Hand painted Delft tiles
Rating 3.5 -moderate
For use on walls, furniture, and objects.
Delft tiles, originating in the 1500's in
Holland, are beautiful hand painted ceramic
tiles. The classic motifs, such as landscapes,
flowers, animals and sea faring images, are
hand painted using a wonderful blue glaze.
Though full color tiles are available, the
word Delft has become synonymous with white
and blue ceramic tiles.
In this tutorial you will learn to create and
paint these classic tiles, ideal suited for
back splashes, decorative trays and objects,
fire place surrounds, or just about anywhere
you want to add a splash of old world charm.
For pattern inspiration, we suggest you visit
Delft web site and choose a motif that
Once you have chosen where
you would like to paint your Delft tile motifs make sure you have prepared the surface for
painting. If the painting area requires touch-ups, filling or repainting, follow the
next 2 steps. If your wall surface has a suitable layer
of white or slightly off white paint in an
eggshell, satin or semi-gloss sheen that is in good
condition, skip to step 3.
Step 1: Remove
all nails and repair any damaged or cracked areas. Prime as needed. Refer to
the artSparx basic preparation resource for
tips and techniques.
Apply a white Latex Eggshell paint finish,
such as Benjamin Moore Antique White, or Pratt
and Lambert Designers White.
may want to paint a different color tone above
the 'Delft tiles' to differentiate the area.
If this is the case, you may want to only
paint the area that will have the Delft motif
with the Eggshell white paint. However,
painting the entire wall will provide
For the artSparx tutorial we have chosen to
paint a kitchen back-splash
with our Delft motif.
ordinary, rather simple kitchen area.
.The completed outlines of
our tile layout
Corner details and base glaze
Randomly placed decorative
'ship' vignettes finish off the effect.
|Creating your color palette
Step 3: Creating the
color palette for Delft blue is very simple.
The color scheme for the entire project only requires 2 colors,
Cobalt Blue and Raw Umber
palette, tape measure or ruler, level,
artist brushes are all the tools you'll need.
|Mapping out the pattern and first
Step 4: Typically Delft tiles are 6 inch
squares. Measure the working space and divide
by 6. If you get an even number, perfect. If
not, then play around with the size slightly.
Try 5 3/4 inch, or 6 1/4 inch, etc.
OK if your tiles don't fit perfectly. If you
where to install genuine tiles you would not
have the flexibility you have with the painted
motifs and the real tiles would fall 'where
ever they will'.
Using your tape measure,
mark off your tile sizes with a pencil.
First create the
horizontal marks, then finish with the
vertical reference points.
Using your pencil and
level, connect the 'guide' lines and draw
out your grid pattern. This will be the
base for the tile edges.
Begin painting the tile edges. On your paint
palette, mix Raw Umber with Cobalt Blue in
approximately equal proportions. This will
create a 'black' tone.
Use a number 6 artist brush
and paint over the grid lines you created with
your pencil. A loose, slightly irregular
application is desirable, therefore, simply
paint over the pencil lines without attempting
to create exacting lines.
Completing the pencil line
Creating the tile lines
No. 6 artists brush.
|Adding corners and the illusion
of tile dimension
you have completed painting the overall line
pattern you will return to add 'corners and
edges'. Using the same 'black' paint you have
mixed using the Raw Umber and Cobalt Blue,
rework the lines by adding a horizontal and
vertical line only where the grid lines
intersect. Essentially you are making a
+ at each corner.
These irregular corners create the illusion of
depth and help imply the hand made nature of
each individual Delft tile.
Adding more lines just at
the corners of each 'tile'
|Antiquing and glazing the surface
You can now proceed with the antiquing
of the Delft tiles,
creating the porcelain glazed appearance
that the original ceramic tiles achieve
after firing in the tile makers kiln.
Working in one area at a
time, mix Cobalt Blue with a small
amount of Raw Umber, creating a
blue-grey tone. Mix with
glazing liquid or scumble glaze (all
work equally well) to create a fluid,
pale glaze and brush on a loose film
over the entire 'tiled' surface.
With the blue-grey glaze
still wet, soften and blot the surface
with a dry, clean cotton rag. This will
create a slightly irregular 'rag'
texture. This effect should be soft and
subtle, so keep blotting and 'ragging'
the area until you have created a soft
Ragging the antique
glaze, creating a glazed ceramic
The classic Delft tiles
are quite simple. The classic white
tiles have corner details, with the
occasionally painted motif randomly
placed throughout the design.
Painting the corner details. On your
palette mix Cobalt Blue with a touch of
Raw Umber, just enough to darken the
blue slightly. From this point onward
your 'blue' should be just that,
primarily blue. Paint the detail
elements in the following manner...
Create 2 diagonal straight
lines at each corner. Once you have done
you will see that a 2 lined diamond
shape is created in each corner.
Don't be fussy, irregularity adds charm
Next, add the curly
motif to each corner.
corner motifs completes the primary
impression of your Delft tile
|Painting decorative vignettes
9: Once you have
chosen a detail motif you want in your Delft
tile pattern you are ready to start painting.
Select a pattern from an existing tile or
Delft web site
for inspiration. Choose random tiles to add
your landscape, animal, flower, etc. motif.
There should be one painted motif to every 5 -
10 tiles. Stand back and look at your tile
pattern to get a 'feel' for where the motifs
should be placed. If you are nervous, start
with a few and add more as you go...
can either free-hand the sketch onto the tile
area or transfer a pattern. To learn how to
transfer a pattern
The color you will paint your pattern
in is the same
blue you used to paint the corner motifs
with, Cobalt Blue with a dash of Raw
Outline the shapes
Filling in solid
Washing on color for
Simply dilute your
paint with water to create the soft,
watery effect of the background
Follow the pattern you
have chosen. Don't worry about being too
literal. The technique should be fun and
loose. It is the overall feeling
of the tiles together that creates the
final, lasting impression.
A completed tile!
Decorative tiles are painted
randomly, every 5 to 10 tiles apart.
|Applying a protective varnish coat
protect the surface, a water-based varnish, such as
be applied after the painted surfaces have dried completely (4-6 hrs). For wall
surfaces it is recommended to use a low-lustre
or Satin sheen finish.
up with warm, soapy water.