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Painting Ceramic Tile

Has anyone ever painted the tiles in their bathroom with good success? I have a shower floor that really needs work as well as some wall trim. I found a company in southern California that uses a special technique to do it, but they're so expensive. I wondered if someone else has tried this. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. Thanks


Bridie M. from San Diego, CA


Painting Ceramic Tile

I paint custom botanical tiles for a living. Of course I use a kiln and glazes (not paint) to set the colors. But if you'd like to paint your own artwork or even each tile there are several specialty paints that are made to be permanent on already fired and glazed ceramic pottery and tiles. I like a brand called "Glossies" by "Liquitex". I've seen these sold in the higher-end painting supplies at Michael's craft store. There is another brand called "Porceline" (I believe) sold at most art and painting supply stores. The main trick is to wash your hands well to rid them of any natural oils and hand lotion, then clean each tile well with rubbing alcohol before you begin.


If you don't want to do actual artwork, stenciling, or stamping on your tiles, then you should still clean your tiles with rubbing alcohol and prime them with a "high-adhesive" primer, then paint them. But to get a good finished look you'll have to go back in with a thin artist paint brush and repaint the grout lines. You may also be able to find some pin striping to use to mask off the grout before you paint.

If it were me, and I wanted a professional looking job I'd go with paint that's made especially for painting glass and ceramic (read above) and not a Home Depot type of product. But it mostly depends on what color you have and what color you are changing it to. Your best bet would be to not change the color of tile at all, but instead use a different color that you like better and use your tile color as an accent color. You can kind of make your tile color "disappear" by using another color. Example: If you''ve got a pink tiled bathroom, you could use black as your main color and buy a black rug and black accent pieces and black towels. Before you know it the pink has disappeared beneath the stronger color of black. This technique can look much better than a somewhat tacky and fake looking paint job on tiles. (if it's done wrong). (09/30/2008)


By Cyinda

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