Saturday, May 5, 2012

Craft Project: Alcohol Ink Tiles Part 4: Sealing and Protecting Tiles

(2/5/2014--EDITED TO ADD) The gloss spray didn't work for some people. There have been a lot of comments on this post. There are a lot of things various people have tried. I really love the community on this post. Everyone has really provided some great insight on the sealing process. It's wonderful to see what others have tried and what has worked or not worked. This is what I think is so amazing about the blogging world! So thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment. And keep the sealing ideas coming!

(6/27/2013--EDITED TO ADD) I WAS NEW TO SEALING ANY ART PROJECTS WHEN I FIRST WROTE THIS POST. THE PROCESS BELOW IS VERY LENGTHY AND INVOLVED. YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO ALL THIS AND BESIDES IT DOESN'T EVEN SEAL YOUR TILES PROPERLY. YOU CAN SIMPLY USE A CLEAR GLOSS SPRAY (LIKE KRYLON'S TRIPLE THICK CLEAR GLAZE) AND IT SHOULD WORK FINE. :-)

We have now reached my least favorite part of this project: sealing the tiles. This is the tedious portion of the process. You have to do many layers and wait...wait...wait.

I found this process in the comments section of Aimee's "Fun with Alcohol" post. It was shared with her by someone else. And I asked Aimee if it was okay if I posted it again, she said no problem!

Here is what you will need:
---Krylon Workable Fixatif
---Krylon Matte Finish (though I wonder why you couldn't use Gloss...I may try that next time)
---Pledge Vinyl & Tile Floor Finish with Future Shine
---a foam brush
---a well-ventilated area


I had a bit of a tough time finding all of these products easily. You can get the Fixatif and Matte Finish in the spray paint section at Michael's. But I had to go to two different Michael's before I found it (and I started off looking at Home Depot and Walmart before I got to Michael's). I got the Pledge Floor Finish at Walmart only AFTER I made the mistake of buying Pledge WOOD Floor Finish. I bought the first bottle on Amazon because I have Amazon Prime and I was sick of driving all over looking for supplies so I thought it would be easier to just order it and have it show up at my door. I didn't realize I had ordered the wood floor variety (I was in too big of a hurry to notice).

Step One: Spray a light mist of the Fixatif over your tiles. I held the can about a foot away. If you hold the can too closely or put too much on, you will notice some speckling in the ink on your tile (this could actually be a good effect if you want it). Let this dry 45 minutes to an hour.

Step Two: Spray a light mist of the Matte Finish over your tiles. Wait 15-30 minutes and repeat. I added four layers total of Matte Finish. And let the final layer dry for a couple hours before doing the next step.

Step Three: Using a foam brush, apply a layer of the Pledge Vinyl & Tile Floor Finish to each tile. The floor finish is VERY thin. So you do not need much to cover the tile. You will also notice some tiny bubbles when you first apply. These actually disappear when the tile dries. I waited 8 hours or so between applications and I did three or four coats (I can't remember now) total.

Your tile will have a matte finish in the end. This is where I'm wondering if you use the Gloss Finish instead of Matte in "Step Two" if the tile will end up shinier. But they look great! And I've been using one for a day already and it hasn't scratched or anything so hopefully the seal will last for awhile and not scratch the ink off with use.

Some things I learned:
--I did use the wood floor finish on one set of tiles before I realized I had the wrong kind of floor finish. And the wood finish made the alcohol ink really run. So some of our taped tiles where we had white left were no longer white and the colors mixed together more. BUT, I was able to salvage this by using a Q-tip to scrap away on the white lines and start the sealing process over again. I used the correct floor finish and these tiles seemed to seal properly after this.

--It is important to wait for all steps to dry properly. If not, the inks may lift up or spread or mix together when you add the Floor Finish. I probably waited longer than I needed to, but I wanted to make extra sure the ink was going to stay.

--Press lightly with the foam brush, even though you can let everything dry properly, I still discovered that the warmer ink colors (Watermelon and Wild Plum) were particularly susceptible to spreading and lifting up onto the foam brush. The tiles that I sealed properly from the beginning did not have as much of this issue as the ones I did wrong. But, the Wild Plum ink still came up a tiny bit.

(EDITED TO ADD 6/8/12)--My mom used her coasters with a glass with cold liquid in warm weather. The glass sweat and made the ink rub off. :-( She was so disappointed! So I guess this method only seals against mugs with warm liquid in them and regular glasses with room temperature liquid in them. I will have to continue to play with finding a more permanent seal.)


I've also heard of people using Mod Podge to seal their tiles. I would be VERY curious if anyone else has found another solid way to seal them (maybe one that is less time consuming). But this process does seem to work pretty well. Not sure I would put any of this through a dishwasher or anything like that. I wonder how long these tiles will last with this seal. Maybe I'll come back to add that in after using my tile for awhile.

Finally, we added foam pads in each corner of the tiles and I had the girls sign and date their work. Now, it's ready to be wrapped up for Mother's Day!

