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Mar

12

How to Choose Tile for Your Log Home

By Ceramic Design



For the better part of a year, my husband and I have been talking about tiling our kitchen. Our project has stalled because unlike paint, which can be changed on a whim, tile seems so much more permanent—and costly. Frankly, we’re afraid to take the plunge, because with all the tile design options out there, we don’t want to make the wrong decision.

And as Morwenna Brett, author of The Home Decorator’s Tile Bible, will tell you, the tile universe has opened wide, including everything from glass, metal, cork—even leather—to its tried-and-true ceramic and porcelain repertoire. But fear not—she has some tips for incorporating successful tile design in a log home. And thanks to her advice, I think we finally may be ready to dive in.

KEEP IT SIMPLE. Sometimes a natural, neutral tile color is the most beautiful option for a log home and will never look boring or outdated.

MINIMIZE MIXING. According to Morwenna, when creating tile combinations (glazed ceramic with glass, tumbled stone with metallics), less is definitely more. Two distinct types of tile are enough to create interest. Don’t be tempted to mix three or more different materials—the result could look messy.

CONSIDER THE IMPACT OF PATTERNS. In Morwenna’s opinion, just about any tile pattern (see sidebar, right) is log home appropriate. Some designs, like “basket weave” and “pinwheel” impart country flair. Others, like “octagon with dot,” can feel more retro. Combining patterns gives you more of an informal feeling than using a single pattern will. Or think about using some of the new materials, like metallic inserts, hand-painted accent tiles or leather squares in lieu of patterns to add interest.

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Apr

25

How to Sell Unique Coffee Mugs

By Ceramic Design



The cultivation of the coffee bean as a drink was first developed by people living in the East African mountains of Ethiopia, according to National Geographic reports. The cultural and social folkways that have arisen around drinking this hardy brew makes selling associated specialty items such as coffee mugs a feasible business enterprise in most marketplaces. While a visit to most major retailers’ kitchenware departments will reveal the specialty mug market as competitive, design uniqueness can become your competitive advantage.

  • 1

    Make or buy unique mugs. If you do not know how to make mugs, enroll in a pottery class to learn how to design and make custom mugs. Draft out a mug design and have the specifications developed by an artisan as a commission or from a manufacturer for large orders. Alternatively, develop an inventory of unique mugs from the works of artisans who make mugs and other suppliers with a wide selection of mug designs.

  • 2
    Specialty mugs are especially popular gift items during the winter holiday season.

     

    Sell at kiosks or a store front. Determine the feasibility for a specialty mug shop in your community. Remember that a retail store will require a large quantity of specialty cups inventory. While a kiosk has a much lower inventory demand, it also has a corresponding lower income potential than a retail shop.

  • 3

    Sell to retailers. Distribute coffee mugs to retail shops by offering wholesale prices for specialty mug inventory. The reduction in unit price for distributor-wholesalers is typically recovered by the gain in the quantity of an order.

  • 4
    Valentine’s Day offers an opportunity to sell associated specialty mugs.

     

    Sell on-line. Develop the new business enterprise and launch a website to sell directly to the public on-line. Set up on-line shopping carts for each retail item for credit and debit card purchases. Unique coffee mugs can also be sold at on-line auctions or through “buy it now” features of on-line retailers like eBay.com.

Apr

25

Paint Ceramic Mugs

By Ceramic Design



While you can usually find painted ceramic mugs in most boutique gift shops, creating your own allows you to customize the mug with your own designs. You can add names, favorite sports teams’ emblems and even inside jokes. With undecorated mugs selling for mere dollars at discount shops, painted ceramic mugs also make a perfect and inexpensive party favor. The only limit when decorating ceramic mugs is your own creativity and the dimensions of the mug.

  • 1

    Clean the mug’s surface with rubbing alcohol and your lint-free towel. Most paints will encourage you to start with a clean surface and rubbing alcohol will remove any grease or other unwanted substances from the mug without leaving a soapy film behind.

  • 2

    Choose a design you know will fit comfortably on your mug. As well as size, consider color harmony. For instance, hot pink will probably not complement a hunter green mug.

  • 3

    Paint your design onto the mug’s surface using your craft paintbrush. Allow layers to dry before applying more colors. Clean your brush between colors to ensure you don’t accidentally mix shades and blend.

  • 4

    Place your finished mug in a cool oven and set the oven to 300 degrees. Do not warm the oven before placing your mug inside. Doing so can cause the glass to heat up too quickly, which can cause the mug to crack or shatter.

