DIY: Photo to Tile Transfer!

DIY: Photo to Tile Transfer!

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DIY tutorial… Make a Photo to Tile Transfer! Woo Hoo!

This is one of the coolest DIY projects around. It takes a bit of time but the payoff is so worth it. This would make a fabulous gift and an amazing home decor accent! I’m totally excited to make a couple for my house. As always Michelle really knows her stuff and we both share a true love for Modg Podge! Take it away Michelle…


If you are looking for a weekend project and have pictures you don’t know what to do with, this project is for you!  I was itching to use some Mod Podge (I love the stuff) so I set out to do a photo transfer to some tiles that I already had laying around.  I was very interested to see how this would turn out, seeing as I had never done this before.  Let me warn you of two things before you start this project: first of all, do not expect to have this project done in a couple of hours, as I said this is a weekend project which takes patience and time; secondly, you must like the weathered look, your photos will not perfectly transfer to your tile.  Now that that is out of the way let’s begin with the project.


itemsneed_tilepic_webWhat you will need:

  • Four 4×4 tiles (ceramic)
  • Mod Podge
  • Paintbrush
  • Spray b
  • Scissors
  • Photo printed full page from inkjet printer


Lay the four tiles touching each other so that they create one square. Trim your picture so that it fits well over the four tiles. With your paintbrush, brush a thin layer of Modpodge over the front of your picture and  carefully lay your picture face down centered on the four tiles. 


Smooth out any air bubbles with a rag.  Now let it dry.  I suggest letting it dry overnight.  Since patience is not my strong suit, I started this project at night and went to bed so I would not be tempted to start the next step before it was ready! 


Once it is good and dry, with the spray bottle, spray a good amount of water over the whole picture.  You will begin to see your photo show through. 


This is the part where patience and a weekend are needed.  Using your rag begin gently wiping away the paper.  Be very gentle or you may tear your photo more than you want to.  As mentioned earlier, the photo will tear in some places, but you don’t want to overdo it, so be careful! 


Once you are done wiping away all that paper, go get something to eat and let it dry.  You most likely did not get all the paper off, you will see as the photo dries it begins to look white again.  This just means you need to persevere and keep spraying and wiping that paper away.  After a few layers, I began rubbing with the pads of my fingers, you might find this easier than using the rag.



Once you finally have all of the white paper off, your picture will dry and lo and behold you will be able to see your photo and not all the white paper!  Your hard work has paid off! Pull apart your four tiles, or use the blade of scissors to gently cut the photo at the “seams” of the tiles. The last step is to simply seal it when a layer of modpodge.  Let it dry for at least 30 minutes.


This project took a good bit of effort, but I really like the way it turned out.  It isn’t like any other photo I have in my home; the “imperfectness” of it gives it character. I also like the brokenness of the four single tiles making up one picture, this, again, makes it just that more interesting! I hope you decide to give this a try when you get a free weekend!


To display my tiles, I simply cut a square of foam board the same size as all four tiles pieced together. I used tile adhesive to glue the tiles onto the board. After letting it dry, I displayed it on a photo easel and then found the perfect place for this in my home.

Be sure to check out all of Michelle’s awesome DIY projects!

Do you love Modg Podge too? What’s your favorite way to use it?


  • Mary says:

    This would make an awesome Mother’s Day gift!

  • senna says:

    That looks great! Will have to try it!

  • Erica says:

    Do you think it’s okay to give yourself a Mother’s Day gift? If so, I so want to make this!

  • Michelle says:

    Oooh! So neat! I can’t wait to try this!

  • Cecile says:

    Love this idea. Would be a great Mother’s Day gift.

  • Laura says:

    So cute!! The patience part might be tough for me :)

  • Jenny K says:

    So neat! The last time I used Mod Podge was to make my own light switch covers!

  • Nancy says:

    I keep hearing about different kinds of Mod Podge….which one did you use? I want to do this for my sisters, daughters-law and mom for Mother’s Day!

  • mryjhnsn says:

    I love mod podge and this looks fantastic! Well done!

  • Gena says:

    I love how it turned out! Super cute!

  • Beth P says:

    I love this! Can’t wait to try it! I let my daughter paint on some tiles that I plan to Mod Podge once it’s warm enough to open windows.

  • candice says:

    I love this and I need new coasters! What a great gift idea too.

  • Liz Lowe says:

    I am just wondering, it says use an inkjet printer, but if I have a photo printer that is inkjet can I use the photo paper? Or do I have to use normal paper for the ink to actually transfer?


    • Heather says:

      Hi Liz,

      I haven’t tried it any other way. If you do try it that way will you come back and let me know if it works? I’m sure others where wondering the same thing as you :-)

    • nusca says:

      The ink might transfer, but you would struggle to break through the photo paper with the water as it’s made from different materials and won’t fall apart in water.

  • Mardi Harris says:

    does this method work on general ceramic tles?

  • Mardi Harris says:

    The smooth shiny ones?

  • Lezlie says:

    Can I use a regular photo from my photo album or do I have to make a copy of it on thinner paper? I just had walmart print 45 pictures I was debating about using and now I am afraid I wasted my money :(

  • Js says:

    Can you use pictures printed from a laser printer? I don’t have an inkjet printer

    • Heather says:

      Hi! It wasn’t tried with a laser printer so I can’t say for sure if it would work or not. I’d try doing it one a small tile to test it out. Please let us know if it works!

  • Debi says:

    I did this in a day! This morning I “glued” the photo that was printed on regular paper using an inkjet printer with Matte Mod Podge. Ran my errands and got back this evening. I didn’t have a spray bottle for water, so I used a soppy wet washcloth and dabbed it wet then started gently rubbing. Let it dry and came back to it. After several times, I am now ready to Mod Podge over it! So easy but such a treat! I was wondering if these tiles would need to be sealed with something different if I wanted to incorporate them in my back splash in my kitchen or is Mod Podge enough for a good seal?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Debi… Sounds like a great project! I’m not sure if the Mod Podge would work or not… or if it’s safe to use in that way. I’d try calling the customer service line and asking.