One of my coworkers has been asking me to put together a tile coaster class for her and a group of her friends. I love making tile coasters, and have finally found some time to figure this out for her. I spent time this weekend making up some samples. Unfortunately, all of the stamp sets that I own that work best for tile coasters are retired sets --but rather than buy several new sets, I have decided just to use these - they are some of my favorites, and really work beautifully for this project! You can click on images for a larger view.
There are a variety of methods to making tumbled tile coasters, and everyone has their favorite way to do these. You can find tutorials on Splitcoaststampers.com for alternative ways to do these. I personally prefer not to use methods that require me to spray an acrylic sealer over the tile. Since I want them to be used as coasters, I want the natural stone to maintain it's absorbency.
The best stamp set choices for making tile coasters are those with fine line drawing images, and plenty of area for adding color. Fat lines and solid images do not stamp as well in my experience. I love choosing stamps that have a lot of subtle detail - images with shading and stippling add a lot to this project!
When I make tile coaster, I purchase the "Botticino" brand tumbled tiles from Home Depot. I wash them to remove the powdery residue, and allow them to dry before beginning the project. Once dry, I stamp my focal image in Stazon (permanent ink) - Timber Brown is my favorite color choice. I like to use a background (especially French Script) so I mask the focal image, and then stamp the background in Stazon as well. For best results, allow the Stazon to dry overnight (it really does make a difference!) Then I use craft inks and a blender pen to color my images. It takes just a tiny bit of craft ink - I have all 48 Stampin' Up! colors in the Stampin Spots, and I smudge my desired colors onto a palette (a blank CD works great for this, and we all have one we messed up on or has gotten scratched laying around - or a free one AOL sent us, right). I pick up a little of the lightest color choice first, then add color for accent in darker shades. Once I have colored my images, I bake the tiles to "really" set the color. About 5 minutes at 375 seems to do the trick. Colors do fade slightly once the tile is completely dry, so keep this in mind when coloring your image and make them more vibrant than you may desire in your completed work. Once they are baked (and cooled) I add felt pads to the bottom of the coaster. Tie sets of 4 together with a ribbon and add a cute handmade gift tag and VOILA! These are a lot of fun to make, and make awesome handmade gifts.