How to Paint Fake Ceramic Tiles

Terracotta tiles bring instant warmth and rustic charm to any interior, whether for a cement floor or a kitchen backsplash, Installing tiles can be an expensive and time-consuming process.
Paint a surface to look like ceramic tile.Paint a surface to look like ceramic tile.
Fortunately you can create the look of ceramic tile with a simple faux finish technique. The key to realistic faux ceramic tile is selecting a color that resembles terracotta. A fast coat of glaze with give your faux tile the natural distressed look of a well-worn surface.

Step 1

Mix black tint into the primer to make a color that resembles grout. Tape around the perimeter of the area to be faux finished with 2-inch wide low-tack painters tape. Paint around the edges with the brush. Fill in the rest of the area with the paint roller. Allow the primer to dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 2

Use a tape measure and pencil to mark out an even grid for the faux ceramic tiles. Place strips of ¼ inch tape in between the squares of the grid to make a faux grout line when the tape is later removed.

Step 3

Paint the entire surface with paint in a color that resembles terracotta. Use either a brush or a roller, depending on the size of the surface. Apply two coats of paint for full coverage.

Step 4

Mix latex glazing medium with tints. Glaze should be slightly lighter of darker than the terracotta paint, depending on your preference. Use burnt sienna tint mixed with a little bit of black tint to make a darker glaze. Mix white tint with burnt sienna tint to make a lighter glaze.

Step 5

Brush the glaze on in sections of approximately four tiles. Create a mottled effect by dabbing and rubbing the surface with bunches of rags. Glaze the entire surface, applying and distressing each area before continuing on to the next section. Allow the glaze to dry overnight before removing the tape.

Things You Will Need

  • Low-tack painters tape, 2 inches wide and ¼ inch wide
  • Latex primer
  • Tint, black, burnt sienna, white
  • 2-inch flat brush
  • Roller
  • Paint pan
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Latex paint, terracotta color in satin finish
  • Latex glazing medium
  • Rags

Tip

  • Protect the faux ceramic tile surface with a coat of clear varnish.

About the Author

Fiona Fearey has an undergraduate degree from Temple University and a master's degree from New York University. She has been a freelance writer and editor for over five years. She has written for Pluck on Demand and various other websites. Other professional experience includes education, the arts and decorative painting.