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Backer for ceramic tile

Elwoood

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May 5, 2020
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I do sandblast etching of petroglyphs on 9X12 ceramic tile. I need suggestions on a backer material. The tile has ridges that stop 1/4" from edge. I normally use PSA felt but on this large tile series the cost is too much. Sheet felt means gluing the whole tile, way more labor. Ideas?
Thanks, Dave
IMG_1749 800x600.JPG IMG_1747 800x600.JPG
 

Ylva

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That looks awesome! I’d like to see more

Are they going in a frame? I guess I’m not sure what you are trying to achieve. Why do you need a backing? If frame, piece of mat board stapled over the frame might work.
If it is just to hide the back, could you paint it?
 

Elwoood

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That looks awesome! I’d like to see more

Are they going in a frame? I guess I’m not sure what you are trying to achieve. Why do you need a backing? If frame, piece of mat board stapled over the frame might work.
If it is just to hide the back, could you paint it?
 

Elwoood

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Thanks for the quick response. No frame, just trying to cover an ugly back. I paint the edges to match the front color. I am trying for a more "finished" look for a higher end market. Probably over thinking this....
 
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Framar

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You are selling these as what? To hang on a wall? To use as a hotplate? To frame?

Over the years I have seen dozens, if not hundreds, of tiles from all over the world - none of the artisans ever seem to bother with trying to disguise the backs. Because buyers are enthralled with the fronts. As I would be with your petroglyphs.
 

wvframer

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I think anything besides the felt will be so labor-intensive that you won't save much. Maybe buying the felt in larger quantities might get you to a good price point.
 

wvframer

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Framar is right. I like the idea of your felt-finished backs, but I have never seen a finished back on any of the tiles that have come my way including some very-high end art.
 
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Elwoood

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May 5, 2020
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You are selling these as what? To hang on a wall? To use as a hotplate? To frame?

Over the years I have seen dozens, if not hundreds, of tiles from all over the world - none of the artisans ever seem to bother with trying to disguise the backs. Because buyers are enthralled with the fronts. As I would be with your petroglyphs.
 

Elwoood

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May 5, 2020
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Yes these are for sale. They will be wall hangers without frames. The Scottsdale area of Phoenix is known for juried, fine arts and crafts shows. The attention to detail is very high. I have other petroglyph products I have sold there before. These will be my 2nd highest price item. Just trying to show a clean well made product, so I can command a top dollar price. I appreciate your input.
Thanks, Dave
 

Elwoood

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I have some sheet felt, the issue is the ridges near the edge. I only have 1/4" border to work with. getting to lay down and stay down is my concern. It's a lot of work gluing the small edge.
Thanks for replying,
Dave
 

neilframer

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Welcome to the Grumble Elwoood.
What about using thin cork and gluing it to the back?
It seems to be very inexpensive.
Something like this stuff..
or this..
Amazon product

I manage a shop in central Phoenix.
We are a high volume shop working with a large design company, also other corporate clients and we also have regular retail walk in customers.
We have 100% 5 star reviews and the owner is the former Arizona PPFA president.
I also worked for 14 years at a high end framing and design company on Craftsman Court in old downtown Scottsdale.
We later moved to Shops at Gainey in Scottsdale for a number of years until the owner retired.

I have also worked in the past for shops in Tempe and Gilbert.
Feel free to ask questions on the Grumble and folks will help if they can.:thumbsup:
 
Last edited:
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Ylva

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Yes these are for sale. They will be wall hangers without frames. The Scottsdale area of Phoenix is known for juried, fine arts and crafts shows. The attention to detail is very high. I have other petroglyph products I have sold there before. These will be my 2nd highest price item. Just trying to show a clean well made product, so I can command a top dollar price. I appreciate your input.
Thanks, Dave
I like them a lot. The cork idea might be something to look into.
How will they be hanging, from what, I mean?
Welcome to the G! I do hope to see some more of your work
 

Elwoood

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They will hang by a D ring epoxied to the back. I tried some cork I had in the shop and it did not bend over the ridges. I tried some felt fabric and that seem to cover better. Thanks for the kind welcome,
Dave
 

adamr1020

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Jan 8, 2009
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Franks fabrics is doing some fabric wrapped backs. They could even have a hanger applied to the backing material.
-Adam
 

DVieau2

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Oct 26, 2004
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They will hang by a D ring epoxied to the back. I tried some cork I had in the shop and it did not bend over the ridges. I tried some felt fabric and that seem to cover better. Thanks for the kind welcome,Dave
I love the art.

I have framed numerous art tiles in a variety of ways. Most involve polyurethane construction adhesive and plywood.

I would like to mention is that if you epoxy D rings to the back you add challenges and work arounds to framing the piece.
 

Elwoood

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Interesting idea. My tiles weigh in a about 1 1/2 pounds each. Not sure a hanger attached to fabric would hold. I will keep that in mind for some smaller/lighter products. Thanks
 
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DVieau2

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I might suggest 1/2 inch plywood glued to the back and cut smaller than the tile so it's not visible from the front. Alone it would provide a a standoff look and give you something to grip for hanging.

Maybe do a torture test using scrap materials.
 

framah

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Here's a thought.. what if you ground the ridges off the back so it was flat?

