A friend of mine (Hi Amy!) was kind enough to show me how to do this project but I've been slow in posting for two reasons: first, I messed it up so I didn't want to post pictures of my disaster and then second, when I finally had a good one turn out it was very hard to photograph properly.
So I'm using Amy's finished product here to show you what it looks like--you can see how the picture looks like ceramic tile? She's made it into a picture for her wall but it's not tile at all but a picture glued on particle board with a thick resin coating and a frame.
So I'm going to explain how to do it but I'll use pictures from my first failed attempt and refer you to some other pictures on the web so you can get more ideas.
What you'll need:
- A tile board (made of particle board) you can make your own if you have the tools or you can buy them online at places like Provo Craft.
- Craft paint in the color you'd like for your background "grout."
- Mod Podge (found at any craft store)
- Pictures to use (cardstock too if you want that as a border. Amy scanned the fabric on her daughter's dress then printed it to make the matching border you see on the top picture she did--clever huh?)
- Envirotex epoxy (can be found at Michael's or other craft stores)
- foam brushes
- a plastic cup
- a popsicle stick for stirring
- a trash bag
- a frame (optional)
2. Once the paint has dried completely, use the Mod Podge to carefully glue the pictures or cardstock you will be using to the sections on the board. I cut strips from the corners, stuck them in place then trimmed them after they were dry.
This step isn't tricky but it's very important that you use a generous, uniform layer of Mod Podge underneath so bubbles don't develop as the pictures and cardstock dry.
3. Once you've glued them in place you'll add another generous and uniform layer of Mod Podge with a brush over the top and I mean generous.
I found that it works well to smooth it with your fingers because the surface of the foam brush can start to tear up the paper as its worked and worked and worked. Your finger runs right over the top without shredding anything.
It's very important that you give it a good layer over the entire board--even down in groove a bit--so that the pictures or cardstock are completely sealed in there otherwise the epoxy coating will seep into the places that didn't get good coverage. You can see how my border was beginning to bubble a bit--I had trouble with this one because I didn't put enough Mod Podge down underneath and didn't add enough on top. You can keep smoothing it as it dries and that helps quite a bit, you just can't smooth once and walk away.
4. Let the Mod Podge dry completely. Another place where I messed up the first time. It was a little wet when I went onto the next step and the texture on the picture was a little off because of it.
5. Once it's dry get your Envirotex resin. This is stuff that is equal to about 50 coats of varnish and you buy it in a box that contains two bottles of chemicals. You mix equal parts (about 1 ounce each) in a plastic cup and then get out your popsicle stick and stir for three or four minutes. You'll see a lot of bubbles and it might get a little cloudy but don't worry, that just means the stuff is mixing.
6. Get out your trash bag and put it in a room that has as little dust as possible where it won't be touched for a day or so. Boost the tile board on a couple upside down cans of food so that the extra epoxy can run off onto the trash bag without getting all over the place. (You put the cans upside down so that if you get any epoxy on the rims it won't keep you from opening the can when you need food).
7. Pour the mixed epoxy all over the top of the tile board. Use the popsicle stick to gently push and spread the thick goop down into the grooves and over the entire picture.
8. Once it's covered, gently blow on the picture to cause any bubbles that might have formed to pop and disappear (this was pretty easy when I did it--the bubbles kind of disappeared on their own, but it's the heat from your breath that helps them to go away. I've heard a gentle blow dryer can also work).
9. Now you'll need to let it sit for about 45 minutes. You'll want to put some kind of a tent over the top to keep dust from settling on the picture and I used a large plastic tub my kids use for their Legos. I just washed it out and inverted it over the whole set up. Instant dust-proof container.
10. In 45 minutes come back and with the popsicle stick push through the grooves in the picture to make sure they're not full of epoxy (you don't want it to settle too much in there or the tiled effect is lost). Another mistake I made my first time. Sigh. If you plan on framing it you might gently scrape around the edges to prevent against any large glops sticking and making it hard to fit a frame on later.
11. Let it dry for 24 hours in the dust-proof tent before pulling it out. It will be completely cured in 36 hours. Frame it if you want.
Now a couple notes here: while I've seen people frame their boards you could also prop them up in a mini tabletop easel without a frame. Pictures of your kids are fun but you could also use photos from calenders or even holiday cards. I was originally planning to do this at Christmas time and use a Christmas card but the only cards I could find that I thought would look good were very expensive and I wasn't going to pay $20 just to be able to use one card. Even if I used the rest for sending out it was too expensive.
Craft Warehouse has a picture of one that is done with a built-in frame on the board. Nice touch. And this website answers some questions you might have about the project. The boards themselves are rather expensive so if you're handy with a router and saw you can save a bunch of money cutting your own but if you only want to do one or two it's probably not too bad to just buy them online.
And congratulations to a different Amy from Anchorage, Alaska for winning the camping package giveaway from last weekend. Have a great time in the outdoors.
Sponsored by Tiny Prints for the holiday party invitations for children.