Overall, the girls and I LOVED this project and already have plans for more projects with the alcohol inks.

34 comments:

  1. your tiles look so great. thanks for the tip on the sealer!

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  2. they look great! i hope the seal lasts!

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  3. on youtube, there are 2 videos showing you how to make your own alcohol inks with permanent markers and 90% rubbing alcohol. I was also going to try some fabric dye and alcohol. I believe the blending solutions is mostly alcohol.

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  4. also the Floor Finish used to be known as "Future Floor Finiah" before Pledge bought it, so in the crafter's world, you will find references to FFF - it can be used for a glue, sealer and a varnish. I glue torn up pieces of tissue paper to glass vases with it, then put a couple more coats on top. The tissue dries transparent, so also looks nice on things with a small candle light in it.

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    1. I also made about 30 of those for my daughters wedding, using the $1.00 glass candle holders from the Dollar Tree...the ones that look like a High Ball Glass with a very thick rounded solid bottom, and added paper flower table scatter on top of the tissue, just a few 3-5 max. I also hid a tiny disco hamster sticker on a few whomever found it got a small prize ( no drinking or dancing at the reception, we had to entertain ourselves somehow!)

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  5. akartisan: what a neat idea with the tissue paper and glass vases! I will be sure to remember that. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  6. I read elsewhere that you can use this product on alcohol ink tiles. Haven't tried it yet, but I will!

    Rust-Oleum 63281 Watco Lacquer Finish Spray, Clear Satin

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    1. Pat! Thank you so much for posting your suggestion! My girls asked me recently to do this project again and I certainly would like to try a different way of sealing the tiles.

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  7. I will give the Rust-Oleum Lacquer Finish Spray a try and report back :)

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    1. I was also wondering how the Krylon Triple Thick Clear Spray would work. I have a few extra tiles from last year. I'll give that a try and report back as well. :-)

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    2. I know that there are many people who use krylon triple thick glaze to seal the AI projects

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  8. I am an art teacher and have had great success in letting the alcohol ink dry overnight and then sealing with 3-4 coats of acrylic gloss medium. This is a clear gloss that is permanent and will seal the ink from running at all. You can also put a couple of coats of the gloss medium down, wait to dry, then draw on the tile with permanent marker if desired. :) We've also done these on glass stemware and glass blocks used in bathrooms for windows. :)

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    1. Debby, Thank you for your comment! I was pretty new to any sort of sealing process when we first created these tiles. I have since done a few other projects that needed to be sealed and have learned the above process is waaay more involved and tedious than it needs to be. I agree that a clear gloss would work great for these...and now I'm off to add a note to this post to save other people the hassle of the this lengthy sealing process. ;-)

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    2. Ok to update: I just finished teaching an art camp for middle schoolers. Due to budget constraints, I decided to try Mod Podge for sealing instead of acrylic gloss medium. FAIL. The kids really liked to paint 'strokes' with the Mod Podge, which ended up taking some of the alcohol ink off. The ones that succeeded had visible brush strokes on their tiles when the Mod Podge dried, even though we put on a coat in one direction, let it dry, then put on another coat in the opposite direction (side to side, then up and down). Also - if you stack the tiles after sealing with Mod Podge, even after days of drying, they will STICK and pull the Mod Podge and paint off. In short, don't use it! :/

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    3. Debby, Thank you so much for reporting back! It's definitely a process and I think it's good to try different things. We always learn something, even if what we learn is that something doesn't work! It's too bad the kids' projects didn't work out, but at least you know for next time. :-)

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  9. When I paint my wine glasses I bake them to set the ink/paint and make it permanent. I was wondering if anyone has used a baking finish and how its worked.

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    1. Natalie, what a great question! I haven't tried that, but would love to know if it worked for someone. I actually just googled baking alcohol inks to see if I could find any information and nothing helpful came up.

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  10. I use the Krylon Triple Thick Glaze to seal tiles.....usually 3 to 4 coats...it works the best of anything I tried

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  11. I use the Krylon Triple Thick Glaze...3 to 4 coats...works great

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  12. ok but have you tried to pour alcohol on these sealed tiles ...I used krylon crustal clear permanent finish and it lifts right off with alcohol...I haven't tried triple thick glaze yet.

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  13. I have started making these tiles last September. LOVE IT BUT I've had issues with the coatings. I've tried Krylon triple thick glaze, Krylon Acrylic Spray, Modpodge acrylic spray and for some reason when i've stacked them to ship (a friend wanted a set) the pads on the bottom rubbed the coating off of the tile it was touching and left noticeable imprints. It did not mess up the ink though just the coating. this keeps happening. Any suggestions? Also, which do the coatings mentioned work well for hot items?

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    1. I didn't have any issues with my initial sealing of the tiles (outlined in the post) with hot items. Only cold or glasses that had condensation on them. So I think if you're only using them for coffee cups or such, it should be ok.

