How to Create Tile Sets for Mahjongg

By Erin Harty ; Updated April 12, 2017
Mah-Jongg tiles are usually made from Bakelite or other plastic-based materials.

The game of Mah-Jongg, similar to solitaire, is played all over the world. The rules differ from country to country, but they all use similar tiles for the game. In the United States, a set of Mah-Jongg tiles consists of 144 tiles in six sets: 36 bamboo tiles, 36 circle tiles, 36 character tiles, 16 wind tiles, 12 dragon tiles and eight bonus tiles. You can create your own set with a little creativity and resourcefulness.

Purchase tiles for your set. Mah-Jongg can be made from any material. The most common are similar to dominoes, but any tiles of uniform size will do. You can even cut wood into tiles for a custom size and shape. Dominoes work well, but you will always have the dots on the underside of the tile.

Create pictures or patterns for the tile set. Although the traditional sets have pictures of bamboo, dragons and even flowers, you can choose whatever pictures or patterns fit your style and adapt them to the game.

Scan the drawings or pictures onto your computer. Re-size them as needed to fit onto the tiles.

Print a test sheet on regular printer paper. You can hold a tile under the design to check for fit.

Print the designs onto label stock or adhesive paper. Both can be purchased at a local office supply store. Change your printer settings to reflect the kind of paper you are using. Most label paper has a place on the drop-down menu of paper types on printer’s setting menus.

Put adhesive laminate over the tile designs. To keep the tiles looking good longer, smooth laminate sheets over the printed designs before preparing them for the tiles. Some stores sell permanent adhesive printer paper that already has laminate coating. This works well and eliminates a step.

Cut out the designs using a utility knife. Cut each corner of the design at a 45-degree angle. This prevents any dog-ears once it is placed on the tile.

Adhere to the designs to the tiles. After you affix a sticker to a tile, use the edge of a credit card to smooth it down. Start on one end and pull the card across the surface with a 30-degree angle. This will remove any bubbles that might lift the label off the tile.

Things Needed

  • Blank tiles
  • Pictures or photos
  • Printer
  • Printer ink
  • Printer paper
  • Label or adhesive paper
  • Laminate
  • Utility knife
  • Credit card

Tip

Use pictures of family members for some of the tiles. These sets make great gifts for grandmas and other relatives. Use an old cigar box to store the tiles. These boxes are usually the perfect size, and the exterior can be personalized.

Warning

Old Mah-Jongg tile sets can be scanned and the images used to make a new set. Be aware of the copyrights on the original set and do not attempt to sell or distribute your copycat version.

About the Author

Erin Harty has been writing since 1997. She worked as a reporter and copy editor for "The Argonaut," contributes to a travel blog and has won three Idaho Press Club awards. Erin Harty has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Idaho.