Big Ceramic Store Blog

Handmade Tile Wall Pieces - Part 2

Last week we started a wall tile series, and talked about a few things we will need like; clay and cutting tools, general working tools, decorating supplies, glaze and glazing supplies, and coming up with a design.

This week, we'll begin the actual tile process... rolling out the slab, cutting tile shapes, decorating and drying.

Since this is my first wall tile piece, I've decided to KISS it (Keep It Simple Silly!) I will be making a piece, 8.5" x 11", the same size as a piece of printer paper. That way, if you just can't come up with a design, you could print something off the computer as a template.

Let's get started! Grab your coffee and let's head to the studio. Ps... You probably already know how to roll a slab, but if you don't, you can get some tips here;  BCS Blog Tips & TricksI'm usually one of those people that comes up with a new idea, jumps right in, and tries to tackle the BIG project. Unfortunately, I'm often disappointed with the end result. I'm not real patient with "baby steps", and I'm sure some of you suffer with the same thing.

If you haven't made tile before, I urge you to try and contain the excitement of a huge piece, and scale it down with me. I know, I know... it's not easy, but, I'd love for all of us to enjoy the final results.

That being said, there are a lot of places you could start. I've decided to do "wet tile" work. That's working with, and designing, the tile before it gets to the leather hard stage.


Now, let's go over my design, and how I used it.

    • I sketched a hummingbird and calla lilies on an 8.5" x 11" piece of paper
    • Traced the design onto a sheet of clear plastic with a magic marker


  • Cut the clay in an 8.5" x 11" piece and put it on a piece of newspaper
  • Laid the plastic on the clay slab and traced the design with a Kemper Stylus


  • Cut the clay in twelve pieces


  • Slid the tiles (on the newspaper) onto a drywall ware board
  • Covered with another piece of newspaper and drywall ware board. The drywall will absorb moisture from the clay evenly and help the drying process.


  • Placed the ware board, with tile, on a drying shelf
  • Once the tiles are leather hard, go over the design with the stylus or sgraffito tool to emphasize the lines, and cut channels in the back of the tile aid in the drying.

Meet me here again next Wednesday (12/30/15) for the fun, decorative part of the tile process!

If you have questions, please comment on the post and I will answer them.

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