How to Make Handmade Tiles

Making and designing tiles—a great DIY project.

| September/October 1999

Tiles have a fascinating history, and the art of making and designing them can give you the satisfaction of working with your hands. Here, we will take you step-by-step through the process of preparing a tile slab. Tools you will need include cutoff wire, two strips of wood, canvas, smooth board or wallboard, a rolling pin, a metric ruler, a straightedge, a pencil, cardboard, pin tool, and clay. Access to a kiln—a special heating chamber—is also important. Standard kitchen ovens don’t get nearly hot enough to harden clay for tile.

You should be extremely conscientious about keeping your tools and equipment clean and your workspace properly ventilated. The air can get quite dusty when you’re making tiles. The kiln also should have proper ventilation. Be sure to protect your eyes with infrared-blocking goggles when you gaze into a hot kiln, and remember that pieces coming out of the kiln are extremely hot.

Once you have the equipment, and have taken the necessary precautions, you’re ready to begin making your own tiles.

The Slab

To make your slab, first wrap a piece of canvas over a flat board. Using the cutoff wire, slice a piece of clay 2' to 3' thick. Immediately put the leftover clay in a bag. If you leave it out, it will get dry and crumble.

Place the piece of clay you cut off on the canvas-covered board and pound it flat with the palm of your hand. Place one wood strip on each side of the slab to help you roll it into uniform thickness. Lay another piece of canvas over the slab and place the rolling pin on top of the strips. Roll until the slab is even in thickness.

Next, transfer your slab to another flat surface for mea­suring, cutting, and drying. To do this, place a piece of wallboard on top of the slab, then carefully flip the slab, which is between the wallboard on top and the canvas-covered board underneath. Transferring your slab this way will keep it from stretching out or losing its shape.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265