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I recently got called out to a home with two fabulous clay tile fireplaces.  This particular home was built around 1910 and the fireplaces were original to the home.  Over time, the clay tiles flanking each fireplace had gotten chipped.  To rip out these gorgeous fireplaces would have been a disgrace and the homeowner agreed!  Here are the steps I used to paint this clay tile to look like the original.

  1. Clean out any of the crevices with denatured alcohol and vacuum thoroughly.  Then apply water based primer for tile like this one
  2. Once dry, it is time to paint the tile.  You need to find a paint color that is as close to the undertone of the tile as possible.  I like to bring out a paint deck from my local paint store and match right there.  Once you have your color picked, I head to Home Depot and have it mixed in their sample paints.  It is real paint, plus if you buy a quart, 90% will go to waste.  I like to get the samples of Behr paint and primer.  
  3. Once dry, I then do a little antiquing using artist acrylics and acrylic glaze.
  4. Lastly, I apply a water based sealer in the same sheen as the existing tile.

This is super easy to do and much more cost effective than tearing out an entire fireplace!  If you would like to see more about how I applied this finish, you can checkout the video here.

I hope this helps you to have the courage to tackle projects such as this in your own home.  Please leave a comment if this interests you or send a picture of your finished project.  I would love to see it!