I had the idea while writing my 50 Gifts for Genealogists post of making tile coasters with old photos. I got some inspiration from this post I saw on Pinterest from Boxy Colonial, as well as several other Pinterest examples, but I also improvised.
I thought I would like to use family photos, but not of people. I ended up doing two variations of this: old New England houses that had belonged to my direct ancestors, and, at my daughter’s suggestion, the four houses that my parents owned before their present house. I also bought scrapbook paper and made some with Christmas themes, and some for year-round.
Getting the pictures
I had taken pictures of the historic houses I wanted to use. For my parents’ houses, my daughter had one picture that was suitable, and I went out while the leaves were still on the trees to photograph the three other houses, which are nearby.
So I was starting with pictures like this:
I needed to do several things to make them work:
- make them square (by cropping)
- eliminate aspects of the picture that were not accurate for the period they owned it (in the case above, the color is wrong, and the addition to the house beyond the garage is not original)
- make them more interesting with special painting effects
- make them just under 4 inches in size (for this, I actually needed to take the edited pictures and move them onto a blank Word document, then resize. I printed on a normal color printer, on copier paper, from there).
I could handle the cropping and resizing, but I got my daughter to use a special app called “Waterlogue”on her iPad to make the “watercolor” effect on each picture.
So at this point I had pictures that looked like this:
For the historic houses, I wanted to get those done on my own, and I downloaded a free one week trial of AKVIS Artwork 8.1. It was fairly easy to use.
The results were nice:
I also used Paint to retouch the photos, eliminating a few window air conditioners and other modern touches.
I moved the pictures into Word when I was finished editing them so that I could size them exactly, in inches. Then I printed them. I measured them against the tiles and cut them out with scissors.
Putting the tiles together
I also purchased:
- scrapbook paper on sale at Michael’s which I cut to size
- 4 inch square ceramic tiles, color Bisque, from Lowe’s, 16 cents each
- Modge Podge and some foam brushes. I got the shiny Modge Podge, but the matte might have been better
- Acrylic spray for finishing
- We already had glue and some quarter inch cork sheets around the house.
I covered the tiles with Modge Podge, placed the picture on top immediately – you can wiggle it at this point, but once you let go, you can’t really move it again. Then I coated the top of the picture with Modge Podge, being careful to make sure each edge was held down firmly.
I gradually put about 24 tiles together, and went back and recoated each one with Modge Podge three additional times. They were looking good:
This is the historic house set:
Along the way of all that Modge Podging and drying, I cut the cork for the backs, and began applying the backs just before the last coat of Modge Podge. My husband made me a wooden template to use for the size I wanted the cork to be (slightly smaller than the tile) and I cut the cork with a knife.
I glued the cork on the back of each tile. I just used Tacky Glue along the edge of the tile back, and on some of the raised areas; it worked fine.
The last step was to spray an acrylic finish on the tiles (the smell was really annoying!). Although that dried quickly, I plan to leave them out for a week or so before packing them up for gifts.
I think the tiles made with scrapbooking paper are cute, but I think I would only be interested in doing these in the future with my own artwork or photos – that’s the fun and unique part. I was surprised to see that the Modge Podge didn’t damage the print at all on my copied photos. It worked fine.
I made 25 tiles, and it took about a half day to take and manipulate the photos, and most of a day to make the tiles. I think I could do this faster next time.
The post you are reading is located at: https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/11/30/a-quick-gift-for-mom-and-dad/