How to Hand Paint Tiles

Written by katharine godbey
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How to Hand Paint Tiles
Hand paint tiles in a variety of designs and colours. (Tile image by Misak Nalbandyan from

Hand painting tiles is a fun project for both children and adults. Painted designs are only limited by the artist's imagination. From motifs matching a decorating style to personalised tiles holding family memories, these tiles have a variety of uses including wall finishes, coasters and kitchen trivets. Instead of spending a lot on purchased painted tiles, enjoy saving money by creating your unique works of art on plain tiles.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Plain ceramic tiles
  • Dish soap
  • Alcohol
  • Paint patterns or outlines
  • Enamel paints (for glass and ceramics)
  • Brushes

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  1. 1

    Wash the tile with soap and water. Dry it thoroughly.

  2. 2

    Wipe the tile surface with alcohol to remove any residue that would prevent the paint from adhering to the tile.

  3. 3

    Use a paint pattern either purchased from a craft supply store (see Resources) or personally designed to begin painting the outline of the desired design. Let dry before proceeding.

  4. 4

    Paint in the smaller areas, shading over the larger areas where needed. How the areas are painted is largely at the discretion of the painter and the complexity of the paint design.

  5. 5

    Finish the design by outlining with black or a contrasting colour to create more depth in the design. Allow to dry completely overnight.

  6. 6

    Bake tiles in an oven according to the paint manufacture's guidelines.

Tips and warnings

  • Paint designs created for both wood and glass surfaces can be used for painting tiles.
  • Designs can be any style such as copying from art styles or using decorative folk art designs.
  • Paint layers of enamel glaze or polyurethane after baking for additional protection from scratching. Test the glaze before using it to make sure it will not lift the paint from the tile.
  • Wear protective apron or painter's smock to protect clothing.
  • Do not use enamel paint designed for model cars and planes. Use a craft or art enamel specific for painting glass, metal and ceramics.

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