Monday, November 18, 2019

Decorative Vinyl Thanksgiving Tiles


Last week I made a decorative tile using a vinyl decal I cut out with my Silhouette. When I cut that decal out, I cut a couple of Thanksgiving themed decals at the same time. So this week, I needed to figure out what do do with those decals. I decided to apply them to 6 inch tiles, too, but this time, I decorated the tile with alcohol ink. I did a similar project last year with Halloween decals that turned out great, so I knew just what to do.


The first thing I did was separate each of my vinyl design and then weed out the cut bits of vinyl. I used a pick to get all of the tiny bits. This is one of the trickier parts of using these vinyl decals in what I'd describe as a medium size. They are big enough that they can be intricate, but the dots of vinyl in between the letters are tiny and sometimes pull up when you are weeding. So you have to be careful.

After my decal was ready, I grabbed my craft mat and all of my orange alcohol inks (and a couple of yellows).


I squirted a bunch of the shades of orange on the tile (though they all looked pretty similar). Then I used some canned air to spread the ink around.


The air spread the ink out, but I didn't have complete coverage, so I reached for some rubbing alcohol to spread and thin the ink out.


I used a misting spray bottle to apply the rubbing alcohol. It speckles the ink and creates a visual texture when it's sprayed on. I spritzed the alcohol on a few times to get the ink liquid again in places and blew it around with the canned air. Then I added in some darker and lighter shades of orange to create a bit more depth before I was happy with it. I wanted something that was interesting to look at, but not too busy, since I was going to be putting the decal over top.


My second decal was a turkey, so I grabbed my brown and terracotta colored inks for the background on that tile.


I started with the lighter colors (Sandal and Terra Cotta). They appear much more orange in this photo than they were in real life. I spread them around the tile with the canned air as best as I could.


Then I added in some darker browns to fill in the tile and make it more turkey colored.


I decided to spread the ink out a bit with the spritzer of rubbing alcohol again to try to get it a more even pattern (a little less busy with different colors). It's still busy, but it's a more evenly busy pattern with some interest. It was still darker in spots than I would have liked, but I called it and set it aside to dry.


Some of the edges of the tiles were still white, so I used some gold alcohol ink on a foam paint brush to finish coloring the edges of the tiles. Then I set them aside to dry.


After they had dried for about an hour (though longer would be better), I sprayed them with a couple quick coats of Kamar Varnish to seal the ink. If you plan to use your tiles as coasters or hot plates, you'll probably want to use another sealant over the Kamar Varnish, but this stuff works great to set and seal the ink without interacting with it. Since glazed ceramic tiles are such a smooth surface, my main reason for sealing them before I put on the decals was so that the transfer tape didn't pull up any ink.


After the Kamar Varnish had dried for several hours (over night would be best), I applied my decals. I used some paper transfer tape since the designs had little unattached bits all over. I would have been impossible to apply without the transfer tape. I applied the tape to my decal, burnished the edges and loose bits well with the back of my nail, then carefully peeled it off of it's backing and then applied it as straight as I could to the tile.


My favorite part of any vinyl project is when I peel the transfer tape back to reveal the decal in it's new home. I peeled the tape back carefully, making sure all of the vinyl bits had stuck to the tile.


And when it's all revealed it's so gratifying!


I repeated the process with my turkey decal on the brown inked tile.


This one came out a bit busier than I would have liked, but the design is still readable and cute, so it's a win!


These would work great as is on a shelf or mantel for Thanksgiving, and I might use them that way. What I'd really like to do is spray them with some heat safe engine enamel and use them as hot plates/trivets. I am worried, though, about how the vinyl decals will do with the heat from pots and pans. So if I try it out, I'll let you all know how it works!

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