Painting Unglazed Ceramic Tiles

Previously I had engraved on unglazed tiles for use as coasters and all was well. The grey color of the engraved part was okay as a color and it worked as a coaster.

Fast forward to today, I tried to paint an unglazed tile that I had masked and engraved a gloss black from a rattle can, It seems that they are so absorbent they sucked the paint past the masking at the top level and I cannot get any crisp clean lines. I have done this before on marble for trivets and coasters and it worked just fine.

Is there a method or particular type of paint or different masking that I can use on the unglazed ceramic that won’t leech past the masking tape? Oh, and the tape was applied with some force and using a hard roller to ensure that it made good contact all over the surface.


Yes. Coat in a clear first, after engraving. That will prevent the color from soaking into adjacent areas.

Same applies to wood.

It will take some experimenting on the tile you have, as with any other materials.


Excellent, I will give that a shot!

Unglazed tile is extremely porous. It’s nothing like marble, but I guess you know that now. :slight_smile:


Same question here, but my unglazed tile is for coasters. Seems applying clear coat will remove the absorbent properties. Is there any other way to darken the engrave or paint it without covering up the unglazed (absorbent) part of the tile?

You could paint first, then try to engrave the unwanted paint away with a negative?

I don’t have a great deal of faith in this method but maybe?
It’s a good method on many materials, though I have never tried it on unglazed ceramic, nor have I seen any posts where anyone else tried it. Not saying it hasn’t been done but I just can’t recall.

Examples of this method are all oevr the forum for materials like

Painted metal:

Anodized aluminum:


Cardstock (sort of. engrave away the color to reveal the white core):

Even wood:

And probably other materials too that I’m forgetting.

As for doing this with glazed ceramic, there are a number of techniques people have used, like the norton method:

Or engraving paint away but not revealing the finished tile below:

Maybe the type of paint matters?

You know the more I think about this the more I think it’ll work. You do get decent depth with tiles:

Anyway, experimenting is half of the process here. Have fun!


OMG… Thank you for sharing these pictures. Care to share the settings you used for the tree on wood?

Sorry, not my project. It was @jason.fuller0, maybe he’ll be able to comment.

I also believe @shogun has had some success with engraving stain off wood, maybe he’ll have some insight.

Sorry, not been watching my alerts. I tried looking, but I’m not sure which settings I used for that. Based on notes, it was 1000 speed, somewhere between 10 and 20 on power, possibly more than one pass. Was going for removing material not causing char, so don’t want too light or too heavy on the power.