For this project, you'll need :
Ceramic tiles (you can get these super cheap at Home Depot or Lowe's; I paid $0.11/each for mine).
Paper and photos
Clear coat (not pictured, but I used automotive clear coat)
Adhesive felt pads
First, cut your paper and photos to the match the size of your tiles. I approached this two different ways: some I cut to the exact size, some I cut slightly smaller. I advise cutting them slightly smaller - this seems to help the edges seal better.
Any ModPodge will really do, but I chose the glossy. To adhere the paper/photos to the tile you can either apply the ModPodge directly to the tile
|This is the underside of a tile. If you look close, you can see the ModPodge streaks.|
|All tacked down. Seriously, how pretty is this girl?|
or to the item you're adhering.
I think I tended to get a better result when I applied it to the tile. I seemed to get more wrinkles with the paper application (note the bowing in the above photo).
Once the paper/photo is glued down, coat the top with more ModPodge. I did about 3-5 coats. Don't panic when you do this. It will go on white and goopy, but it will dry clear.
Try to apply it as smoothly as possible, but don't worry about streaks that may develop. It'll be okay. I promise.
Additionally, on the photo tiles, the ModPodge may pull up some ink. In my case, I've done all of my photos in more of an antique coloring. I honestly can't tell you how full color or monochrome photos will do. In my case, they dried out just fine.
|Calm down and breathe. It'll be okay. See...the Minnie ears are already clearing up.|
Let these dry fully. (I suggest overnight. And don't be checking them after four hours with your fingers people. Be patient.) In my experience, the paper ones tend to dry faster than the photo tiles.
|After 3 hours.|
|Also after 3 hours. Note that there isn't a red issue in the drying areas.|
Once they have dried, apply the clearcoat. I did this out in the garage. The fumes are, of course, awesome. Do these coats rather thin. This will prevent bubbling. You can add additional layers about every 30 minutes to an hour. We did three coats and then left them in front of our fireplace for a few hours. Collin then blasted them with another four to five coats the next day. He went a little overboard, but I admit they came out awesome.
If you run into bubbles, don't panic. I had that happen on a couple of them when we put the clearcoat on too thickly. Collin helped me solve the problem (mostly because I had a rather crazy panic attack). He wet sanded the areas to remove just enough clearcoat to get to the bubbles. After that, he just started over again - this time with THIN layers.
|Bet you can't guess which two were wet sanded and repaired...I can't...and I made them.|
After the final coat of clearcoat has dried for at least 24 hours, apply the adhesive felt pads to the underside corners. I put mine about 1/2" from the edges. Let the tiles cure for another 2-3 days in a warm location before stacking them, using them or putting anything on top of them. Stacking them early will result in imprints. (Hint: Your fingertips will also do this. DON'T TOUCH. Resist the urge. I know you can do it.)
And when you're all done, they should turn out nice and pretty and everyone will love them. Well...I will at least.
|We can occasionally be a presentable family. Oh...in case you can't tell...we like our sunglasses.|