BikeMike's White Tile Method

Yes, the majority of white paints use TiO2 as the pigment as it’s the whitest of white you can get. The giveaway is it’s often called “Titanium White”!

I need to pick up more ceramic tiles so I can keep testing and will probably give craft pain a try with nothing added.
Big thing is I want to get away from acetone or mineral spirits to clean them up.

I checked a couple of MSDS docs as well. Both Winsor & Newton. One states 1-3% and the other states 10-30%. Oddly the cheaper one is the one with 10-30%! I could be wrong but I have a feeling there’s a mistake in one of them. I plan to see whether I can seperate the TiO2 from a sample of the white paint that I’ve got to see if I can determine the TiO2 content.

I plan on doing some more testing (time allowing!) too. I want to play around with adding acrylic medium and retarder and added TiO2 as well as surfactant to help get a good even coverage and avoid any streakiness.

I’m afraid we are never going to get a standard formula for what we are aiming to do. Here is a list I got regarding titanium quantity in paint.
Add this to the equation and there is another problem. I have just etched a tile that came out far to light with little detail. Could not understand why as I had just done one the same and it came out perfect. Them I turned the tile over and found it was a different make. So how do we get a method that will work with all makes of tile, all types of titanium and all laser setups? Probably answers why so many of us are getting frustrated following advice from one member and not being able to replicate their results. I can only say, mix it, test it and adjust your own method to that which gives you the best results.

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I completely agree with that.
And the reason I thought I should have the 2 methods split so there would be less confusion.
Also, I had the same thing happen to me this morning. Same batch of tiles, but one was brushed on, the other I used an airbrush. You would never know it was the same mixture.

There really is only one answer to this. We need a large company to manufacture a purpose made solution that is both affordable and constant in quality. I know there are products on the market, but the price for us DIY guys is much too high and would make any products we produce far to expensive to sell on. I’m going to search the market for a product that contains a fixed amount of titanium, but is removable from tiles without chemicals that are obnoxious. Basically back to Nicky Norton’s original idea.

Everything I see has a wide range of percentages for the titanium. So even if we find the perfect setup for one thing, the next can, bottle or whatever of the same stuff may not even be the same results.
Like you said, the purpose made stuff is crazy expensive.
I am sure we will come up with something, in time, I hope.

That’s pretty standard for MSDS documents. I think they make them deliberately vague so they don’t give too much away regarding formulations.

I can understand that for a patent, but the MSDS should be exact for medical reasons.
Or, they really don’t know if Fred is dumping in more that Billy-Bob.

All the MSDS’s I’ve ever looked at never give exact figures, they’re always a very wide range.

Hi folks,
I also struggled with nailing down the process a year ago. I have relatively great success with the following process, -
clean the tile surface with an alcohol wipe and dry,
then heat the tile on an old kitchen warming tray,
the take a mixture of TiO2 powder and distilled water, being constantly stirred by a magnetic mixer, and gently air brush the tile surface.
Watch the tile surface to see when the first dusting has dried before applying subsequent spray coats.
One tip I got from another diyer was to add a few drops of water based enamel paint to the mixture so that you can clearly see the white tile disappear beneath the airbrushed coating.
The trick is to err on the side of slightly too much coating rather than not enough. That avoids the faint grey image versus a solid black after engraving.

I use the Ortur LM 2 5.t watt 1200mm/min at 80% power.
After engraving simply rinse with warm water and towel dry. Depending on the detail, you may want to use an old toothbrush to assist with removing the coatings in fine image areas.

Fairly quick and easy with not chemical smells to annoy my missus.

ps It is important to only apply a very light dusting with the first spray application as the mixture will run otherwise.
pps My airbrushing is done in a makeshift spray booth with lighting and the hot plate is propped almost vertical for the tiles to lean against, - hence the possibility of spray runs when excessive on any application.

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Hey a strange thought here.
If we have to resort to using power, why can’t we coat the tile with a layer of TiO2 powder, use a pice of glass suspended above tile and burn thru the glass to the tile then reclaim the unused powder?
Obviously the powder can’t contact the upper glass or it will burn on it not the tile.
I suggest the glass so that the cooling fan from the laser doesn’t blow the powder all over the place.
ANyone got some powder and willing to give it a try?

What is the point of the glass…? Keep air flow from disturbing the powder?

I do have to mention this won’t work with my co2…


Keep in mind that ordinary glass strongly absorbs both IR and UV radiation, so a glass shield would work only with visible-light lasers.

My fiber is IR and it pretty much passes through glass…

It’s 10X the frequency of the CO2.

IR has a pretty wide frequency range.

One of the issues will be ventilation of the process. If there is glass, there be no air flow (I’m assuming that’s the purpose of the glass)…


OK, the three of you folks with fiber lasers can use glass!

Should have been more specific. Yes I meant with diode (visisble light) lasers.
It was just an odd thought that crossed my mind reading the thread.

I was thinking that you would have a gap between the media to be burned that is coated with TiO2 and the glass – The purpose of the glass (with a diode laser) would be just to block the air flow from the cooling fan that would otherwise disturb the powder. It would not be in contact with the powder but a 1mm maybe above it.

If you apply a fine and even coating of a water / TIO2 suspension to heated ceramic tiles, the powder does not fall or blow off. I’ve successfully done over a hundred tiles using this method. Anything that touches the coating besides air will potentially degrade the resulting engraving.