tiles were widely used in Brazil, before the arrival of glazed enameled
Here we will show how decorative tiles were made, used as pavements in
buildings. Today tiles are still used to pave sidewalks, but are of a
different kind from that we will describe now.
The basic instruments to make a tile are steel objects called plate, frame
and lid. The model, which defines the mosaic, is made of brass.
The mosaics are craftly made, one by one, patiently. A regular one, used
on sidewalks, takes one minute to be made; one with drawings of several
colors takes about five minutes or more to be concluded.
The process of making a mosaic is the following:
1. The plate, of polished steel, measuring one centimeter more than the
future tile, is greased with a fluid, a mix of kerosene and mineral oil,
at the ratio 3:1.
2. The frame is superposed to the plate. It is responsible for definition
of the tile external shape
, e. g., a 15 cm (6 in.), 20 cm (8 in.) , 40
cm (16 in.) square; a 15 x 25 cm (6 x 10 in.) rectangle (used in stairs).
3. The model is a piece with compartments which will hold the dyes of
many hues, not allowing them to mix up.
4. The dyes are placed in the
compartments, according to de tile design.
5. After all compartments are filled, the whole set is stirred so the
paste is equally spread, and the model is immediately taken out of the
frame. As soon after this, a drier substance, made up of portland type
cement and fine sand, at the ratio 1:1.
6. Over the drier is applied mortar made with sand and portland type cement
at the ratio 5:2 (2.5:1), with very little water.
7. The lid is incased to the frame.
8. The set is put under a manual press, which applies 5,000 kg (11,025
lbs) over the lid, and therefore to the tile.
9. The tile is unmoulded and is placed to be dried on a shelf. It cannot
10. After dried, on the next day, they are sunk in water for 24 hours.
Then they are piled vertically, and from there, ready to be laid as floor