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Bamboo Tiles - Candice Jordan

Altered Bamboo Tiles (Art Neko carries Bamboo Tiles)

Bamboo Tiles

These items are made using bamboo tile beads that have been unstrung from placemats.  The tiles are great to work with because they are predrilled with holes along both long sides of the tile and the edge pieces also have a slit along one side which can be handy for some applications.  You can stamp and collage with fabric or paper onto these tiles and finish off your pieces with pinbacks or pendant or bracelet applications.  You can also string them to hang as Christmas ornaments. This page gives you general directions for altering these tiles into little pieces of art and samples are shown from an Orientalstampart swap Spring 2007, SplitcoastStampers event October 2007 and various other decorated tiles.

Bamboo Tiles

The range of colors of these placemats is limited and certain colors seem to be quite hard to find—the suppliers seem to always be out of stock.  However a can of spray paint, a bottle of craft paint or permanent ink can easily turn the tile into whatever color or finish you desire.  When using ink, you can rub off the excess with a paper towel before proceeding and when using paint, you will need to let it dry well before continuing.

Bamboo Tiles

When stamping onto these tiles, you need to be aware of the fact that the surfaces are often curved and some backs are particularly difficult for stamping as they are curved inward or have grooves in the grain.  If you are not happy with the stamped image, don’t get a good impression, whatever—sometimes a quick wipe with alcohol can remove the ink and you can try again—or you might be able to sand off the ink.  But the simpler thing to do with these rejects is to put them in your pile for covering with paper or fabric collage.

Bamboo Tiles

I like to wipe down the tiles with alcohol before stamping or painting a tile to remove any oil, wax or other grime that may be on the tile.  You may even wish to give the tile a light sanding if you are going to coat it with paint.

Bamboo Tiles

Other tips I have developed:

Take a piece of  stiff wire that is thin enough to fit the holes of your tiles.  Bend the wire into a long “hairpin”.  Before painting or spraying a sealer onto the tiles, suspend the tile with the hairpin through the holes.  This will allow you to cover the tile with your paint or sealant without getting any fingerprints on the tile.  The hairpin can be stuck into a piece of stiff foam or a container of sand so that the tile stands up while drying or the ends can be placed horizontally on items high enough to keep the tiles from touching a surface.  If your hairpin is long enough you may be able to string more than one tile, being sure they do not touch.  You can also use the hairpin as a handle to hold the tile while spraying or painting.  I like to use a 17” piece of wire which when bent gives me plenty of room to use the wire as a handle and to suspend, paint and dry several tiles at a time.

If you are stamping onto a tile you may need to slightly rock, being careful not to slide or smear,  to get coverage to the edge.  My preferred method is to stick the tile onto an acrylic block with Tack N Peel and press the tile onto the stamp instead of the stamp onto the tile.  I feel I get better control of both the tile and the portion of the stamp I want to use by using this method.  Ink up your stamp and lay it face up on your work surface.  You may find that the Tack N Peel tends to grip the bamboo really tight and you may need to use something like a credit card to pry it back off the Tack N Peel after stamping. This method also works well when stamping with dominoes.

I like  to use is a permanent ink such as Stazon.  You may also use Sharpie pens on your rubber stamps.  If you wish to color in images you can use Sharpie pens.  You can also experiment with apply a small amount of alcohol with a brush to blend the Sharpie colors or you could use craft paints to paint in parts of your images.  Because some sealers may cause some inks or colors to run, I like to apply a coat of Workable Fixtatif to the tile before sealing it with brush on or spray varnish. 

I love working with these tiles—there are so many possibilities.  You can embellish with charms, coins, ribbons, yarns,  printed bits of paper--whatever comes to mind. 


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