I had a 12x12 tile of an Owl come in and the material was soft enough to use a somewhat rough file to flatten the ridge around the edge on the back so it set flat.
 

wpfay

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Depending on the volume, a flocking gun might be a good answer. Probably have to attach the D-ring prior to flocking. I watched a couple tutorials on Youtube, and it doesn't seem all that difficult, and the investment looks minimal.
 

Elwoood

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Here's a thought.. what if you ground the ridges off the back so it was flat?

I had a 12x12 tile of an Owl come in and the material was soft enough to use a somewhat rough file to flatten the ridge around the edge on the back so it set flat.
 

Elwoood

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May 5, 2020
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This is a commercial ceramic wall tile, so it's pretty hard. I have to grind for the D ring, would not want to grind the whole back. Way too much dust, noise and time.
Thanks
 
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framah

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Ok, yeah.. mine was a hand made one so it was a hardened clay and flattened easily.

Good luck with it.
 

nikodeumus

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Apr 21, 2015
Messages
510
Here's my suggestion:
What about a coating like Plasitkote or Plastidip?

42518_03208344_001.jpg 302221-harbour-blue-100ml-spray-paint.jpg

First, apply your hangers.
Then, mask off the edges of the back of the tile about 1/8" - 1/4" so you don't get over spray or drips on the sides or front of the tile.
Then slap on a layer or two of the coating.
This could have a very clean looking finish compared to felt?
I would still use bumpers on the corners, to keep the plastic coat off the wall. Who knows if it might mark, or stain different kinds of paint, paper, wood, etc.?
 

Elwoood

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I will have 64 to do, seems like it would be more expensive in both materials and labor. I'll have to cost it out. Thanks
 

nikodeumus

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I will have 64 to do, seems like it would be more expensive in both materials and labor. I'll have to cost it out. Thanks
I really like your art as well.
I have done acid glass etching in the past.
I got a table-top sandblasting cabinet years ago, but haven't used it yet. You've inspired me to take it out of storage and give it a try.

True, the upfront cost of the plastic coating may be higher than some other options.
But, if it gives a more professionally finished look to the overall piece, you can calculate that cost into your pricing.
You said in an earlier post that you are aiming for a high-end market.
You can charge more $$ for a product that you took extra care in time and material to make look more professional.

Please share with us what you end up doing, as I'm sure many of us are curious to see the finished outcome.
 

wvframer

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If you are going to be producing in those numbers on a regular basis, it might be worthwhile to talk so some folks who produce tiles to see if some modifications could be made to the back. In fact, there may already be something out there.

Is it necessary for the back to be finished after the image is created as opposed to before? Perhaps some manufacturer would finish the back in some way that would work better for you.

From what I saw in your pictures you are onto something really good.
 
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Elwoood

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May 5, 2020
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If you are going to be producing in those numbers on a regular basis, it might be worthwhile to talk so some folks who produce tiles to see if some modifications could be made to the back. In fact, there may already be something out there.

Is it necessary for the back to be finished after the image is created as opposed to before? Perhaps some manufacturer would finish the back in some way that would work better for you.

From what I saw in your pictures you are onto something really good.
 

Elwoood

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May 5, 2020
Messages
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The tile is made by Daltile. It's stock off the shelf wall tile. Grinding the back down is to much labor, not to mention the dust and noise. I had several ideas, I just thought someone might have a better one. It's looking like felt. The cost only .16 per foot and some glue. I have felted 100's of glass tile coasters, I'm fast... Thanks for the interest. I will post some more pics.
 

Elwoood

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May 5, 2020
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I really like your art as well.
I have done acid glass etching in the past.
I got a table-top sandblasting cabinet years ago, but haven't used it yet. You've inspired me to take it out of storage and give it a try.

True, the upfront cost of the plastic coating may be higher than some other options.
But, if it gives a more professionally finished look to the overall piece, you can calculate that cost into your pricing.
You said in an earlier post that you are aiming for a high-end market.
You can charge more $$ for a product that you took extra care in time and material to make look more professional.

Please share with us what you end up doing, as I'm sure many of us are curious to see the finished outcome.
 

Elwoood

Grumbler
Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
18
Thanks for the suggestion. I am probably going with felt. Fast and cheap. Good luck with your blasting. I know you know this, but Never use sand and Always wear a mask. All cabinets leak, be careful. Post some pics of what you make. Thanks, Dave
 

neilframer

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Just a suggestion..
You don't have to quote or hit reply in one post and reply in another separate post.
You can quote someone and reply in the same post.
Just hit reply on their post and then type in your reply.:thumbsup:
 
Last edited:
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Jim Miller

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Continuing to use a felt backing would give your products some continuity.

How about using acrylic gel medium to attach ordinary felt? Just brush or roll it evenly onto the tile's back surface, let it set up for a few minutes, and then lay on the felt. If you apply too much gel or lay on the felt too soon, bleed-through could be an issue, but you should be able to avoid that with a bit of experimentation.

Acrylic gel is water-soluble when wet, so it would be easy to clean up and wipe off any slops. But it's like a flexible plastic coating and permanent when dry.
 
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