• Glazed Watercolor Tiles Mail Art Tutorial

    Today, I’ll show you how to make “glazed” watercolor tiles with the help of a time-saving printable. You can incorporate your tiles into mail art (as I did today), home décor, greeting cards, or sketchbook pages! The secret is to keep an opaque white ink or paint on hand to add ceramic-like highlights.

    Glazed Watercolor Tiles Mail Art Tutorial

    I might be a little obsessed with colorful glazed tiles. In our house, we’ve been known to add them to stairs, put them on tabletops, and even draw them on the walls! Glazed watercolor tiles were bound to make their way onto a piece of mail art or two. Today, I’m going to show you how to draw realistic-looking tiles with the help of a handy free printable.

    (Seriously Gorgeous!) Talavera Mexican Tile Mail Art Tutorial | The Postman's Knock
    I can honestly say that going up and down our basement stairs is a visual treat. 

    1. Gather Your Supplies

    For this tutorial, you’ll need a few key supplies. You can find links below this photo:

    1. Embellished Tiles Printable (it’s free)
    2. Winsor & Newton watercolor palette (or your favorite palette)
    3. Ziller Soot Black Ink
    4. Bleed Proof White Ink
    5. Straight pen fitted with a Nikko G nib
    6. Size 2 paintbrush (Any small-ish size of paintbrush will work)
    7. White high-quality envelope

    2. Trace the Tiles

    First, place the tiles printable on a light box, then put the envelope on top. Use the Soot Black ink and your dip pen to trace over the tiles, which you should be able to see shining up through the envelope.

    Keep the envelope’s back flap open. Doing so will make it easier to see the pattern beneath the envelope! (You don’t need to trace over the tiles shining through the flap.)

    If you don’t have a light box, you can use a bright window as a makeshift light box. If you choose to go that route, you’ll need to trace your tiles with a pencil, then trace over the pencil lines with your Ziller ink.

    As you trace, be sure to “cut” the middle two tiles in half. The top halves should feature the tile design, while the bottom halves should remain empty.

    We’re keeping two chunks of tiles empty so we can write an address there.

    When you’re finished, the envelope should look something like this:

    It’s okay if your tiles aren’t aligned exactly like the tiles on this envelope. The important thing is to maintain a pleasing pattern and to have two blank tile portions to write an address on.

    3. Write the Recipient’s Address

    Now, use your dip pen and ink to write the recipient’s name in the left blank tile. Then, write the recipient’s address in the right blank tile.

    I used a combination of small Sans Serif lettering and Kaitlin Style calligraphy to write my recipient’s name and address.

    4. Add Watercolor

    Next, use a light blue tone like Cerulean Blue Hue to fill in the portions of the tiles shown below:

    Then, use Cadmium Red deep hue to fill in the portions shown in this photo:

    Use Intense Blue to fill in the remainder of the large design elements:

    Pretty Watercolor Tiles Mail Art Tutorial

    Then, use Cadmium Yellow Hue to fill in any lines on the tile designs. Once you’ve done that, use watered-down Payne’s Gray to outline the tiles with the recipient’s name and address.

    Pretty Watercolor Tiles Mail Art Tutorial
    Don’t add any color to the “grout” (the space between the tiles)!

    5. Add Highlights

    To finish up, use a paintbrush and Bleed Proof White ink to add wavy, inconsistent lines of highlights to the outside of each tile. Doing this will add that ceramic/glazed effect that we want.

    Pretty Watercolor Tiles Mail Art Tutorial
    This part of the tutorial is where the tiles come to life!

    Once the white ink has dried (give it a good hour or two), you can add Microglaze to the envelope, if you want to. You don’t have to apply Microglaze, but Microglaze will protect the envelope and give it a slightly shiny look, which adds to the “glazed” effect!

    Pretty Watercolor Tiles Mail Art Tutorial
    Be sure to choose a postage stamp that complements the colorful elegance of the tile design.

    Using Watercolor Tiles as Home Decor

    This watercolor tile technique doesn’t just have to be used for envelopes. It looks just as great when it’s framed and used as home décor. You can take the tutorial a step further and use it to make all-occasion greeting cards or gift tags!

    Hand-Painted Tiles Illustration Tutorial | The Postman's Knock
    I have several framed watercolor tile pieces scattered around my house.

    No Time to Make This Mail Art?

    If you love the idea behind this mail art, but you don’t have the time to make it, I’ve got a tiles mail art printable envelope! It’s part of the TPK Tutorial Printable Mail Art Templates collection. To use it, you just cut, fold, and glue. Easy-peasy!

    Printable Mail Art Templates
    The TPK Tutorial Printable Mail Art Templates includes eight fabulous printable designs inspired by TPK tutorials.

    I hope that today’s tutorial inspires you to try making your own glazed watercolor tiles! They’re a little time-consuming, but also very relaxing and fun. The perfect way to spend a couple of hours on a lazy summer day! Happy creating and enjoy.


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock