Block Printing with Underglazes on Bisque Clay Tile

Study the Islamic design used in ancient architecture

Prepare four 6′ x 6″ x 1/2″ clay tiles by rolling out clay between 1/2″ wooden rails.

Photo of drawing design onto Balsa-Foam block with pencilPhoto of carving design into Balsa-Foam along pencil lines

1. Lightly sketch a design or image onto soft lino-block using a soft pencil. Carve the design. Varying the lines depths and widths will help make a more unique and interesting block. Be sure not to carve completely through.


Photo of finished carved Balsa-Foam block

Completed carving.


Photo of applying Velvets to Balsa-Foam block with a Stippling SpongePhoto of applying a second color of Velvets to the Balsa-Foam block

2. Using a sponge  apply glazes only to the high points of the decorated side of block. Multiple colors could be applied during the same printing.


Photo of pressing Balsa-Foam block colored side down onto bisque tilePhoto of applying more Velvet colors to the stamped bisque tile

3. Lightly press the block onto a bisque tile or flat section of a plate or bowl. Additional colors or underglaze highlights may be painted onto the design.


Photo of re-coloring Balsa-Foam block before second stamping

4. Re-apply colors for additional prints or to create a repeating pattern.


Photo of applying a clear glaze over the dried underglazes

5. Once the underglazes are dry, clear glaze may be brushed on before glaze firing.


Photo of finished tile with its Balsa-Foam stamp

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