I love photo crafts, so I when Tilano Decorative Products offered to send me a kit to try, I said, “Yes, yes, YES!”Â I had seen these online, but not in retail stores, and I was itching for a closer look.
Opening the box, I found a rather daunting array of supplies. Mud? Check. Crackle medium? Check. Antiquing gel, transfer medium, and tools were even supplied. OK, let’s go!
But wait a minute. Not so fast! The FIRST thing you need to do is select a photo and have it color-copied onto their fancy transfer paper.
The hardest part for me was choosing a photo. So many cute pics to immortalize in stone! ( But that’s me…) I finally decided on a snap of my kiddos, and decided to gussy it up a bit with some of the templates/frames that Tilano has available online. (For free! You can even use these templates if you haven’t purchased a product, too. How nice is that?)
Decision made, design in hand, I trot off to the local copy shop, where the local gals spend the next half-hour learning how to make mirror-image copies, resizing, and then printing on specialty paper. Ok, so this is NOT the most fun part of the process. If you have copy “experts” at YOUR shop, maybe it won’t be so time-consuming. However, 45 minutes later and $1.48 later, I’ve got my images ready to go.
Next, carefully following the directions, I lay down my newspaper and get going on the actual “tile,” which is actually 8″X8″ press board. It’s bigger than I thought it would be, which is nice. I add the crackle medium…and then walk away. It needs some time to set up. (Don’t walk away for TOO long, though, because if it dries TOO much, you won’t get any crackles. Like me. But we’ll get to that later.)
After the crackle medium is set up, I added my “mud” coat. It has a sandy texture, and is applied with a squeegee. It was drier than expected, and not goopy at all. No odor, either.Â However, it does take some time and finesse to spread all of the mud around and get it covered relatively smoothly. I think I took too long and overworked it, because I didn’t get any crackling at all.
(Another note: this is a rather time-consuming craft. They recommend that you let the mud dry for 8 hours or overnight. You CAN speed things up by drying it in your oven, but the numerous steps is going to necessitate a large time commitment. Save a weekend where you can work on this a bit at a time, with plenty of drying time in between.)
Another nice thing on the site- the are videos for you to watch if you feel insecure about how to apply the mud, the gel etc. I DID watch the video, and it was great to have someone show you what to do.
I added the second coat of mud as directed, did a little sanding, and was ready for the antiquing gel. NOW it’s starting to really take shape!
The next steps consisted of adding the transfer gel medium to the picture and the tile, and waiting for it to dry. Then you add another layer of medium to actually make your image peel of the backing sheet and onto the tile. Adding the layers and waiting for them to dry took a whole Sunday afternoon, so I was chomping at the bit to actually transfer my image. This is not for the impatient, folks!
I made a little slide show of all of these steps for you:
Finally, I finished the last step and wet the paper, and peeled it off. Viola! Awesomeness.
So, do I love this kit? YES. Does it look great on my wall? YES.
But like many “advanced” crafts, this one is time-consuming and is subject to not being “perfect.” I think if your expectations are set from the beginning, you won’t be disappointed.
- Great project- looks cool and authentic
- Good value- you get TWO gi-normous tiles in this kit (one to keep, one to give!)
- Kit is complete with everything you need, even a rag to wipe on the antiquing glaze. Really.
- An extra transfer-paper sheet is included, in case of screw-ups. (thank you!)
- Great on-line support with videos, templates, frequently asked questions, store locator feature, etc. AND the site is easy to navigate.
- Not readily available in stores (find one online using the store locator feature on the site, or just order online.)
- Time consuming. Not that I mind this, but be prepared & have a few days set aside.
- Inconsistent results. Again, not that I mind this, but every one is going to end up with a slightly different look depending on crackling, glazing, etc. This is the fine art of crafting, folks. Banish the concept of “perfect” and you’ll be happy.
This product comes with a hefty price tag of $45.00 (ish, depending on where you buy), but that does give you TWO tiles… and when you break it down, it’s still a good value. (Also, if you buy from the site, there is free shipping on many of the products.)
All in all, I really liked this product and would certainly spend my money on this….I’ve got my eye on that Marble Coaster Kit to make for myself.
If you’ve used this kit or another from the Tilano Decorative Products company, please leave me a comment and let me know how YOU liked it!