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How to Craft With Slate Roofing Tile

Deborah Harding

Slate is a rock that was created from clay sediments and silt layered under water. Over time, these materials, exposed to heat and pressure, formed layers of solid slate. Slate comes in a variety of colors, including blue-black, gray, green, red, purple and combinations of these colors.

Slate tiles are a beautiful backdrop to artwork.

Slate roofing tiles make a wonderful canvas on which to paint. Portraits or signs painted on weathered slate look lovely as wall hangings, and slate trivets or coasters do an effective job of protecting furniture while looking elegant.

Trivets or Coasters

  1. Clean the slate well with mild detergent and water.

  2. Let the tile dry completely. This might take a day or so.

  3. Apply four rubber self-stick pads to the four corners of the bottom of the tile. The rubber pads will prevent slate from scratching furniture. You can find the pads at hardware stores.

Wall Hangings

  1. Drill a hole in the middle top or at two ends at the top of the slate, using an electric drill or drill press with a masonry bit installed. Keep the slate wet so it will not crack or break.

  2. Clean the slate well with mild detergent and water. Let dry completely.

  3. Insert leather strapping or twine into the holes in the slate and tie in a loop or from one hole to another, tying each end with a knot at the back, to create a hanger; or insert wire into the holes and secure by twisting the ends in a knot.

  4. Cover your work area with newspaper to catch spills.

  5. Draw a picture on the slate, using a pencil. Paint over the pencil, using an artist’s brush and acrylic paint, and let the paint dry completely. Spray with with clear acrylic sealer, if you want a glossy finish.

  6. Tip

    Find old, salvaged slate tiles at garage sales and flea markets. Also, check for slate at architectural salvage and stone sellers. Use felt self-stick buttons instead of rubber. Use only synthetic paintbrushes. Slate is very hard on brushes, and the brushes tend to lose their bristles after a few uses. Synthetic brushes are less expensive. Paint the slate with a solid color or with gesso before painting your picture, if you wish.


    Always use goggles when drilling holes to protect the eyes, and use plenty of water to protect the slate from breaks.

    Do not use markers to draw designs on slate; the paint will not cover the marks as well as it covers pencil.