How to Transfer Photos onto Ceramic Tiles

By Fleur Forsythe
Photos, Ceramic Tiles
Santy Gibson/Demand Media

Many methods exist for transferring photos onto ceramic tiles—including photographic silk-screen, Polaroid transfers, laser print, and photocopy transfers. One of the easiest ways to make photo transfers is to print your photos on T-shirt transfer paper and transfer your images onto polymer clay tiles, which can be baked in a home oven. You'll end up with bright, clear photos on custom-sized tiles.

Step 1

your photo editing software, your photos, the dimensions, you
Santy Gibson/Demand Media

Using your photo editing software, resize your photos to the dimensions you want on your tiles. Make sure the image resolution is at least 200 dots per inch. Print the images on the T-shirt transfer paper, following the manufacturer's instructions. You could also have the transfer prints made at a copy shop. Remember that the transfer will create a reverse image. If you are using text, you will need to flip it horizontally in your photo editing software so that it reads correctly.

Step 2

the polymer clay, about a minute, it, the clay
Santy Gibson/Demand Media

Knead the polymer clay for about a minute to condition it. Place the clay on top of the tile and roll it out so that it is about 1/4 inch thick. Using the ruler and utility knife, trim the clay to the desired tile size.

Step 3

your scissors, a photo, your T-shirt transfer paper, a 1/4-inch border
Santy Gibson/Demand Media

With your scissors, cut a photo from your T-shirt transfer paper, leaving a 1/4-inch border on one side. Fold the border back, away from the image, to create a tab—you will use this later to lift the backing paper from the image. Place the image face down on top of the clay. With the back of the spoon, gently rub all over the back of the image.

Step 4

the tile, your clay, top, the baking sheet
Santy Gibson/Demand Media

Place the tile, with your clay on top, on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven at the recommended temperature on the clay package (usually about 5 minutes). Remove the tile from the oven, and peel away the T-shirt transfer backing, using the tab. Do this slowly, peeling back just a corner at first. If the paper does not peel off easily, or if much of the ink is still stuck to the paper, put the tile back in the oven for another minute or two. The exact baking time will depend on various factors—your oven, the transfer paper, and your images.

Step 5

the tile, the oven, the remaining time, the clay package
Santy Gibson/Demand Media

Return the tile to the oven, and continue baking for the remaining time recommended on the clay package. Let cool.

About the Author

Fleur Forsythe writes about the arts, crafts, cooking, entertaining, travel and DIY home design. She began writing professionally in 1996. She is also an artist whose art, crafts and photography have been licensed commercially and exhibited for 17 years. She holds a B.A. in art history and studio art from New York University. Her articles can be found on eHow, Answerbag and Trails.