Photo Tile Mural
Transform your favorite photo into a one-of-a-kind multi-tile mural
You'll need the following materials:
- A photograph, preferably something you can resize easily to accommodate the finished size of your project without becoming fuzzy and losing detail.
- Photo editing software such as photoshop that will allow you to work with your picture in "chunks" that are large enough to fit on one piece of tile at a time.
- Glazed ceramic tiles to mount pieces of your picture on. The number of tiles required will depend on the size of your finished project and the size tile you choose. 6X6 white field tiles were used on the sample project shown here and are a nice size for this type of project, though you may choose larger or smaller tiles depending on the desired finished size of your project. **Unlike projects that use tumbled marble tiles, you will want to make sure that the tiles you select are as perfect as possible (i.e. that tile edges are completely straight with no chips, and that the tile itself does not have any scuff marks, etc. that would mar the finished image). Local home centers such as Lowes and Home Depot both carry tiles that are excellent for a project such as this.
- A sharpie or other marker so you can label each tile with its number and orientation on the back so you can assemble your project easily at the proper time
- A frame large enough to accommodate the number of tiles required for your finished product. Frames for multi-tile projects can be found on-line from vendors such as Paramount Services, Inc (website address: http://www.dye-sublimation-products.com/cgi-bin/sublimation-store/web_store.cgi?page=tileframe.html&cart_id=%%cart_id%%)
- Silicone adhesive to glue the tiles into the frame such as those offered by Paramount Services, Inc.
- Polyurethane. I have found that MinWax spray polyurethane works nicely. You can get it in both glossy and satin finishes and can use whichever one will give the results you want.
- Lazertran Waterslide Decal Paper for Inkjet Printers. This is available on-line only. I have not found it in any of our local stores.
- Small rubber brayer or rolling pin.
If you have all of the above materials it's time to begin using the following instructions:
- Size your picture so that it is large enough to accommodate the overall dimensions of your project. Because you will be assembling your final project from several tiles and these tiles will butt up against each other, you will want to be sure that you resize your photo so that it allows for complete coverage of each tile. That is, the portion of the picture that is placed on each tile must cover not only the top of the tile, but the sides as well so the picture appears to be seemless when it is assembled.
- I have found that allowing an extra 1/3 of an inch both horizontally and vertically for each tile piece gave good tile coverage for the assembled piece. This meant that rather than clipping my master photo into twelve 6X6 inch pieces, I needed to clip it into twelve 6.3 x 6.3 inch pieces.
- Therefore, I sized my photo so that I could break it into twelve 6.3 x 6.3 pieces. This meant that to obtain a finished project size of 18 X24 inches, I had to size my master photo to be approximately 19 X 25.3 inches
- For Epson printers, set the paper type to "Plain Paper". Go into custom then advanced and select a high DPI setting such as 1440 or as high a quality as is available. Now make sure "High Speed" printing is not selected to avoid putting on too much ink.*
- According to Lazertran, for basic HP printers, draft is a good setting. I have not tried this as I do not have an HP printer.
- If you are printing multiple pieces in quick succession (i.e. before you actually place them on labeled tile pieces), it is a good idea to write the number of the tile that the picture piece corresponds to on your printed picture segment.
* Except for the paper type, these instructions are copied from Lazertran's directions and I have found them to work very well. I did not see a need to set the DPI higher than 1440 as 1440 seemed to produce an excellent image.
**Remember, you do not have to complete all of these steps at one time. You can work on one piece at a time and complete the project at your leisure.