Help! Is it possible to paint on tumbled marbled tiles with permanent pigment inks and seal it with a sealant? Can this then be used for a kitchen backsplash? If yes, then what brand of permanent pigment inks are best to use and which sealant to use?
Hmmmmm. You aren't indicating to me whether or not these tumbled marble tiles are already on a wall or if they're in a box waiting to be placed on a wall. In either case, my advice remains the same. Sure you can paint tumbled marble tile, but just because you can doesn't mean you should. So stop right now and don't do it. Make some coasters out of that tile because that's about all it's good for.
Let me disclaim something here. I hate tumbled marble. I think it looks cheesy and cheap. There, I said it. Tumbled marble is made from marble and travertine that's not of sufficient quality to be used without the tumbled finish. In other words, it's made from the reject pile. It would be one thing if it were sold as a cheap material made from rejects, but it's not. People think of it as being some kind of classy addition to their homes but it's anything but. It's a spongy, soft material that sucks up whatever liquid gets near it. That's why it makes a good coaster but a really lousy back splash.
It's sort of like giving someone a fur coat only to admit later that it's a rabbit fur coat. It's a cheap imitation of luxury and it looks bad at the same time. Ugh. See these photos littering this post today? This is what bad kitchen renovations look like and what do all of them have in common? Cheesy, cheap tumbled marble, that's what. There are no shortcuts to character. Putting a rough finish on formerly rejected stone tile doesn't make it look interesting, it makes it look cheap.
So my advice to you is don't do it. Don't paint it, don't stain it and don't use it. If it's already on the wall, chip it off and start over. If you're itching to do something with your back splash and you don't have a whole lot of money to spend I can understand that. Frankly at this stage of the game I can relate to it too.
A better idea if you're looking to tile a back splash is to just get plain, white 6" x 3" ceramic tiles and set them in a subway pattern. You can find those tiles for a quarter apiece if you're clever and setting tile is really easy. Install a white tile back splash and use white grout with it. It's a classic pattern and it's been around for more than 150 years. Don't get cute with it and it will look great forever. And by cute I mean by cutting in inserts and listellos. Just keep it basic and make your kitchen interesting with accessories, but just a few of them. Contrast the ceramic tile photo above with the festival 'o cheese above it. You know, the one with the red toaster. That kind of stuff makes my eyes bleed. Is that what you want? I hope not. Tumbled marble always ends up looking like that --cheesy. Don't do it.