June 17, 2007

Tile Engraving

Filed under: General,Kids Projects,My Drawings/Paintings — sarah @ 9:37 am

Polyp tile


*White ceramic tiles

*Candle and matches



*Masking tape

As it is the Scouting Centenary this year there have been lots of commemorative events, one of which was the Centenary Camp at our District’s camp. I found myself in the craft tent there and I was to do tile engraving, though it was stretching the term engraving slightly I felt!

I had never done this before and had a bag full of equipment and some vague instructions so I arrived two hours before the kids were due, in order to have a go and work out the best way of doing it!

My first issue was that I had tea lights and normal tall candles without any candlesticks, so I ended up using the tea lights as candlesticks for the larger candles after a brief aborted attempt at smoking the tiles on tea lights!

The idea of this craft activity was that you black out the tile over the candle and then use a toothpick to draw a picture or pattern, then you spray it with a sealant – in this case hair lacquer.

I was obviously a little concerned about burnt fingers, which was my main reason for experimenting, but other pitfalls soon became apparent.

You have to get the tile touching the flame so that soot actually gets deposited onto the tile, making it black, but if you go too close, wax is precipitated onto the tile, making drawing hard and giving affected areas a shiny, almost brown, look. I used a cloth to wipe affected areas and put them back over the candle.

I found holding the tile at a 40 degree angle over the candle flame was effective in getting a lot of soot deposited onto the tiles. Also angling the thing towards you so that you can see how things are going helped a lot, but it did mean lowering your line of sight slightly for most people.

My first attempt was very blotchy with lots of wax on it and smeary fingerprints all round the edge but I drew on it anyway to see how well that worked and whether the hairspray would actually seal the picture.

The main issue the children and I had with this was trying not to rest your hand on the tile whilst drawing on it – we all had to re-smoke the resulting white patch were we had wiped the soot off!

Also I found that you had to be ‘light’ handed with the toothpick otherwise it would jump and skid on the tile, ruining the picture or writing you were attempting!

I was only allowed to do this craft with the older children, ie Scouts and Explorer Scouts. Even so, I was concerned about the burnt fingers and after trying to black out a second tile found that though I was no longer making it blotchy or getting wax on it, I just could not make the edges neat, as you have to hold the tile!

I then hit upon the idea of making a border of some sort and because I have been painting lots recently I wondered on the idea of using masking tape around the edge of the tile – this would hopefully create a nice neat border and prevent the children from burning their fingers.

I stole some masking tape from the Junk Art stall and proceed to experiment – my main concern had been that the tape would catch fire or it just wouldn’t work as a neat border. However it worked better than I had expected, though obviously I then had to stress that you needed to move the tile about, otherwise the masking tape would catch fire, which did happen a couple of times resulting in a brown sticky patch on the tile – this took some wiping off!

Blacking out the tile over the candle. Blacking out the candle

Smoked out tile ready to engrave! smoked out tile

the beginning Oh dear

One of the Explorer’s tiles – he decided to have a go without a border.

Tile again

Masking tape as a border. Will it work!

Here are some of the kids’ finished tiles!

Demon with border Flower tile Druming tile Demon with border

Tiles More tiles

My first attempt Oh dear Second attempt Polyp tile

The only thing I found abit iffy about this project is that you had to spray the tiles several times with the hairspray and still it is only just touch safe. Anything touching it will scrape the picture off it! I’m wondering if better quality spray would be a better idea or perhaps actually using proper sealant.

One response to “Tile Engraving”

  1. […] Anyway the results are on Salaric including the Polyp tile I made for Alaric! […]

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