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Making tiles the right way

November 1, 2016

When you want to make ceramic tile the first thing to do is select the right clay. Clay with a high amount of grog is the best.  Sculpture and Raku clay are usually good alternatives for making tiles. 


Consider the thickness of the tiles, they should be thick enough to warp. Very thin tiles tend to change shape and warp. Do not bend your slabs while making the tiles. When you bend the clay when wet, it tends to warp in the firing. Use wooden boards and cloth as a way to handle the wet slabs without bending them.


Roll a slab of clay onto a wooden board with plastic under it to make it easy to remove the clay.  flip the clay over, and roll it on both sides when using a slab roller that has a single roller.
 

 

It is important to dry flat tiles evenly and slowly. Take extra care to dry both sides of the tile evenly. Keep tiles away from drafts, and cover the tiles with plastic to dry them slowly. 


Tips: 
1. Use a plaster board for the first day or two, then transfer tiles to a wire rack.
2. Wax the edges of the tile to  prevent them from drying  faster than the centre or wrap plastic over the edges.

 


To decorate tiles use a sketch  and transfer the design from a piece of paper onto the tile. Place your design on the tile and trace it onto the tile with a pen. 
To make your design a 3D image on the tile, image the parts that are closest to you different from the parts further. Carve away the parts that will be away from you using a carving loop tool or a caring knife. 

When bisque firing tiles, choose to stack tiles on top of each other or side by side.
For a low temperature firing, tiles can be put into tile stand. Differently, in a high firing, tiles must be put on a flat surface not to bend or slump. Remember that clay will shrink, take the shrink rate into consideration when making your tiles.

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