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Jimsplace

Etching And Glazing Factory Glazed Ceramic Tiles

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I have a laser which I have been using to engrave designs into big store bought ceramic tiles.  Up to this point I have been color filling them with rub-n-buff or I have painted them and engraved off all the paint except the design itself.  Sometimes I mask the tiles and laser thru the mask and then paint and remove the mask after painting.  I also have a sand blaster which I sometimes use to etch the tiles deeper than the laser can do.

 

I have a kiln ordered that will fire cone 10.  I would like to color the engravings and fire them in the kiln so the completed tiles can be set using sanded grout.  i.e. more durability than with the process I now use.

 

Being brand new to this adventure with a kiln, I could use all the advice and recommendations you may wish to provide. 

 

The laser takes the factory glaze off and leaves a so I  am unclear as to which type glaze I should use and would china paints and/or india ink work?

 

The picture attached is close up of one of the tiles that has been engraved with the laser.

 

post-73721-0-47979600-1451689112_thumb.jpg

post-73721-0-47979600-1451689112_thumb.jpg

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Jim:

 

First, welcome to the forum. I cannot make any comments on laser etching, have zero background in that field although the pic looks very interesting. I can see where you could go many places with this venue. I cannot tell how deep the etching is from the picture, but will "assume" it is just through the glaze finish. There are some things I can help you with, however limited they might be.

 

First, production tile come in two primary varieties: 1. White bodied tiles, mainly wall tiles and some floor tiles can contain up to 70% talc. Study the properties about talc clay, learn the firing limits- because it can slump if you fire it too high. 2. The vast majority of floor tiles are made by a "biscuit" process: 3/16 to 1/4" talc body with a cap of 1/16 to 1/8 of porcelain. This process is cheaper to make for them and they can still legally advertise a porcelain tile even though it is primarily still a talc body. Either way you need to learn the limits of firing talc body pieces.

There are many others besides me that can teach you more about staining or painting glazes: not my area of expertise. I can however share one technique that is commonly used with crystalline glazes for surface treatment. It is very common and often intentional; to create crazing in the finish of crystalline pieces. Metal oxide powders are then rubbed into the crazed areas and strike fired for effect. Looking at your technique however this would limit you to primary an oxide wash type surface treatment. I look forward to seeing some of your finished work, sounds like you are delving into a relatively new area of art for ceramics.

 

Glaze Nerd

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You can check with the manufacturer of the tiles to see what temperature they can be fired to; mostly like, low fire.

 

You could also buy bisque tiles from a clay store, do your etching and color work with underglazes, then glaze fire them with a clear glaze. Those tiles are usually low fire also. That might be a better option than using glazed tiles as you would not have to try to match your glaze with theirs.

 

This is what our local clay supplier offers in terms of bisque tiles http://www.clayworkssupplies.com/moreInfo.cgi?i_group_id=4X4They fire to cone 03.

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Its maybe easier to control the whole process if you make it all which as you are new to the process will take awhile

-the other way is test test test as you do not know all the variables which will also take awhile.

It will be best to learn more about the tile you want to use like what ten are they fired to what type of clay etc

Making tile consistent is another from scratch is another whole process.

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Hey Jimsplace!

India inks are carbon based, and burn out at the lowest temperatures. China paints are *meant* to be used on a glossy surface, but that doesn't preclude using them on your porous surfaces with other effects. What kind of effects you ask? Test it and see. This is our second favourite answer to any question ever posted here. (The first favourite answer is "it depends.")

You could experiment with any number of underglazes to give you all kinds of colours. If you let us know where you are, we could suggest suppliers and more specific products.

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You can check with the manufacturer of the tiles to see what temperature they can be fired to; mostly like, low fire.

 

You could also buy bisque tiles from a clay store, do your etching and color work with underglazes, then glaze fire them with a clear glaze. Those tiles are usually low fire also. That might be a better option than using glazed tiles as you would not have to try to match your glaze with theirs.

 

This is what our local clay supplier offers in terms of bisque tiles http://www.clayworkssupplies.com/moreInfo.cgi?i_group_id=4X4They fire to cone 03.

 

 

Its maybe easier to control the whole process if you make it all which as you are new to the process will take awhile

-the other way is test test test as you do not know all the variables which will also take awhile.

It will be best to learn more about the tile you want to use like what ten are they fired to what type of clay etc

Making tile consistent is another from scotch is another whole process.

 

 

Hey Jimsplace!

India inks are carbon based, and burn out at the lowest temperatures. China paints are *meant* to be used on a glossy surface, but that doesn't preclude using them on your porous surfaces with other effects. What kind of effects you ask? Test it and see. This is our second favourite answer to any question ever posted here. (The first favourite answer is "it depends.")

You could experiment with any number of underglazes to give you all kinds of colours. If you let us know where you are, we could suggest suppliers and more specific products.

bciskepottery : 

I recon I will order some bisque tiles.  Was thinking that by using the laser to make pattern by removing the glaze I would actually be adding color to a bisque surface.  I see where a potential problem could exist between the glazes and cone levels now though.  Appreciate all the responses I have gotten.  Much to learn.

 

Diesel Clay;

Thanks, I will be trying the china paints on tiles I have on hand.  Seems like that process would work for trivets and hot plates. Appreciate that information.  I am located in Lafayette, In.  (The "right" side of the river.  :)  )  Don't tell my son I said that, he is Purdue grad.  :)

 

Mark C: 

I have been looking into doing the entire process myself.  Kiln is coming, so may as well put it to use.  And I like the idea of being able to make tiles to order.  One process I have been thinking of trying is putting "leather dry" clay in the laser and seeing how it "engraves" and if I can fill the impressions made with glaze to bring the image out.  Perhaps I will need dry  (green ware?) to do that?  Will experiment for sure.  I would like to make multi tile murals along with counter top, back splash and shower tiles that will hold up to installation and every day use. 

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I use to reglaze purchased tiles with vine type patterns, the vine or flower was the new glaze the tiles original glaze was the background.  I would test 5 or 6 different tiles with the same glaze and pattern, some you could tell they didn't work.  Others were sneaky,  the glaze would start popping off several months later. the glazes hadn't melted and bonded together.  A lot of patience and testing required.   Denice

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Guest JBaymore

 ................along with counter top, back splash and shower tiles that will hold up to installation and every day use. 

 

 

China paints are not all that durable.  Soft, VERY low fire glass.  So for longevity.... maybe not your first choice.  BUT...... it opens up a full painterly color palate.

 

Durability aside, I could see the process of the etched glazed surface maybe acting as a nice "resist" for applying the overglaze into the more porous underlying etched raw clay.  Cover the etched area with an excess of overglaze, then carefully "wipe" the surface to leave the overglaze only embedded in the recessed etched areas.  Sort of like inking an engraved etching plate.

 

Overglaze and lusters CAN be done... but the market will have to be the type of folks that can afford to take care of such installations (read "affluent").  As in what these folks are doing: http://www.sherlewagner.com/products/fixtures/sinks/     http://www.sherlewagner.com/finishes/china-hand-painted/    (I did a couple of years of glaze development consulting work for them years ago.)  Many of those pieces shown can't be cleaned with traditional cleaners....... or the overglaze and/or luster surface patterns will slowly wear off.

 

best,

 

.........................john

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