Painted Ceramic Tile Fireplace

3 Materials
6 Hours

Would you like to change your ugly tiled fireplace to a stunning feature?

Here is what my fireplace looked like originally.

Clearly that was a really long time ago and I KNEW I had to do something about it right away! I planned to replace the tiles with some stacked stone but thought I would do something to make it a prettier until that actually happened.

I chalk painted the tile and then stenciled a design on it but since nothing else was done in this room (other than having replaced the nasty old carpet by this point) I wasn’t positive if I was sold on it or not. Since I didn't know if I was going to keep it like this or not I didn't bother to seal it at the time.

Also I wasn’t sure if the paint would hold up properly since this was the first time I had painted ceramic tile with chalk paint (I had painted tile before but not with chalk paint) and I wasn’t sure if the heat that this gas fireplace puts out would affect the finish.

I framed out the fireplace, put shiplap on the top part of the wall and build a mantel at which point I realized I did like the painted tile well enough to keep it that way.

Unfortunately I still didn't seal it.

Fast forward about 4-5 years and it's still the same with one small difference.

Yup! Over time the tiles on the floor have gotten chipped and peeled a bit from how often I’ve had to clean them thanks to all the muddy little paws that constantly pitter patter over them.

Honestly they’ve held up really well considering how many times I’ve scrubbed them when they were never sealed, but its still starting to really bother me and it’s more than time to fix this mess.

So I finally broke down and scrubbed all the tile really well to make sure it wasn’t dusty or dirty. I removed any loose paint and then I painted it with my Homemade Chalk Paint.

I did about 3 coats to make sure the pattern from my previous stencil did not show through at all and that none of the places that had chipped or peeled showed at all.

I decided that since I was going to the effort of re-painting all the tile, I may as well do it a wee bit differently this time. Just so I didn't get bored of it.

Voila! This is the new stencil I ordered from Amazon specifically for this project. Something a little simpler this time.

A bit of Painter’s Tape and I was all set and ready to go.

I used some leftover wall paint for the stencil.

For a project like this I always use a stencil brush, put some paint on the brush and then wipe it off on a paper towel so it’s quite dry. Then tap the paint on in a straight up and down motion, no rubbing. You can go back over it until you get the depth of color that you want but remember, having some lighter parts and some darker parts makes the overall design more interesting in the end. Don’t be afraid to leave variations in the color.

I do random tiles here and there rather than the ones right beside each other so that I don’t risk smudging the fresh paint while working on the next one.

You might notice that the center tiles above the fireplace and on the floor below are smaller than the other tiles. This is because these are floor tiles rather than the typical tile one would use around a fireplace so they had to cut a tile to make them fit around the size of the gas insert. Because of this I altered the pattern just slightly on the smaller tiles and didn’t include the corner designs. If I squeezed the corner designs in it would have looked crowded and messy. Removing those corner designs and just doing the center star makes the pattern have room to breathe and you barely even notice it.

So this is what the design looks like up close now. It would be fine to leave it like this but I’d rather soften it just a little so it isn’t quite so crisp and new looking and fits in better with my vintage style.

To do this I simply took my paintbrush, dipped it in my base color chalk paint and wiped it off with a paper towel. I barely tickled the surface in left to right motions to apply the faintest bit of white over the top of the design.

And here, my friends, is the finished product. Now THIS time, I decided to seal it really well! I started by applying a really good coat of polyurethane in a satin finish to all the tiles with a brush. The kind I used is specially made for floors so it’s very durable. I only did 2 coats on the wall tile but 4 coats on the floor ones so I don’t have to worry about chips from scrubbing the tiles anymore.

I would have used a matte finish polyurethane but the large container I had on hand was satin and I hate going out and spending money on materials when I don’t have to. I’d rather use up what I already paid for. You could certainly use matte or satin – whichever you prefer.

Suggested materials:

  • Homemade chalk paint   (materials I had on hand)
  • Latex wall paint   (materials I had on hand)
  • 12x12 stencil   (Amazon)

Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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  1 question
  • MillyMolly MillyMolly on Aug 15, 2021

    I love what you did here. Can you tell us what colour chalk paint and what colour you used for the design...I know they were leftovers but hopefully you have the name. Thanks.


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