Ceramic Tile Award Plaque

Sat back watching and enjoying all the tile work. Didn’t really have a project to jump into until the teacher in charge of retirement gifts at the local school asked me if I could come up with something for them.

I worked up samples in four inch and six inch tile from Lowes, a couple bone, a couple white. They are the teacher of the year (four inch) and teacher of the month (on the left above.) I had some 1/4" walnut hardwood to make some frames and got some cheap 5 mm plywood for base.

Got a pack of different colored sharpies, some Mr. Clean magic erasers, some butcher block oil/wax and made these.

I’m including the files for a 4 inch tile (25 cents a piece) and 6 inch tile (45 cents a piece.) If you have been holding off doing tile, maybe this will help.

One thing you will want to do is cut a jig out of cardboard to place the tiles in for engraving. That way you can batch them. If you use the file I made as a template and not move the jig, you can just keep loading the different files and they will all process in the same place. It’s a 20x12 art board. Also test out the frame pieces. Then cut out the backing. You can use the back from as an assembly jig.

I tried some acrylic paint first using masking tape and engraving through the tape. I let the acrylic dry to long and it pulled up with the tape. Sharpies work just fine. A little messier cleaning but not too bad.

I engraved the logo at varying power with 50% as lowest to get a slightly lighter part of the bottom text. It was a PNG from the school. I didn’t want to pay forty dollars for the fonts nor trace the logo bug. It was crisp enough, but still I like to work from vectors for control and precision.

700 zooms and Full pews with two passes at 340. that gives me a deep engrave.


Here is the walnut for the frame masked only on the visible side.

Put the good side down since the kerf is narrower to the bottom and you get a tighter fit at the corners.

Had some close camera positioning since the walnut wasn’t too wide and the stand piece just fit.

Assembly jig. The walnut varied in thickness so I sanded them down a bit. Not the best fit at corners. I used hot glue to assemble. The tile works best with the hot glue since is has the ridges and the variable walnut thickness also worked with the hot glue. Just barely enough time to fit it up. Will have to rethink this setup a bit with some corner clamps. The tile is pretty consistent, but varies enough that I could have given some more slack for it to fit into the frame without expanding it.

The back of the backing with the stand piece. It can be a flat trivet, a wall hanging or a standing framed plaque.

Love putting the butcher block oil on the walnut. It literally comes alive!

Would have been easier doing a thick Proofgrade plywood for the frame pieces. More consistent. But my costs were about $20 for everything and I got $25 a plaque. First significant sale!


four inch tile design. It has text to edit at the moment so all you have to do is put in a different graphic, change the text to what you want, convert object to path and engrave away.


So it can be a little confusing what to cut, what to engrave, what to ignore. I ended up making the frame a separate file and then had each custom engraving square a separate file without the frame, stand piece or backing.

If you do use Proofgrade plywood for the backing plate and the stand piece, make sure you change the width of the two slots. right now they are sized for 1/4" material.

Let me know if something isn’t clear. Haven’t posted one of these long descriptions for a while. I’m sure I’ll be editing it for a couple days!


Those turned out great! Nice little remembrances. :grinning:


This is not you normal exceptional work and write up. It goes way beyond that. I don’t think I have the superlative even with my vocabulary. So glad to see you posting regular again.


Great job on those! You really made it a complete project with the solid walnut frames and stands. Now I really want to do tiles too.

Thanks so much for the files, that will really help!

One question: do you seal the surface of the tile with anything, or is it fine to leave as is?


Nice to see you posting again, great write-up and a fun little project that paid for itself. Thanks for the files too.

Interesting observation, I’ll have to keep that in mind.


Thank you for the write-up and the files!

I’m sure they were very pleased with your work!

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I didn’t seal them. I didn’t check to see if water makes it run at all. Something to test out.

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Lovely sentiment and a great design!

Very recently I tried using spray shellac to seal mine and got interesting results. The first one worked really well, which I made regularly without masking not intending to seal but decided that a test needed to be done to find if you could seal these with shellac. I used a new razor blade to scrape the excess shellac once it dried, and that worked great. The second time I masked, and each time I’ve masked it the engrave had a slightly different etch - anyway, with the second my wife colored it using a light pink sharpie and the shellac “watered” it down creating a sort of watercolor look to it. The shellac seeped under the masking in a few areas which required me to still use my razor blade, but both cases have worked well.

I can’t say what the longevity of this method is, but so far it seems like a good alternative.


Simply stunning! Glad to see more posts from you. :sunglasses:

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Thank you so much for your generous file @marmak3261. With it I was able to make a lovely gift for a gal who graciously stepped in to help with my girl at a dog show tomorrow.


Pretty pup too. Those tiles make great “Thank yous”. :slightly_smiling_face:


That really looks nice. the engrave came out perfect!

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great job! Thank you!

I know I’m losing my mind, but I can’t seem to find the files to download… someone please help!

Go back up to the first post in the thread, right click on the thing that looks like this:

and choose Save As - SVG file.


Ahhhh I’m a Mac user so we don’t right click.

Kim Stealey

Papel Gifts & Stationery

3192 Executive Drive

San Angelo, Texas 76904

325-895-5244 Cell


Two finger click, save as…

I finally got around to making some frames for my tiles. I absolutely love these, it elevates it up to the extreme LOL


Very nice. I like your stand too. :grin: