The look of handmade tiles has influenced current tile trends and manufacturing techniques as a way to create an unique and organic environment. We’ve explored popular handmade tile and handmade-inspired tile to present some of our favorite examples of how you can incorporate this growing trend.
What Is Handmade Tile?
As you might expect, handmade tile is ceramic tile that has been handcrafted. Tile artisans carefully form or place clay into molds, add embellishments and apply the glaze(s) — all by hand (see below).
Even though modern manufacturing technologies have enabled ceramic tile to be mass produced to precise measurements, tile artisans continue to practice the techniques involved in handcrafting tile that have been “handed down” for centuries.
Now, we’re seeing a resurgence of demand for the unique qualities of handmade tile. Additionally, advances in manufacturing techniques have given us mass-produced options that carry some handmade-inspired attributes.
Characteristics of Handmade Tile
With handmade tile, no two tiles are exactly the same. Each tile features a slight difference that lends a “perfectly imperfect” look. These differences make handmade ceramic tile a great choice for creating a more natural mood for your environment or ensuring your project is one of a kind.
When you purchase mass-produced tile, you can expect every tile to look just like the next. This is beneficial if you’re looking for a specific pattern or design that must be consistent. However, recent trends that appreciate “imperfections” as a quality of craftsmanship have led to mass-produced ceramic tile designed to resemble handmade tile.
Companies that specialize in handmade tile trim excess clay from tile molds by hand. As a result, the edges aren’t perfectly straight and instead feature slight irregularities.
These irregularities give character and interest to even simple shapes and colors. The pearly white tile above incorporates irregular edges for a stunning handmade resemblance in this simple backsplash design.
Similarly, the surface of handmade ceramic tiles is slightly uneven. Handmade tile may undulate (rise and fall) or feature irregularities in the texture. The shower tile above utilizes an uneven texture to give these tiles a handmade-inspired style.
[Related: 2022 Tile Trends: Organic Texture]
Many handmade tiles (such as the example above) feature variegation, or subtle color variations. In addition to contributing to the organic look of handmade ceramic tile, variegation adds visual interest without incorporating another color, pattern, or texture.
Fun fact: The term “variegation” was originally used to describe the color variation seen in plants’ leaves. In this way, variegated tile mirrors designs found in nature and can help us fulfill our biophilic need to connect with the outdoors.
Where to Use Handmade Tile Looks
Handmade tile typically has the same benefits as mass-produced ceramic tile, meaning it’s durable, low-maintenance and suitable for a wide range of applications. While some handmade tiles may not be recommended for flooring and exterior applications, many options are produced specifically for these types of projects, including handmade porcelain tile that is available with high moisture resistance.
Additionally, tiles manufactured with a handmade look can be designed for use with different projects. Be sure to check with your tile provider to ensure your tile is suitable for your intended application.
Let’s explore some beautiful examples that incorporate the look of handmade tiles.
Handmade Tile Backsplash
What better place to show off your handmade tile than a backsplash! A handmade tile backsplash will put your unique design on full display.
These handmade backsplash tiles feature a gold mosaic laid to create an ombre effect. We don’t know about you, but we’re in love!
Handmade Wall Tiles
If a backsplash doesn’t give you enough space to flaunt your handmade tiles, opt for a feature wall instead.
Handmade wall tiles create a beautiful focal point for your space. But don’t take our word for it — check out the variegated blue wall tiles above!
Handmade Floor Tiles
Handmade floor tiles, such as this rustic terracotta-look tile flooring, help create an overall mood for a home that can transition from room to room.
Handmade Bathroom Tiles
Your bathroom presents a great opportunity to use ceramic tiles on just about every surface. This bathroom features both handmade floor tiles and handmade wall tiles.
Handmade Kitchen Tiles
The look of handmade tiles is right at home in the kitchen, as well. Don’t think a handmade look is just for farmhouse décor — minimalist designs embrace these looks because they can carry visual interest without adding distracting details (especially in a kitchen such as this).
Is it just us, or are these moody green kitchen tiles giving out under-the-sea vibes?
Handmade Tile Design Ideas
Let’s explore some popular handmade tile looks you might consider for your project.
Handmade Subway Tile Looks
What happens when you add a handmade look to the most popular tile design? Pure artistic genius.
This white subway tile is all the more interesting with handmade characteristics — don’t you agree? This subway tile backsplash is also a good reminder that not all the typical traits of the trend are present in every design. For example, this subway tile features no variegation in color and fairly straight edges.
Handmade Mosaic Tiles
Mosaic tiles and handmade looks also go hand in hand, especially because mosaic tiles are often available in irregular shapes that add to the organic effect.
These handmade mosaic tiles feature subtle color variegation and various shapes.
Handmade Decorative Tiles
To be fair, we’d say that all the looks we’ve shared so far are decorative, in that they lend impressive style to any space. However, one of the most impressive characteristics of handmade tiles is that they can be highly decorative works of art.
For example, the pale terracotta-look shell-shaped handmade decorative tiles above create a stunning staggered tile half wall. And the tiles below create a one-of-a-kind outdoor feature sure to wow guests (despite the pup’s reaction).
Handmade Glass Tiles
These handmade glass tiles are mesmerizing. We could spend hours appreciating how the random colors create different shapes and patterns with the triangle tiles.
Handmade White Tiles
This white tile uses a simple herringbone pattern and expands it across the entire wall. As @talkingtileandstone so wisely points out, “It’s all about how you install.” The craftsmanship of handmade tiles extends to the craft of a beautiful installation, taking these white handmade tiles to another level of GORGEOUS.
Green Handmade Tile Looks
Green handmade tile looks are also doubly sought after for establishing a biophilic look, especially if the tile is variegated.
Handmade Blue Tiles
This blue handmade tile is making us rethink what it means to have the blues. We hope the blue hexagon tiles extend onto the other walls and surfaces as well — that’s our kind of bathroom.
Handmade Taupe Tile Looks
Hand-Painted Multicolored Artisan Tile
Multicolored tiles are skillfully hand-painted to create a one-of-a-kind design, often referred to as “artisan tile.” The colors of handmade artisan tiles, as with all ceramic tiles, are baked in. The colors won’t fade from the sun or from pool maintenance chemicals.
Ceramic Tiles as Unique as You Yourself
Ready to add the individuality of a handcrafted look to your home?
The perfect(ly imperfect) handmade, artisan, or handmade-inspired tile is out there waiting for you. Explore our Pinterest collections for even more inspiration.