How to make a unique tile picture for less than $3!

Picture of How to make a unique tile picture for less than $3!
Want to make a unique piece of art to decorate your empty walls? Or to make the perfect gift for the grandparents or in-laws?

Here is a simple way to make this modern and minimalistic design using just tiles, tissue paper and a laser printer.

It is time to amaze your friends...
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Step 1: Getting started

Picture of Getting started
You will need:

1. Nice photo
2. Computer
3. Nine pieces of 10x10cm tiles
4. Five sheets of printer paper
5. Five strips of 10x20cm tissue paper
6. Double sided adhesive
7. Printer
8. Exacto knife
9. Decoupage glue
10. Paintbrush

Step 2: Picking and editing you photo

Picture of Picking and editing you photo
First you have to pick a nice photo. Make sure you pick a photo in which you will not cut away vital parts (such as eyes) later on.
Chose which part of the photo you want to use and cut out a square. Put the square in a new document.

On this new document you can:

Change image size to 30cmx30cm.
Desaturate the image.
Change brightness and contrast until you get the desired result.
You might want use the paintbrush to get rid of unwanted details in the background.
You might want to reverse the picture, otherwise you will end up (like me) with a mirror image of your original photo.

Step 3: Dividing your picture into smaller elements

Picture of Dividing your picture into smaller elements
In order to print your paper you will have to take a few extra steps.

Make lines on your edited photo at 10 and 20 cm. This is just to make the next step easier, if you find it hard you can skip this.

Cut out the squares between the lines. Cut 0,5 cm away from the lines! Otherwise you will end up with a distorted face in the end. If you did not make the lines just check the ruler and make the cutting free hand. Each square will measure 9cm in each direction.

Paste the squares into 5 new documents, 2 in each except for the last one which will have just one square.

If needed, rotate the new documents to make them printable.

Step 4: Printing your photo on tissue paper

Picture of Printing your photo on tissue paper
Obiously it is hard to put tissue paper into an ordinary laser printer. This is a nice trick to make it work.

Take your strips of 10 x 20cm tissue paper. Put double sided adhesive on upper and lower side.
Attach to middle of printer paper.

Do NOT use common tape as it will melt in your laser printer and make it useless (take my word for granted, I have tried)

Print the 5 documents on the 5 pieces of tissue paper

Step 5: Cutting the parts

Picture of Cutting the parts
No need for longer explanation. Cut all nine squares. Try not to cut your fingers as well.

Step 6: Time to use the glue!

Picture of Time to use the glue!
Put decoupage glue on tiles. Adhere tissue paper.

If you want a softer look, adhere pieces with printed side facing tile. (That is the reason you might want to reverse it earlier). For a more detailed look, adhere printed side out.

When dry, add at least two more layers of decoupage glue on top of tissue paper.

Step 7: Finished!

Picture of Finished!
Now you might want to put tiles into a frame or just stick to a piece of board and put on your wall.

Good luck!
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jmihal5 months ago
Great job. Looks wonderful.
ganglionater5 months ago
This looks truly fantastic. I can now add a "sweet factor" to Valentine's Day without using chocolates! Great job!!
jac1789.5 months ago

Amazing! Thanks for sharing....

BETJON5 months ago
Can these tiles be used on bathroom walls? Thanks
amorgan235 months ago
This is so cool I'm gonna do this for my girl friend and I'm thinking about tiling one wall in my room with one big picture
fronters6 months ago

Cool! Its great idea. But I dont use PS. But fortunately there are other programs, such as a poster printer that automatically divides the image into equal parts

Where did you get the tiles? This looks amazing!!

mununa8 months ago

this is so cool! love this!

extr3m3_881 year ago

Awesome instructables :) I just made one :) it took me about 3 hours to complete..

I still need to do finish coating.

2014-03-05 18.53.23.jpg
masalust1 year ago

I tested this project using a few ideas from Yngla's steps here and from a person who suggested the lazier print idea. It was a fun project but noticed that if you do not use enough glue the ink rubs off while you are rubbing the paper off. I had to do this project twice to get the right out come I was looking for. BTW I used the self stick tile and it worked great! Thanks for the project Yngla! I wouldn't have ever thought of something so cool.

packerfan125 years ago
 how did you get the tape off without ripping the tissue paper? every time i've tried it ripped

