Friday, January 18, 2008

First glass tile magnets

I've spent the last couple of nights after work planning my project to turn several of my square photographic images into glass tile magents. In keeping with the same square format as my canvas art and dye-sub ceramic tile projects, I opted for the harder to find square glass tiles.

My hope was to find some recycled glass tiles that would work, but after having spent way too much time searching local shops and the Internet, I settled for getting my supplies from Wholesalers USA. They have a great selection and decent prices. If you have suggestions for local sources around Portland, Oregon, or recycled products, please let me know!

I'm currently using 1" square glass tiles for this initial run, but have a supply of two larger sizes at 1.6" and 2" square. The 2" tiles will make a nice paper weight with a piece of felt on the bottom.

My images are printed to good quality photo paper using an inkjet printer with archival inks. Hopefully these will not fade over time.

[Update 11/30/09: Over time the glossy photo paper I used appears to be turning milky with the clear glue. I'll be picking up some new glass tile projects in the future, but at this point recommend a good matte paper over glossy photo paper for this application.]

The images are cut out by hand now, but I'm looking around for some craft punches or die-cut shapes that I might use. At this point I'd be happy with one of those punches that rounds a sharp corner.

[Update 7/16/08: I did find a rounded corner punch and that has worked quite well over hand cutting the corners. I do recommend you print the image slightly larger than you need to make trimming easier.]

I'm using clear non-toxic craft glue of some variety but plan to find some Weldbond glue for the next batch.

[Update 7/16/08: Weldbond might work great to hold on the magnet to the back, but I don't recommend it for attaching the photo to the glass. Instead, try a clear glue such as Aleene's Clear Gel Tacky Glue. That worked well for the items in this project.]

The glue is applied to the back of washed and dried glass tiles, and spead thinly over the entire surface. The image is layed down on the tile and smoothed over from the center out while wiping away excess glue as it squishes out from the edges. Watch for bubbles and check the positioning of the image from the front of the tile - if you're interested in trying out this craft project.

Once the images were dry, I went ahead and glued on 3/4" ceramic magnets and let them dry overnight. Make sure you leave the stronger side of the magnet facing out.

Once the magnet has dried, brush the remaining exposed photo paper on the back side with the some clear, non-toxic, acrylic varnish. This will seal out moisture from entering through the back of the remaining exposed photo paper.

I'll try my hand at more over the next few weeks and hopefully start making some available for sale on my Etsy shop.


Mandy said...


I just stumbled upon your blog by doing a search on how to make these glass tile magnets. I bought a glass tile sampler kit from an Etsy seller and want to use some old roadmaps I have. Anyway, just wanted to thank you for posting the little how-to. Your photographs are beautiful!


katie said...

hi! I was just wondering where you found a rounded corner punch?

Thanks in advance!