  • 5

    Allow the mug to bake for 30 minutes.

  • 6

    Turn the oven off after the mug has baked for 30 minutes. Allow the mug to cool down with the oven, as taking it out can cause it to cool too quickly.

  • 7

    Remove the mug from the oven and enjoy.

Apr

19

How to Make Basic Clay Pots

By Ceramic Design



If you are a beginner in the art of pottery, you can hone your skill by starting with an easy project such as making a basic coil clay pot. The coil pot, made by coiling long ropes of clay in a spiral, is the earliest kind of pottery, according to the Free Library website. This type of pottery is rich in culture and history, dating as far back as 700 B.C. when the Mimbres tribe from New Mexico first made coil pots for cooking and religious purposes. The technique for making this basic coil pot is easy, and the resulting product is beautiful.

  • 1.Place a chunk of clay on the table or your work surface. With a putty knife, cut a piece of clay from the chunk. Out of this piece you will make the base or the bottom section of a basic clay coil pot. Flatten the clay into your desired shape for your clay pot. If you want a round clay pot, make a circular bottom with the clay. If you want the clay pot to be oval, then make an oval-shaped base.
  • 2.Cut another piece of clay from the chunk. Roll it out back and forth until it forms into a long strip. This strip will look like a clay “worm.” Coil the strip around the edge of the base. Use your fingers to smooth up some clay to attach the coil to the base.
  • 3.Create another clay “worm” about the same size and shape as your first one. Stack the clay strip on top of the first one and coil it around the edge of the pot. Use your fingers to press the clay together. Dip your hands in water to help smooth the clay out.
  • 4.Continue rolling out strips of clay and placing a strip on top of another coiled strip until the clay pot reaches the height that you want. Smooth out the sides and edges of the clay pot with your fingers. This will allow the coils to grip together.
  • 5.Place your clay pot in a safe place and give it time to dry. It may be a basic clay pot, but if you allow the clay enough time to harden, it can result in a durable, functional piece of art. Some potters fire up a clay kiln to give the clay pot a strong finish. If you do not have a clay kiln, the clay pot you just made will be fine as long as you give it time to dry slowly and completely.

Apr

19

How to Make a Clay Coil Pot

By Ceramic Design



Pottery is an amazingly creative and unique way to express yourself. Making a clay coil pot is easier than you think! This article shows you how to make a clay coil a step at a time.

  • 1.First find a smooth, flat surface that you can use to make pottery on.
  • 2.Take a piece of clay or modeling clay and flatten into a circle. You can use a saucer, small plate, cup bottom, or jar lid and make a flat circle of clay — or square! This is the base of your pot.
  • 3.Take pieces of clay and roll it between both your hands making a coil. Then place the coil on the flat surface and continue rolling. Make the coil as smooth as possible.
  • 4.After you make a several coils take one coil and place it onto the flat base. Attach the coil to the base by pressing the coil into the base. Remember to attach everything from the inside of the pot — the part of the pot that isn’t facing you.
  • 5.After you have the first coil attach coils one at a time making sure to attach them from the inside of the pot. Try to smooth out the inside of the pot — if the clay becomes dry use a little water on your hands and smooth the clay out.
  • 6.Once you have attached as many coils as you want and have smoothed out the inside of the pot you can then decorate the front of the pot. Try using a nail and softly carving designs into the clay. You can also take pieces of clay, make shapes (like hearts!) and attach it to the front of the pot.
  • 7.You can then either leave your pot in a warm oven to bake the pot or leave it in the sun — both will dry the clay out and make the clay harden.
  • 8.That’s it! Now you can consider painting the pot or glazing the pot. Put your pot on display and enjoy!

May

5

Instructions on How to Paint Ceramic Tile

By Ceramic Design



If you follow the instructions, you’ll enjoy years of life in your painted ceramic tile.

