How To Seal Painted Tiles

How to Seal Painted Tiles

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click one and make a purchase, I may receive a commission!***        I was so excited to see a massive response to my post about painting tiles with Sharpies and Rubbing Alcohol!  So happy you all liked it and welcome to anyone new who found my little blog because of it!  I have exciting news!  I have an update on how to seal painted tiles!  Just in time for me to get started on a pretty important project that I will share when it is done!

First, let me tell you what did not work.

  1.  Mod Podge – I first tried painting on some clear Mod Podge.  This left some paint lines on the tile and I absolutely hated that. It ruined the look of the tile.  Also, when I put it to a water test, the Mod Podge came off in clumps.  The Queen of “How to Remove Mod Podge” (my most popular post) should have remembered that Mod Podge is water soluble and therefore would not stand up to water.
  2. Shellac – Shellac, in case you didn’t know, is a natural product made of bugs and alcohol.  Had I known that it was made of bugs and alcohol before I purchased, you better believe I never would have bought.  Because, a. BUGS! and b. Alcohol is exactly what I used to activate the color blurring when I made the tiles in the first place.  So, of course, the first thing that happened when I sprayed shellac on the tiles was that the ink started to blur.  Which, by the way, ruined ALL of the tiles pictured above, so I was super bummed about that.

So what did work?

Krylon UV Resistant Clear Acrylic Coating  did the trick.  It was extremely easy to apply, although it smells horrendous and I strongly recommended doing it in garage with the door open or somewhere outdoors if possible (remember to keep your project covered so nothing lands on it.  Like a fly).  I did it in my basement and it made the first floor stinky for a while.  But, other than the smell, it does not affect the ink in anyway, as long as you remember to shake the can for at least a full minute. I didn’t see any new blurring.  The finish is completely clear.  I ran it under hot and cold water and did not have any issues.  I still would probably not put this finished product in the dishwasher, but my plans for this project wouldn’t require that anyway.  If you’re making coasters, I would say hand wash them, just to be safe.

And, further proof that the Sharpie/Alcohol painting comes out great every time:

The tile does still need to cure for a couple of days before it’s completely dry, but I’m thrilled to see that the hot and cold water had no effect on it.  This was my biggest concern as my project will eventually be out in the elements.  I’ll keep an eye on it and I’ll be sure to post an update if there happen to be any hiccups as I continue to the project!


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  • Pam | January 25, 2017 | Reply

    Do you know how you got the effects in your bottom photo with the single tile? I did this project twice with different groups of people. The first time a lot of the tiles turned out nice like that. The second time they were more splotchy , which wasn’t bad, but I could not get the same effect again and it’s really bugging me.

    • Undercoverdiyer | January 25, 2017 | Reply

      Hey Pam! Do you mean that blue/yellow/green one a the bottom? I wish I could tell you exactly how it turned out like that, but it was just an art miracle. If I remember correctly, I used mostly blue and green and just a touch of yellow. It looks like one that I just dropped the alcohol on and didn’t mess around with too much. I’ve made probably half a dozen since that one and have not replicated it…And you used all of the same materials the second time, right? When you say splotchy, it’s reminding me of the first round of these I worked on and used 70% rubbing alcohol. The 91% definitely made a difference. Have you tried doing one where you cover larger areas with one color and just using one or two small accent colors? One of my favorite things about this project is that if you don’t like the results, you can just wipe it off and start over (before you seal it, of course!), so keep trying! I would absolutely love to see how yours came out, by the way! Send me a picture!!

      • Pam | January 25, 2017 | Reply

        I’m still stumped. It didn’t seem to matter what colors were used, I still couldn’t repeat that effect. It occurred on tiles with both heavy sharpie and others with less sharpie and more white space. The materials were the same both times. I thought maybe the alcohol got diluted by sitting out without the cap, so I tried a 3rd time with a new bottle of 91% and I still couldn’t get that effect again. Here are photos of the first batch. I don’t have any photos of the blotchy ones. The people redid them and blotted it with paper towels the second time, which made a different texture that turned out pretty cool too. Has the color on your tiles faded at all?