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    2. I made some for trivets, and I thought very much about the sealer for an item that someone might take out a 450 F degree oven and set on it? and I made ART, they were gorgeous! did not want them ruined. So ...I went to the Automotive store, prices are different at each one up to $4.00 difference call and ahead and make sure they have this and how much..It's not cheap...BUT it is ENGINE SEALER..Clear Gloss, CLEAR GLOSS, takes heat up to 1200 F degrees! and as long as the tile was level, nothing was ruined. Other projects I have ruined with the Krylon Clear Gloss, but the triple thick and the SATIN are ok. I do not care for matte, and if you spray matte onto any metallic paint or INKS, they are immediately Dulled!! they are not longer shiny metallic colors. wah! So, don't do that!
      So, I put a Matte on ones that have no metallic paints on, then spray later after dried with the triple thick or the satin. I used that gloss the other night on a tile that had dried for two weeks and the whole thing was a blue when I came back to see if it was dry. Then I just pour alcohol on them let it soak, use plastic scraper, and it's off in a jiffy and I can start all over with a clean tile. I tried this method on a trivet and I COULD DO IT< but it was very difficult, and took a lot of soaking and scraping and soaking and scraping...

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  14. I'm using the triple thick glaze and have found that if I rub my finger across the tile with just a little pressure, the paint and glaze flake right off. :/ I waited 24 hours so I don't believe drying time is the issue. I don't want to spend all this time and give these to people and have them ruined in just a use or two. :/ Suggestions?

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    1. Man, you wouldn't think it would be THAT hard to figure out a way to seal the tiles! Grrr! I admit we haven't tried these again so I haven't had to experiment with sealing them again. I know I tried a polyurethane spray on our painted flower pots (that was acrylic paint) and that worked really well outdoors in the elements in the summer. I wonder if that would work on the tiles? That would be my only suggestion! If you try it, come back and let me know how it works! So sorry the triple thick didn't work out!

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  15. I did this earlier this year and I baked my tiles on low heat for a couple hours. THEN I sealed them. I used a spray on acrylic seal that I bought in the craft store. I am not able to scratch the inks off the tile and letting water sit on it doesn't seem to affect it either. I am making the tiles again as christmas presents now amd I skipped the baking step and just sealed and what do you know, the ink scratches off :( I have them in the oven now so even though they've already been sealed I'm hoping it will salvage them!

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    1. What temp did you bake them on? And which acrylic seal did you use? Did it matter if it had acetone in it after they were baked?

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  16. I have done coasters and the only thing that I have found that works is to use a resin to seal them. This makes them completely water proof.

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  17. Leia - What temp did you bake the tiles and was it for 2 hours?
    Cruisegirl60 - What type of resin did you use?
    I am doing a backsplash for my kitchen and can't find the color tiles I would like to use as accent colors, so thought this might be the thing if it will last over time! Thanks in advance

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  18. has anyone tryed using painted tile for a shower/bath backsplash? Did it work, how did you do it?

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    1. Use the Resin. Get it at the craft store, where the jewelry making stuff is, usually. It won't yellow, completely waterproofs it, and and completely protects it from ANY accidental scratches. It's perfect for that, it's a bit pricey, but you could use the half off coupon at Michael's on Saturdays. For just normal use, I use the Krylon Satin finish spray and after a few or several coats, THEN I use the triple thick to get the nice shine. or just use satin, shine without the glare.

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  19. Please please, someone help me discover what sealer to use for my coasters. They are sticking to my iced beverages. I used the mod podge acrylic sealer. Has anyone found an answer to this dilema?

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  20. I use 2 part resin called Envirotex. It comes in 2 bottles. You can get it in a box that contains 2 small bottles of 8 oz each at Hobby Lobby and Michaels, as well as on line. One bottle contains the resin and the other bottle contains the hardener. You mix a 1 to 1 ratio in a plastic cup w/ oz measurements on the side of the cup. After mixing, extremely well with a popcycle stick, you can pour it on the object, or you can use a foam brush to paint it on. Small bubbles might appear, but if you have one of the long candle lighters, just wave the flame over the top of bubbles and they disappear. Don't use a heat tool, as the carbon dioxide makes the bubbles go away, not the heat. This process is a chemical activation process, so don't think you can speed up the drying by using heat. You can use a foam brush to smooth it out if you pour or paint on. If you decide to pour it on, elevate the object on top of something (like a can) so the resin will drip over the sides, and every now and then wipe the drips off the bottom of the tile. Or you can prepare ahead of time by taping duct tape along the bottom sides of the object, and when you're finished you can remove the tape and any drips come along with it. Dry overnight. I put my objects under a large box so no dust or flying insects will stick to it. I know this sounds long and laborous, but after doing it once it will be easier for you and you will have a permanently sealed object. This is the stuff you might have seen on table tops that looks like glass. Bar tops are also sealed with the resin, and you know how many glasses, bottles, spills happen to them. I use this all the time on my art.

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  21. Seems like the only fool-proof sealer is the resin! I'll have to try that next time! Thank you so much to those who suggested it! :-)

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