  1. Put on rubber gloves and cover any areas with a drop cloth near where you’ll be painting. Use painter’s tape to mask off the area and protect the surrounding walls.
  2. Repair any cracks or imperfections in the grout or tile. Allow the repair to dry for at least 48 hours before proceeding.
  3. Using a very fine grit sandpaper, sand the surfaces of the ceramic tile to break the gloss and allow the new coat of paint to stick. Take care to avoid pressing too hard. You don’t want to scratch into the tile.
  4. Wipe off all dry dust. Clean up the surrounding area.
  5. Even if it looks clean, clean the tile thoroughlywith a heavy-duty solution of TSP, also known as Trisodium Phosphate. Add ¼ to ½ cup of TSP with a gallon of water and mix well. Apply the solution to the area you’ll be painting with a sponge, starting at the bottom and working up. Let the solution sit on the tile surface for 1 to 2 minutes to remove the built-up soil, soap scum, or hard water deposits. Use a cleaning pad to scrub every area of the tile that’s to be painted.
  6. Rinse the surface several times and remove all residue of the TSP solution. Allow the tile to dry completely, then wipe with denatured alcohol to remove any little bit of dirt or residue that remains.
  7. Use a paint brush to cut the primer coat to the edges of the area, including around baseboards, cabinets, walls, ceilings, and appliances. Follow this procedure with both coats of thin primer and two coats of thin finish paint.
  8. Using the low-nap short roller, carefully apply one thin coat of primer, taking care not to push too hard on the roller. Roll the paint roller in all directions to avoid any edge marks and keep the surface smooth. Let the first primer coat dry thoroughly for several hours.
  9. Cut in around the edges with a paint brush and roll on the second thin primer coat.
  10. Let the second coat of primer dry overnight.
  11. If there are any noticeable paint lines on the surface, lightly sand to smooth the area. Wipe off all dust.
  12. Cut in the first coat of finish paint with a paint brush and apply a thin coat of finish paint with the roller. Let dry completely.
  13. Cut in the second coat of finish paint with a paint brush. Apply a second thin coat of finish paint with the roller. Let dry completely.
  14. If desired, paint the grout lines with a contrast paint and a small artist brush.
  15. To seal the newly painted ceramic tile surface, top coat with a fine quality urethane finish.
  16. Let dry about 2 weeks to achieve the hardest surface and allow the paint to dry and totally cure.

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? If you follow the instructions, the surface can last for years.

 

May

5

How to Paint Ceramic Tile

By Ceramic Design



You can transform a kitchen or bathroom if you paint the ceramic tile. If the ceramic tile is old and dingy or just a color that you don’t like, you can get a fresh look with a careful covering of paint.Cautions Before You Paint Ceramic Tile

  • Do not paint a ceramic tile floor unless the main area of traffic is covered by a decorative rug. Shoes and dirt will cause the paint to scratch and wear off.
  • Do not paint ceramic tile in a shower or near a bathtub. The constant moisture will cause the paint to peel off.
  • To preserve the painted tile finish, you will always need to use a cutting board on a countertop.
  • Never place hot pans on a painted ceramic tile counter. The heat will cause the painted finish to bubble and peel.
  • The surface of your painted ceramic tile will be only as good as the base you paint over. If the grout is broken or cracked, repair it at least 48 hours ahead of the painting day. If the tile is cracked or gouged, fill the imperfections.
  • It will take about 2 weeks for the paint to thoroughly dry and cure. You must be patient so that the surface will last.
  • If you don’t do proper preparations, you will not be happy with the finished product. Take the time to clean, sand, dust, dry, and paint very carefully.

Tips for Painting Ceramic Tile

  • Since the paint could eventually wear or scratch off, painting ceramic tile should be reserved for vertical surfaces or countertops.
  • Select a top-quality 100% acrylic semi-gloss primer and paint. You’ll be spending several days on this project so you should use the best materials available.
  • You can choose any color you want and custom-match the paint to other decorative elements in your home.
  • When painting ceramic tile, the primer and paint should be slightly thin and you should apply several thin layers rather than one thick layer of paint. Use a brush to cut in the edges and roll the surface with a lint-free low-nap roller.
  • For a more realistic look, use a small artist brush to paint narrow contrasting grout lines after the final coat has dried thoroughly. This will require a lot of patience but the results will be amazing. You can use a straight edge to follow the grout lines.

Equipment for Painting Ceramic Tile

  • Top-quality tinted acrylic paint primer
  • Top-quality acrylic semi-gloss interior paint
  • Top quality urethane
  • Heavy-duty rubber gloves
  • TSP or other heavy-duty cleaner
  • Scrubber
  • Sponge
  • Painter’s tape
  • Very fine grit (220-grit) sandpaper, electric sander optional
  • A cloth to clean up paint drips
  • Lots of clean water
  • Rags
  • A paint brush to cut-in around edges
  • A high-quality, lint-free, low nap paint roller
  • An artist brush to paint the grout lines

 

Oct

26

How to Install Ceramic Wall Tiles

By Ceramic Design



Installing ceramic wall tile can sound like a big job if you’ve never done it before, but it’s really not that difficult once you start following directions on how to do it. Maybe you want to retile your bathroom, kitchen, counter top, backsplash or shower. In any case, installing ceramic wall tiles can give the room a whole new look and feel. Here’s how to install ceramic wall tile:

  1. Mark lines on the wall.To start installing ceramic wall tile, first you need to find the center of the wall and ‘dry fit’ your tiles to see if the pattern ends similarly on the edges. Use a pencil to mark vertical and horizontal lines where appropriate. You want the tile size to be consistent as they approach each end point.
  2. Apply the adhesive.Apply the tile adhesive to the wall with the notched trowel, starting in the middle of the wall. Set the tiles into the adhesive and place the spacers in-between each tile as you go. Be sure to give each tile a little twist to ensure a good bond with the adhesive. Cut the tiles as needed to fit on the ends. You can also use sandpaper to smooth out the tile edges if they are sharp after you cut them.
  3. Let it dry.Let the tiles set in the adhesive overnight.
  4. Mix the grout.Remove the tile spacers and mix the grout according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  5. Apply the grout.Using the rubber float, apply the grout at a 45 degree angle. Wipe off excess grout with a wet sponge.
  6. Wipe clean as needed.After about an hour, check for grout haze on the tiles and wipe them clean as needed.
  7. Seal edges with caulk.Seal the edges with caulk (be sure to use a mildew resistant caulk if the tile is in an area where it will get wet).
  8. See the Resources listed below for more tiling ideas.

Oct

26

How to Lay Ceramic Tile

By Ceramic Design



Before you can begin installing ceramic tile flooring, laying out the pattern is critical. Although a wide range of patterns can be achieved, these instructions will help you lay a simple square grid pattern with your ceramic tile. Once you have your pattern layout, you can proceed to installing the tiles.

  1. Prepare the subfloor before laying ceramic tile by installing ceramic tile backboards over plywood or patching a cement foundation to create a level surface.
  2. Start the pattern you will use to lay ceramic tile at the entrance of the main door to the room.
  3. Snap a chalk line perpendicular to the entrance to use as a guideline to lay your first row of ceramic tile. Make sure the line is at a 90 degree angle by using a square and extend the line from the main door to the opposite wall.
  4. Lay your first row of ceramic tile along the chalk line. Use spacers between each tile to ensure that they are equally spaced.
  5. Install a temporary board at the end of the row when you can no longer lay a full tile.
  6. Put down ceramic tiles along the board perpendicular to the first row.
  7. Measure the spaces at either end of this row to determine how much you need to move the center row to achieve an equal border on all walls.
  8. Snap a new chalk line to mark the line where you will begin installing your ceramic tile.

Oct

26

How to Replace a Ceramic Tile

By Ceramic Design



Got a broken ceramic tile? Don’t worry, replacing a ceramic can be an easy do-it-yourself project. Here is a step by step guide on how to replace a broken or cracked ceramic tile.

Ceramic Floor Tiles
1

Remove the damaged ceramic tile. The most important part here is not to damage any surrounding tiles. Start by drilling several lines of holes into the ceramic tile. Use a power drill with a masonry drill bit. Be careful not to drill deeper than the tile.

After you have your holes drilled, connect them together with a cold chisel (masonry chisel) and hammer. Once the tile is split up, pry it up with a flat pry bar.

  • 2

    Using your cold chisel, remove any old mortar or thin set from where the old tile use to be. Be extra careful not to damage the other tiles in the process.

  • 3

    Vacuum the empty space out to remove any dust and debris. This will help the mortar adhere to the ground.

  • 4

    Using your notched trowel, spread an even layer of thin set mortar or adhesive to the floor. The notches in the trowel will help the adhesive flatten out when the ceramic tile is placed.

  • 5

    Center your new tile into the adhesive. Make sure it’s an equal distance away from the others to ensure even grout lines. If your tile is too high or too low, adjust it by removing or adding thin set mortar.

  • 6

    Place a block of wood over the tile and pound it even with a hammer.
    Let the adhesive dry for at least 24 hours.

  • 7

    Fill in the cracks with sanded grout and level it with a grout float. Wipe any excess grout from the ceramic tiles’ surface with a wet rag before it dries.