I've been trying to come up with some unique ways to use ceramic tiles since my last trip to the hardware store to stock up. A couple of weeks ago I made an art plaque with some tissue paper and a 6 inch tile, this week, I wanted to use some 4 inch tiles to make a craft. I love experimenting with the small ceramic tiles as the plain ones only cost about 13 cents a piece. That's a totally reasonable price to pay for an experiment, so I thought I'd try embossing powder on the tiles.
I assembled my clear ink pad, some cute stamps from the discount section at Michael's (I think I picked them up last summer), some black embossing powder, a cheap 4 inch ceramic tile, and a cork trivet. Then I plugged in my heat gun and got started.
I coated the stamps with the clear ink (which is about the consistency of vaseline and works great for embossing powder--it sticks like a dream) and carefully stamped it onto the tile, then I dumped some black embossing powder onto the ink (like you would dump glitter onto glue) and then tapped it off. The first thing I noticed was that the embossing powder really clung to the glossy surface of the tile. So I did my best to wipe away the excess with my finger. I'm sure I could have removed more with a small paint brush, but I soldiered on. I ran the heat gun over the surface until the powder turned glossy. It took longer to heat than most surfaces that I've embossed (which makes sense given how insulative ceramic is). I tried wiping the tile down with a damp paper towel before giving it a second try. The powder clung a little less, but was still pretty stubborn. I think if I did this again, I'd try it out with a tile that had a less glossy surface, but they still turned out pretty neat.
You could seal these and turn them into coasters or just use them as decorative pieces, either way, the experiment mostly worked. I just have a few kinks to iron out.