        • Undercoverdiyer | January 25, 2017 | Reply

          Well, I think yours came out gorgeous! I wonder if instead of blotting the alcohol you tried tipping the tile a little to have the alcohol sort of flow over the color? When I looked back at that tile it reminded me of water and I wondered if maybe I had picked up that tile and tipped it a little before it was dry… It’s worth a try. The color on the ones I sealed has not faded. I didn’t seal one and it is faded, scratched, rubbing off… Make sure you seal them!! Thank you so much for sharing these. You have no idea how happy it makes me!

  • Julia | January 25, 2017 | Reply

    I really love the look and have not yet tried it but I will. I would also know if I could use this on glass or is there a different method for that

    • Undercoverdiyer | January 25, 2017 | Reply

      Hey Julia! I haven’t tried it on glass, but I do think it would work. I’ve seen tutorials on Pinterest for this method on glass. I think it would be fine as long as you remember to seal it!

  • Alma | January 25, 2017 | Reply

    Just curious, can this project be done on Canvas by any chance??

    • Undercoverdiyer | January 25, 2017 | Reply

      Thank you for asking, Alma, I have been asking myself that same question but haven’t gotten around to trying it. I happen to have a couple of small canvasses. I’ll put it on my to do list and post about it when I’m done!

    • Pam | January 25, 2017 | Reply

      It can definitely be done on canvas. I’ve done it on canvas sneakers and the results are great. If you google tie-dye sharpie shoes, or galaxy shoes you can see how it’s done. The process is pretty much the same as the tiles.

      • Undercoverdiyer | January 25, 2017 | Reply

        Yes, I have seen the sneakers and they look really cute! I did end up trying it on some small canvasses I had around the house and I wasn’t in love with the outcome, unfortunately. I’m wondering if I should have used something to cover the canvas first? The Sharpie just seemed to dry really quickly. Maybe it was the cheap canvas I used…

  • Tina Geane | January 25, 2017 | Reply

    I love this project, I just found your website and I’m so excited! I love your style! Lol Great projects I can do and if I really dig them and if safe enough I can do with my 10y/o granddaughter. She’s getting sick of same old same old, I’ve gotta do a litte more harder ( if Right word) with her. Beads, painting mugs, you know beginners stuff is not doing it. And my new place I made a art room instead of a quest room and she LOVES IT! So Glad to meet you and thanks for cool ideas from me & Mariah( granddaughter)

    • Undercoverdiyer | January 25, 2017 | Reply

      Hi Tina! I’m so happy you’ve found some fun things to do with your granddaughter! Make sure you check out my polymer clay DIY’s! They are so much fun and definitely a little more grown up for a 10 year old. Just search polymer in the search box at the top left of the blog. Thanks for stopping by! Marybeth

  • Julie Galea | January 25, 2017 | Reply

    We’re the tiles scratch proof once the sealer Krylon UV Resistant Acrylic Coating was applied ?

    • Undercoverdiyer | January 25, 2017 | Reply

      Yes, I put several layers of Krylon on them and haven’t had scratches.

  • Linda Faucz | January 25, 2017 | Reply

    Gotta try this! I was talking to my husband earlier about the crafts I did with my grandmothers. I had one that really would have loved this. We’d have been at Home Depot at opening time tomorrow to start this project. She was always ready to go try something new with me.

    • Undercoverdiyer | January 25, 2017 | Reply

      Hi Linda! Well that warms my heart to hear! Check out my crafts page for other ideas! I bet she would have loved making felted soap. It’s so easy and useful, too!

  • Mary | January 25, 2017 | Reply

    Have you tried an epoxy resin? Just wondering because that’s the sealant I’ve been trying.

    • Undercoverdiyer | January 25, 2017 | Reply

      Hi Mary, I haven’t. I was a little intimated by the epoxy resin, although someone else did suggest it and I’ve seen some good tutorials on-line. I used a Krylon spray finish that has held up well. I applied 3 coats and made sure to let them dry completely in between.

  • Dolores Murphy | January 25, 2017 | Reply

    absolutely beautiful.
    My yupo paper buckled after I painted with alcohol inks on it.
    Don’t know why or how that happens. Can you help me with this?

    • Undercoverdiyer | January 25, 2017 | Reply

      I’ve actually never used this technique on paper. I tried it on canvas once and didn’t love how it came out and I actually just recently tried it on Painted Rocks and they came out beautiful. I’ll be posting about that tomorrow. In the meantime I have read that if the ink is too hot, the paper will buckle. Could that be the problem?

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