How to paint tiles: 13 steps (with pictures)

How to paint tiles: 13 steps (with pictures)
How to paint tiles: 13 steps (with pictures)

Tile painting can be a work of art in itself or can be added to an existing tiled surface for a personalized touch on a counter, shower screen or fireplace. Instead of spending your time and money replacing tiles that have lost their color, try painting them to make your tile look like new with little expense. Add colors to your home or create a unique piece of art!


Part 1 of 3: identify materials

Do Tile Painting Step 1

Step 1. Choose an untextured ceramic tile

If you are just painting a tile into a piece of art, choose the simplest tile possible. You can also paint a ceramic tile that you already have in your home. However, be aware that textured tiles require a bit more precision.

You can use glass tiles or not

Do Tile Painting Step 2

Step 2. Purchase ceramic tile paint

You can also use oil paint. It is very important to use the right type of paint so that it adheres well to the ceramic tile and that it is not damaged by the elements (in contact with water for example).

Do Tile Painting Step 3

Step 3. Choose the correct size brushes

If you are painting an intricate scene on your tile, you will probably need brushes of varying sizes. On the contrary, if you are painting a large bathroom wall for example, you can use a single, wide brush.

Do Tile Painting Step 4

Step 4. Organize your workspace

Spread sheets of newspaper or a rag over the surfaces to be protected.

Keep wet rags handy in case you need to fix a mistake. Also put a container filled with water to clean the brushes, when necessary

Part 2 of 3: prepare the tiles

Do Tile Painting Step 5

Step 1. Prepare your tile or surface to be painted

You will first need to carefully scrub the surfaces to be painted with a toothbrush and cleaning product. This will remove stains and traces of discoloration. For insulated tiles, simply scrub with a rag and soapy water.

  • Use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to remove mold.
  • Vinegar is effective in removing soap and shower gel buildup.
Do Tile Painting Step 6

Step 2. Get an orbital sander

If necessary, use an orbital sander to prepare the surfaces to be painted. The 1800 grit paper will smooth the tile and remove any traces of varnish.

Vacuum dust and chips before continuing

Do Tile Painting Step 7

Step 3. Apply a high tack primer to tiled surfaces

Oil-based primers are effective in preventing stains and adhering to ceramic and oil paint. If necessary, apply two coats.

Do Tile Painting Step 8

Step 4. Let the surface dry before you start painting

Part 3 of 3: paint the tiles

Do Tile Painting Step 9

Step 1. Decide on the colors and style

If you are repainting existing tiles, make sure the colors you choose match the style of the rest of the tile. Generally, it is better to choose light colors for repainting tiles, as dark or bright colors can overload the room.

  • Ask yourself aesthetic questions. Do you want to cover the entire tiled surface or paint only part of it? Both options can give good results. You can put the image of an animal, a face, an object in the center of the surface to be covered so that it catches the eye. You can also choose a country scene, a landscape or the view of a city to fill the entire area.
  • For a surface in your home, you may want to include a decorated tile or rows of tiles that form a pattern, picture, or word. Decorative tiles can give a touch of originality and beautiful colors to a wall in your home.
Do Tile Painting Step 10

Step 2. Start by reproducing your pattern in pencil

Don't force it. This technique is particularly effective for complex scenes or patterns. Do not press too hard on the pencil to be able to hide or erase the lines if necessary.

Do Tile Painting Step 11

Step 3. Paint

After drawing your pattern, you can start painting.

If you are working on an entire wall in your house, apply several light coats of paint and let dry between coats

Do Tile Painting Step 12

Step 4. Let dry

Let dry for 48 hours for large projects or 24 hours for small decorative projects.

Do Tile Painting Step 13

Step 5. Finish with a coat of clear urethane

This fixes the paint. You can also apply several coats if you wish.


  • Consider adding decorative tiles to bring light to a dull surface.
  • Be patient. The more attention you pay to the details, the better the results will be.
  • Clean and repair problematic plasters before painting your tiles.
  • You can also use glass paint on high gloss tiles.


  • For painting tiles, sprays, enamel paints and epoxy will not work as well as oil paints.
  • Take appropriate safety precautions when using electrical devices and / or when using products that may release toxic fumes by wearing safety glasses and a mask.
  • If you repaint the tiles on a wall in your house, know that the result will not last forever. Indeed, you will probably have to give a brushstroke in the future.
  • Do not stay bent too long in an awkward position, as this could hurt your back. Instead, try bending your knees.

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