Clay
- Objects to create texture in your clay - for these tiles we have used dollies and rubber scrapbooking stamps. This is only limited by your imagination.
- Translucent liquid clay
- Alcohol ink
- Fine sandpaper (if you wish to sand the finished tile back to create a distressed look)
- Flat work surface (cover it with baking paper to easily remove your tiles)
- Toothpick or pointed object for mixing
- An acrylic roller (or you can use a glass rolling pin, wine bottle or smooth wooden roller)
A blade or knife to cut the clay (see our cutting tools)
- Paintbrush for applying liquid clay
Using this technique you can create a range of looks, like the beautiful tiles pictured below created by Valerie Brincheck.
1. Condition the Premo White Clay
If you are new to using polymer clay, click on this link to find our how to condition your clay. This step is very easy but absolutely essential. To help get your clay to a consistent thickness use guides to roll your clay, I use off cuts of board that are 4mm thick (the same thickness as a standard glass tile).
2. Texture your clay
This is the step where you can let you creativity go to town! I have created the textures in this project using doilies (picked up from an op shop), get a variety as they all have different patterns. You can even cut your doilies up into different shapes.
Another option is to use rubber stamps for scrapbooking. I have used these to create the tiles with writing and the rose, but the patterns and designs you can get are almost unlimited.
Tip: If you find that your clay is sticking to the stamp or other objects you can use a releasing agent to stop this. Talcum powder works well as does water (make sure you gently pat the moisture away with a paper towel after the clay is textured).
3. Cut your clay
Use a shape cutter or knife to cut your clay, I use a glass tile as a guide when cutting. Pull away the excess clay, leaving the cut tile untouched. Don't worry if there are leftover traces of clay around the clay, these can easily be cleaned up later.
4. Bake your tiles
Bake your clay pieces on an oven-proof glass or metal surface at the baking temperature and time listed on the package. DO NOT USE MICROWAVE OVEN. DO NOT exceed the recommended baking temperature or baking time. Carefully remove from oven and allow to cool. Baking should be completed by an adult.
275 °F (130 °C)
30 minutes per 1/4 inch (6 mm) thickness
While many items used with polymer clay may be found in our home kitchens, once used for polymer clay, they should not be used for food purposes.
Allow the tiles to cool completely.
5. Tint your liquid polymer clay
Use the alcohol ink to tint your translucent liquid clay. On a flat non porous surface (like a ceramic tile) put a drop or two of the ink on top of the liquid clay and allow the alcohol to evaporate before mixing the colour into the clay with a toothpick or fine pointed tool. A little bit of liquid clay and ink goes a long way, so use it sparingly. You can always add more ink or liquid clay later on.
To make these tiles I have used a combination of 3 different ink colours: sapphire blue, baja blue and silver. You can use them individually or combine them to produce different looks.
6. Colouring your tiles
Apply a thin layer of tinted liquid clay to your baked tiles. At this stage I just covered the tops of the tiles and once the tiles where adhered I painted the exposed sides of the tiles. You can use a paintbrush or your fingertip (gloves recommended) to apply the liquid clay. Allow the liquid to settle into the low spots of the pattern or texture. If you have too much clay on the tile, wipe some away. You can also remove some in spots to reveal more of the base. Experiment with this as it will produce different results, which adds interest to your final mosaic.