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How to Make Handprint Tiles

Simon Green

A thoughtful keepsake or present for a parent is a ceramic tile with a handprint of her child. A tile can be made every year through childhood to show how much the child has grown or be part of an alternative family portrait with parents and children all making a handprint tile.

The most difficult part is keeping the child’s hand still on the tile.

Plain unglazed tiles and the rest of the materials required for this project are readily available from a craft store.

  1. Clean hands with soap and warm water to remove any dirt and grease. This will stop impurities from getting stuck under the glaze that will adversely affect the finish. Wipe over the tile as well with a damp cloth to remove any dust.

  2. Pour some of the underglaze into a shallow dish or paint roller tray and dip in the hand so the palm and fingers are covered in paint. Let the drips run off for a minute to avoid excess smudging on the tile.

  3. Press the hand firmly onto the tile and roll the fingers to get a full handprint. Avoid any movement with the hand.

  4. Remove the hand straight up and do not drag it across the tile.

  5. Write the person's name and age on the tile with a fine paintbrush. Leave the underglaze to dry overnight in a draftless area. Through winds can lead to dirt getting stuck in the glaze.

  6. Paint on a layer of clear gloss glaze over the dried underglaze using a large, soft paintbrush. Leave to dry for a few hours and then apply a second and third coat. Leave the glaze to dry in an area with no through breeze to stop dust and dirt getting caught in the glaze.

  7. Fire the tile in a kiln. A craft store will be able to tell you where this can be done. It is not completely necessary, but will ensure the gloss glaze will give the proper protection to the handprint.

  8. Warning

    Do not let children do this task unobserved.