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#1 Bill R.

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 09:46 PM

We have a project in our house that I have decided would be real fun to try and make my own tiles for. I have a slab roller so that part should be easy enough. However I do know from experience that clay seems to have a mind of it's own sometimes and I am worried about he tiles warping as they dry. There must be numerous ways to control this problem. Anyone have any experience and some tips that might make things easier. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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#2 Denice

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 10:47 PM

We have a project in our house that I have decided would be real fun to try and make my own tiles for. I have a slab roller so that part should be easy enough. However I do know from experience that clay seems to have a mind of it's own sometimes and I am worried about he tiles warping as they dry. There must be numerous ways to control this problem. Anyone have any experience and some tips that might make things easier. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Bill R.Posted Image


Bill I have made thousands of wall tiles with my slab roller. I can share with you a few tricks to help with even shrinkage and warping, you should expect some of that no matter what you do. When I roll the clay through the roller twice slightly thicker the first time and flip it 90 degrees the second time. This is suppose to help even out the shrinkage because of stretching of the memory of the clay, it seems to work for me. I rib the canvas imprint off the clay and flip it on to a piece of sheet rock, lumber yards around here sell broken ones cheap. You don't want to use the dipped edges of the sheet rock anyways. I had tile cutters made at a sheet metal place but you can cut them with a knife or an pizza roller and a straight edge. Handle the clay as little as possible, I try to keep my sheet rock pieces the same size and then stack them let them dry until leather hard and then move the tile to racks in my drying cabinet. I tend to get in a hurry and probably would have less warping. so I make lots of extras. The tiles that had no warping were pressed in the center with a design from a plaster mold, the design was pressed first and then I cut the tile out. Hope this helps you.

Denice (Wichita, KS)

#3 Linnet

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 06:33 PM

I would only make a tile from slab roller if the tile was irregular shape, which I have done. I find the plaster mold best even if the front of the tile is not textured, raised or recessed. only square sided. Also I find by scratching the base of the tile keeps it flat in the drying and firing process.
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#4 waysouth

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 11:00 AM

My experience is that the most important part of creating flat tiles is careful drying. I always lay my finished tiles out on several layers of newspapers, on top of drywall (with the edges taped to avoid having any plaster disasters!). I then cover them with several layers of newspapers and stack the boards with tiles about 3 layers high... finishing off with several "empty" pieces of drywall so the top remains flat. I change out the newspaper as it absorbs the moisture from the clay about once a day (more often if I am trying to speed the process up). I also recommend that you are sure the tiles are completely dry before firing to bisque. This is alot of work and several weeks time, but it is a sure fire way to achieve flat tiles.. I even raku my tiles and they are for the most part very flat. Good luck, I hope this helps.

#5 Brenda Neall

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 08:08 AM

I agree that slow, careful drying is the answer. Most of the tiles I do are relief tiles so the stacking on and in between sheets of drywall isn't feasible. I found that drying my tiles on wire shelving units works well - see attached pic.

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#6 Chris Campbell

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 10:35 AM

I am going to give a method taught to me by Elizabeth Priddy ... I did not believe it would work, but time and time again it does.

She noticed that when tile companies make tile they lay them flat and never touch them again through the whole process.
So her idea one was to find a way to make tiles ... then leave them 100% alone until they are hard ... not even a tiny touch!

So you roll the slab, then roll across with a hand roller or by rolling a second time at 90 degrees. Release from the cloth.
Cut them to size.

Slide them off the cloth sideways without lifting onto a flat board covered with newsprint.
Drop the tile covered boards onto the floor from less than waist high ... once or twice.
Do not touch them again until they are leather hard.

I have taken the board out into the yard and let them dry in the breeze ... it works better than any other way I have tried.
I know ... it sounds like it won't ... but try it.

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
www.ccpottery.com

TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#7 Jennifer Harnetty

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 10:42 AM

We have a project in our house that I have decided would be real fun to try and make my own tiles for. I have a slab roller so that part should be easy enough. However I do know from experience that clay seems to have a mind of it's own sometimes and I am worried about he tiles warping as they dry. There must be numerous ways to control this problem. Anyone have any experience and some tips that might make things easier. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Bill R.Posted Image


Hi Bill,

Here is a great article on flat tiles.... http://ceramicartsda...s-the-easy-way/

Good luck with your project!

Jennifer Harnetty, editor, Ceramic Arts Daily

Jennifer Poellot Harnetty
Managing Editor
Ceramic Arts Daily
www.ceramicartsdaily.org


#8 JeanB

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 02:18 PM

How are you getting along with the tile project Bill? Did you decide on any particular method? I made tiles for our bathroom which were a success - minimal handling and turning the clay over for a last roll so that the stretch is equal on both sides, slow drying with boards inbetween and a weight on top, and that was it. I don't have a slab roller so this was a rolling-pin and guide-stick job. Once cut out Ithey were not touched until the last leather-hard stage, then only stacked etc. Not one warped and I was totally chuffed as it was my first attempt at a quantity like that.

#9 GEP

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 10:21 AM

Chris Campbell wrote:

"Slide them off the cloth sideways without lifting onto a flat board covered with newsprint.
Drop the tile covered boards onto the floor from less than waist high ... once or twice.
Do not touch them again until they are leather hard."



I admit I was skeptical about this technique, but now I have tried it and it works for me! I find that one drop is enough to keep the tiles flat. A second drop doesn't improve the flatness, and sometimes it distorts the tiles from squares to trapezoids. So I drop them once and leave them uncovered and unbothered. I wouldn't say they are as flat as commercial field tiles, but I think they are flat enough to install. And they are clearly flatter than the ones I made before, when I dried them between sheets of drywall. And I love that they dry in a few days uncovered, compared to the three weeks it takes to dry them between drywall. Here's a photo:


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#10 Chris Campbell

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 05:56 PM

No one believes this works so I am thrilled you tried it!

Why people want to add days of work and heavy drywall is beyond me.
I have used this method for years ... Leather hard tiles in hours, not days.

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
www.ccpottery.com

TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#11 SShirley

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 08:46 PM

Chris,

I don't understand a couple of things. The part about releasing it from the cloth. What do you mean by that? And the part about sliding them off the cloth sideways.

I want to try this.

Thanks,

Sylvia

I am going to give a method taught to me by Elizabeth Priddy ... I did not believe it would work, but time and time again it does.

She noticed that when tile companies make tile they lay them flat and never touch them again through the whole process.
So her idea one was to find a way to make tiles ... then leave them 100% alone until they are hard ... not even a tiny touch!

So you roll the slab, then roll across with a hand roller or by rolling a second time at 90 degrees. Release from the cloth.
Cut them to size.

Slide them off the cloth sideways without lifting onto a flat board covered with newsprint.
Drop the tile covered boards onto the floor from less than waist high ... once or twice.
Do not touch them again until they are leather hard.

I have taken the board out into the yard and let them dry in the breeze ... it works better than any other way I have tried.
I know ... it sounds like it won't ... but try it.



#12 Chris Campbell

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 09:34 PM

I use an old bed sheet between the clay and the canvas cover for the slab roller ...so what I do is just pull it off both sides of the rolled clay.
If you just roll or throw slabs this step might not exist ... The clay just has to be free ... Not stuck to a surface.

When you move them to the board, don't lift them ... Bring the board up to the same level and slide the tiles onto it.
Then drop it from waist height and leave them alone until they are stiff enough to lift without any clay movement at all.

They will warp wherever you touch them if you fiddle around. Leave them alone inside, outside, in the.sun or shade.

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
www.ccpottery.com

TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT





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