Painting slate tiles is fun and it’s a great way to spice up some boring, old store-stock tiles. If you’d like to give it a try, then today I’ll tell you how to prepare a slate for acrylic painting so that you can give it a whirl on your own. Preparing the slate is actually the easiest part, as al you need to do is scrub it down with a nylon scrub brush and a sponge, with regular soap and water. After that, rinse it off and let it dry, and you are ready to proceed to ‘getting your paint on’.
In this article I’ll tell you if acrylic paint is practical for slates, how you should paint it on if you’d like to do it, and I’ll even touch on the subject of etching those tiles for those who want to get a little fancy.
Without further ado, let’s talk tiles!
Can you use acrylic paint on slate?
As it turns out, of all of your painting options with slate acrylic and latex paints are going to be the most slate-friendly option. The reason for this has to do with the nature of slate. This stone is quite porous, you see, and because of this you won’t need any special additives, primer, or other preparations to get started on your painting.
All you have to really do is clean up that slate and because of it’s porosity, your acrylic slates are going to stick to it like a funny nickname hurled across a playground. Just so that you know, the porous nature of the slate is going to make it quite receptive to just about any opaque paints that you want to apply to it, though acrylic and latex are still going to be the best and most durable options when it comes to whipping up a little slate-tile art.
Clean it, paint it, OWN it – isn’t art the best?
How do you paint slate art?
Now we’ve come to the most fun part of the article, painting your slate art. First off, if you like the swirly-rainbow effect of acrylic pours then you’ll want to hear this. You can paint your tiles with latex pours and the results are really trippy and amazing.
That said, for regular painting, if you want a background then you’ll have to apply that base coat of paint first and allow it to completely dry. If you are doing a mosaic-type effect, you can divide off sections with painter’s tape in advance as well, and this will help you to keep on track.
Mix your layers while the paint is still wet or if you want a proper, singular colored layer, then wait until the paint beneath it dried completely. 30 -45 minutes should be adequate for this, just to be sure.
If the work is going to be going outdoors, then you will want to seal it with some spray-on acrylic sealer, but if it’s going to be inside the house then this step is optional. Personally, I always seal it. It doesn’t hurt and you get a lot of extra mileage out of your art.
If you won’t be using background colors and want to sketch your design first, then you can do this with pencil, though I think chalk shows up a little better so just go with the option that you like best. After that, you can trace over your guidelines with a thin line of paint from your paintbrush and then fill it in with details or solid colors as you like.
Can I use etching cream on slate?
A final trick that I’m going to share is etching your slate. This is great for transferring specific designs via stencil or if you have a wicked sense of humor, you can stencil scary messages underneath the tiles to give the new homeowners a scare after you are gone for their audacity to remove your artsy tiles. You can also make some really cool slate serving boards for parties, just get creative with it and see what happens!
Whether your intent is artistic, silly, or even both, let’s take a look at how it is done.
If you want to etch into slate with your stencils, it’s actually quite easy. You are going to need some glass etching cream, your stencils, your slate, and some gloves and eye protection. Clean off your slate first with soap, water, and a good scrubbing and then let it dry and once this is done, place your stencil carefully where you want it.
Tape the edges if you are worried that it’s going to move around and once you are confident that it’s going to stay still, then liberally apply your etching cream. Be sure to wear your gloves so that you don’t etch your fingers and once all of that cream is applied, then you’ll want to let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
At this point, rinse your slate with running water for at least a couple of minutes to get all of the cream off, remove your stencil, and a quick soap and water clean should finalize the process.
Voila! Enjoy your newly stenciled slate.
A quick recap
Well, there you have it! Painting slate with acrylic is a breeze and because of the porous surface of the slate, all you need to do is clean it with soap and water, let it dry, and start painting the look that you desire right on to that slate. Not only will it stick, but it’s going to look great, and you can also use etching cream if you want to get fancy and stencil someone on the slate as well.
Since etching is so much fun, if you’d like to experiment with etching mirrors and other surfaces, then use this 3rd party link to learn a little more about your etching cream and exactly what it can do.
Just be careful… etching is addictive! Until next time, have fun etching everything in the house!