Inexpensive Laser Photo Tiles.

Introduction: Inexpensive Laser Photo Tiles.

About: New to laser engraving, but having a lot of fun with it.

You can create a photo tile that looks even better, in my opinion, than engraved granite at less than half the cost.

The tiles attached are white glossy ceramic wall tiles from home improvement store covered in spray paint.

The the pet pictures are done with a glossy black spray paint on a 6x6 tile.  

The tile with the couple in the loft door is done with a Rust-oleum brand spray paint, primer and paint in one.  The color is Oil Rubbed Bronze.  The tile size is 9 x 12.

After spray painting I let the tiles dry for a day.   I processed my pictures through PhotoGrav, then through my 30 watt laser,  I ran them at 30% power and 80% speed at 1000 dpi. 

I find it far less annoying to ruin a $1 tile than a $10 piece of granite.

The pet tiles where my first try.  

The idea was not originally mine.  I got the basics of it from the project files on 

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    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    Just to clarify, you are painting the tiles black, then laser engraving the paint away in the process leaving the white tile to show through. Part of the processing in PhotoGrav you did would be to make the image a negative plus any other brightness and contrast you felt necessary.

    Update: I don't think I was understanding properly and may have stumbled onto the correct approach.

    OK, so I tried this with my little Acro Laser Engraver that has either a 3.5W or a 5W laser on it (can't remember...) ... small for an engraver today...

    I sprayed the tile with Tremclad single coat gloss paint.
    I let it dry overnight
    Using Irfanview I turned the image into a negative.
    I imported the image into LightBurn (great software, worth every penny) and set the image to .3mm spacing in the cuts/layers.
    I lined up the image centered on the tile and focused the laser on the tile surface as best I could.
    I engraved with mine at 200mm/s and 100% power. The image looked too dark meaning too much paint left... So I set the speed to 100mm/s 100% power and ran it again. Still a bit dark so I ran it again at 100/100 and things didn't change much but the image looked OK...

    Then came my mistake... I noticed when I touched it, paint came off on my finger. Hmmm... not good. So I decided to clean it... with some isopropyl alcohol. Well this took the paint off... white tile left... wait, not really white tile left... I cleaned it better with laquer thinner to get all the pain off and to my surprise I could see a negative image in the tile surface... I took a razor blade paint scraper to get it off and I couldn't touch it... Where I had burned had actually etched the tile surface... heat from the paint burning or something because my little laser isn't going to touch the white ceramic surface of a tile, that's for sure...

    Anyway... doing another one with a positive image and will strip the paint off and see what I have left... will report back in a day or so when it is done.


    Answer 1 year ago

    That's correct. I have used black paint and a rubbed brass colour that comes out really nice. I use Rusto-leum paints. Photograv takes care of most of the settings, but some adjustment is required depending on the photo. I have been told you can do the same thing in Corel. I have not tried it, not that good at photo adjusting in Corel.


    Question 2 years ago on Introduction


    Do you have to seal the paint afterwards? Does the spray paint on top of the glossy tile come off or scrape off after you laser it?

    I'm just curious if you touch it will the spray paint come off.



    Reply 2 years ago

    I have been packing this one around as a sample to craft fairs for 4 or 5 years and it is fine. I use a quality Tremclad paint and have had no issues. If you put it outside you may want to coat it in outdoor Mod Podge or something like that.

    Please note I had to edit this. I was writing it when I was tired and I reversed the power and speed settings that I used. I will look into doing a full step-by-step in the future.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    You ought to write a step-by-step for this process!