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Friday, March 15, 2013

The making of a floor tile - or decoration

This is the second post today but wanted to do this one by itself. We went to Malpica yesterday and after visiting the bakery we walked back to see if the tile man was making any tiles. He was at his work shop but not making any tiles. When Eunice expressed interest in the tiles he offered to show us how they are made.
This is the finished product. They are used on floors throughout this area of Mexico. Some have been on the floors long enough to have part of the design wear off. Each tile is different - the colors may be the same but the design in each one depends on how the colors are swirled. 
First the heavy metal base plate is oiled with linseed oil.
 Then the colors are selected. A hard bristle brush is lightly dipped in the colors. The brush is held over the metal plate and a piece of metal is scrapped along the bristles of the brush. This puts tiny drops of color on the metal plate.
 Then a form for the sides of the tile is placed around the bottom plate. 
This is powdered marble. A small amount is placed in a tub and water is added to it. 
Then the marble is mixed until it is the right consistency.

It is then poured in blobs over the colors in the metal form. 
The colors seep up through the blobs of marble.
Then a high tech method is used to make the design. Actually the eraser end of a pencil is pulled through the marble to make the design. It can be pulled in lines, circles, squares - any way the designer wants.
Next cement is carefully sifted and patted over the marble.
Then a layer of coarse wet sand from a near by bin (and I think there is something else added to the sand but forget what) is added.
 This is carefully patted down. 
A very heavy metal plated shaped to fit the mold is placed on top of everything. 
The entire mold is then put into the press - missed that picture -Then the tile maker grabs the pipe/lever seen on the right side of the picture and activates the press. 
He then releases the lever, takes the mold out of the press and removes the wet tile. 
He brushes any loose sand off the sides and bottom and turns it around for us to see.
Now who wouldn't want that - it can be used as a trivet or just hung on the wall to remember Malpica. 
Just a few of the tiles for sale for US$3.00

The tile takes a day to be finished. It first has to be soaked in water then set out to dry. We will pick it up Sunday.
Today's regular post is below this one.


  1. Iv'e had that mosaic tile on my patio floor for 18 years and don't see any discoloration.

  2. We were there a few years ago. Nice to see he is still there. He asked my husband if he'd like to pull that handle down. We didn't buy that particular tile, but one like it and it stands in my China cupboard.