Making Glass Cabochon Tiles

The Crafting process

Here are the steps I followed to craft the tiles.

1. Print the tile set sheets

You can find the files to be printed on this Print and Play post.
Just in case, let me mention that you should print the front and the back on the 2 sides of the same DIN A4.

2. Cut the tiles

No mistery here, just cut the square thingies out of the DIN A4.

3. Wash your hands and clean the cabochon and the tile

Before starting to glue stuff, you should wash your hands to prevent moisture fingerprints to be kept forever between the glass and the paper.
Then, before putting the glue, clean the glass and wipe the paper tile with a cloth.

4. Put the glue on the cabochon, strategically

If you are using instant glue like I did, here is some advice on how to keep only the right things stuck to each other.

Pour a bigger drop on the center of the cabochon, this will make the main spread when pressing it and will act as a liquid cushion that will prevent the paper to stick instantly once you flip the cabochon.

  1. Get a good light source near you, almost everything is transparent here.
  2. Take the cabochon with the flat side facing up and get the glue.
  3. Pour a bigger drop on the center of the cabochon, this will make the main spread when pressing it and will act as a liquid cushion that will prevent the paper to stick instantly once you flip the cabochon.
  4. Pour one small drop on each corner, but not to close to the edge. The glue from the center sometimes does not get to the edge when pressing, so this help preventing it
  5. Pout one tiny drop on each side of the square, not too close to the center.
  6. Spread it a bit, radially, from the edge to the center, this will help the glue and the air flowing in the right direction towards the edge. If radial is not your thing, at least try not to create closed areas that will retain the air inside, air blisters are very visible later even if they are microscopically thin.

5. Place the paper tile aligned on the cabochon

Make sure it is properly aligned and hold it mostly from the edges, making sure you still don’t press it, otherwise you’ll get the paper suck either to your finger or blindly to the glass.
Get to the next step as soon as possible.

6. Flip, align again and press!

This is the most delicate step of the process, it just requires a bit of practice.
Take the cabochon and the paper together from the sides, trying not to press it and flip it gently.
Due to the glue cushion in the center, you’ll have few seconds to re-align any imprecision now that you see the front of the tile.
With your two indexes and thumbs press firmly the 4 corners of the cabochon. To prevent unwanted sliding, start pressing soft and then increase the pressure until all the air is displaced off the edges of the glass piece.

There are two reasons why I am flipping the cabochon instead of just placing it on top of the printed tile: on one hand, more glue spilled out onto the mat doing it this way; and on the other hand, the glass slid more when I applied pressure.

7. Put the tile to dry

Place the tile on the drying surface, laying on the paper side. That way the weight of the glass will help gluing it tightly to the paper (this was the reason why I was using a surface that minimizes contact).
Try not to place the tiles one in contact with each other.

8. Repeat until you have a big batch of tiles

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

9. Wait for the glue to dry

If you have dared to use instant glue, by the time you finished the 28th tile, the first ones will be already dry, so you can start already with the next step probably.

10. Trim off the paper excess of the dry tiles

I’m making many cuts over the same spot so I placed a wooden board, cause my mat does not deserve as much punishment

Just take your knife and remove any possible excess of paper from the edges. The glass tile contour will serve as a ruler. This step is relatively fast.

And basically that’s it. As you can see the process is not complicated at all, it just implies a lot of repetition due to the amount of tiles. If you are making a game that uses less tiles, it will make things easier. Also, there is this other approach that requires more drying surface, but may be faster. Instead of packing all the cutouts, they are printed with space in between and all the glasses are glued to the sheet prior to start cutting it.

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