Transparent glass tiles look best when displayed against a light, neutral wall color.

Turning a Glass Tile Into Wall Art

by Mary Love

When expensive wall decor might not be feasible, busy moms can enjoy original art that costs little to make and adds artistic pop to walls. Glass creates high visual impact with its reflective properties and provides an inexpensive element to incorporate in your wall decor. You don't need artistic ability to paint graphic silhouettes on glass that produce impressive results. The project is child-friendly and can involve the entire family.

1 Spread newspapers over a flat work surface. Prepare a glass tile for painting by wiping it clean with a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol. This will remove oil and residue so paint will adhere properly.

2 Place your glass tile on a piece of tracing paper and trace its outline with a number 2 pencil. Remove the tile and set it aside. Handle the tile by its edges so you don't leave fingerprints on its surface.

3 Trim around the pencil outline with scissors. Sketch a simple drawing onto your tracing paper. If you aren't artistic, trace around your child's hand, a leaf or flower. You can also lay tracing paper over a coloring book image and trace it.

4 Turn your tracing paper so the drawing is face-down. Using a soft leaded pencil, trace along the lines of your drawing. Turn your paper right side up and center it on top of the glass tile. Secure it to the tile using a piece of tape over each corner.

5 Trace along pencil lines using a number-two pencil using firm pressure. Remove the tape and carefully lift the paper from the tile. Your image should be transferred to the tile.

6 Pour a small amount of acrylic enamel craft paint into a small dish. Choose a single color that will accent your decor. Dip a small, rounded artist's brush into the paint and begin painting, following the outline of your drawing. Continue until the entire image has been outlined with paint. The paint is nontoxic and safe for children to use.

7 Dip a larger, flat artist's brush into the dish of paint and fill the area within the painted outline of your image. Set the tile aside and allow the paint to cure for 24 hours. The paint will become quite durable after it's air dried, and doesn't require heat to cure it.

8 Clean the back of the glass tile and a metal sawtooth picture hanger with a cloth dipped into alcohol. Measure and mark the center of the back of the tile, about 1 inch from the top edge.

9 Apply dollops of glue to the bottom of the flat feet on the sawtooth hanger. Align the center of the hanger with the pencil mark on the tile and use firm pressure to bond the metal and glass together. Allow the glue to cure for the time recommended by the manufacturer. Your decorated tile is now ready to display on the wall.

Items you will need

  • Newspapers
  • Cloth
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Tracing paper
  • Number 2 pencil
  • Soft leaded pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Small dish
  • Water-based enamel craft paint
  • Small, round artist's brush
  • Larger artist's flat brush
  • Sawtooth hanger
  • Measuring tape
  • Glue

Tips

  • While paint is wet, remove mistakes with a damp cloth.
  • Glass tiles are available in different colors and sizes at your local big box store. Select tiles that match your decor. Opaque white is universally appealing and works well for silhouettes. If you are artistic, experiment using several colors and more detailed designs. Group several decorated tiles side by side to hang above a sofa or to display on a larger wall for more impact.

About the Author

In 1982, Mary Love's first book, "Shakespeare Garden," was published. She also authored professional brochures. Love was the subject of a PBS special profiling Northwestern Pennsylvania artists, highlighting her botanicals and birds. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in art education from Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pennsylvania.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images