I've got the same problem over here

Just make your tissue paper bigger, center your print so it's not in the taped area, then cut off the part with tape.  I had a hard time with this too.
spider871 year ago
It's so simple I might make this as a gift for someone! Thanks!
Pavlo66662 years ago
Thanks for sharing. It looks real nice. Professional.
Can you do this to a mirror? I can't find how to make a decal for a mirror anywhere! I can hardly even kind mirror decals or mirror stickers anywhere except for mirrors that already come with them. HELP PLEASE! Thanks
imcournal2 years ago
Do you have a video tutorial of this by any chance?
I'm finding it very difficult to do step 3.

also, what program are you using? I'm using GIMP
yngla (author)  imcournal2 years ago
I was actually lucky enough to have access to Photoshop at the time... Unfortunately I suck at GIMP :(
And no video tutorial, sorry!
3tuxedo2 years ago
Hey guys, i'm attempting this project, where did you guys get the tiles? I can't find them at Lowes.
annie38 3tuxedo2 years ago
home depot
loribeck2 years ago
That is awesome! Do you teach art or are you just creative and crafty?
Nice job, thanks for sharing.
malibini2 years ago
OMG thats so cool! im definitelly doing this for my new room. Did you use Photoshop for the editing? I might have my dad (who's a computer whiz) do this part for me, if it's on Photoshop.
Thanks so much for this instructible!
joesally3 years ago
The website that Faxcion put in her comments says forbidden. Is there another addy?
I think you should consider the space between tiles and cut out the spaces out on the tiles. Otherwise things would look distorted, since your eyes "fill in" the empty spaces.
olywer4 years ago
im having trouble printing the right size. i scaled it 30x30cm in a normal page but when i drag it to an A4 page it shrunk to 10x10cm. also, did u print it as a JPEG or a PSD file & did u print it through microsoft word? thanks..
Follow the link that Facion posted: http://homokaasu.org/rasterbator/ it will solve all your printing issues as it does all the tiling for you and makes it any size you want it to.
skarsteen13 years ago
This is so cool! would anyone know if it's possible to decorate tiles that are already attached to the wall? it would be such a cool way to decorate my small bathroom!
hanako16th3 years ago
Here's my take on this project! Thanks for the idea! It'll make a lovely Christmas gift for my family and friends.

As you can see, the my first attempt was a photo with my friends and I. I completely messed up... because I messed up on measuring my tiles and only estimated... I learned not to make that same mistake again on the second time around! The photo with the butterfly and flower was actually my second attempt at it.

Although I loath the bubbles and wrinkles, my friends say that it gives the whole gift a very vintage look! (; Score!
dburcombe4 years ago
I'm new to this site, but thought I might be able to offer another inexpensive idea, which I have used in mixed media collage pieces, to transfer the image. This will work with color images as well. Get your image, flip it so it is mirrored, print onto standard laser paper (will not work with and inkjet printer), brush Clear caulking sealant onto the tiles(shown in picture: Home Depot; Approx $4.00), press the reversed image face down onto the tiles, let dry. Make sure none of the sealant gets on the back of the paper. Once dry, soak the entire thing in water. Start rubbing the paper off as it's disintegrating. The image will stay as the paper is washed away. If you'd prefer, coat the new image with one more layer of the caulking. Super duper easy.
How long will it take for the sealant to dry? The package says 7 to 14 days!
we did this same thing in my alternative photography class.
nhatch23 years ago
I need help figuring out how to resize an image IDK if i dont have the right program to do this in. What program do I need to use for this?
Faxcion3 years ago
Its called rasturizing or to rasturbate. It blows up the picture by making each pixle a dot of different sizes and darkness. Use this website to make even bigger blow ups: http://homokaasu.org/rasterbator/
PattiZ3 years ago
I dont usually have a problem with computers BUT I cant make my image larger without making it extremely fuzzy. Can anyone help? What am I doing wrong?
bstiehl4 years ago
How do you print separate parts of a picture? I'm using a mac.
joefed624 years ago
This is awesome! I've been looking to do this sort of thing, but was never sure how to go about it. Thought about using liquid Femo, but have never had much success with that method. This seems like just the process I am looking for and I can't wait to try it. Thanks so much for putting this together!
Fantastic project, just finished mine and it turned out great, I used a desk-jet printer along with the ironing technique :) good ible
It's very hard to get the picture on the tile without any wrinkles. But it works perfectly with an iron. Put the decoupage glue on the tile, let it dry. When it's dry, lay the paper on the tile, place a piece of bakingpaper on top and begin to iron (heat on 2). Within seconds, the paper is stuck on the tile without wrinkles!
it works perfectly.. but when i apply another layer of glue 2 seal it the ink got runny & the tissue got wrinkly.. please help :(
You better seal it with a spray. Varnish or a lacqeur.
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