Find a hobby in Tokyo: Colorful Spanish tiles painting experience

Are you looking for a new hobby or a fun activity in Tokyo? There are plenty of workshops and classrooms in Tokyo that will allow you to find the perfect lesson for you! If you like painting, how about painting tiles? This time, we introduce the world of colorful Spanish tile art.

The Spanish Tile Art Studio is right here, inside a room of this building.
The entrance on the side of the building. Marei (that’s me) is looking forward to the trial lesson!

What are Spanish tiles?

A Spanish tile is a ceramic tile with a traditional Spanish design. Spain has a culture of hand-painted tiles. Mostly, their designs are pictures of nature, people, patterns, or letters. The tiles are used to decorate homes or walls and are even utilized as shop signs. They are part of everyday life. The rustic tiles with vibrant colors have a charm that makes the viewer happy!

In addition to tiles, there are also other ceramics such as plates and so on.

Each region in Spain has its own unique colors and different painting techniques that can be divided into two main styles: tiles hand-drawn with a brush, and Cuerda Seca (Spanish for “dry cord”) tiles that are colored by flood-filling liquid glaze into certain areas of the tile to create geometric patterns.

Me watching another student working on her Spanish tile work.

Inside the Spanish tile art classroom, works are displayed on every inch of each wall, allowing visitors to see different styles and methods while gaining some creative inspiration at the same time.

Spanish tiles painted with Japanese patterns
World Heritage Series. As you can see, these tiles are hand-painted with a brush.
There are many tile samples to look at, too. The nameplates are soo cute!

Let’s paint a Spanish tile!

This is the workspace. You will mostly sit down quietly working on your tile.

For this first Spanish tile experience, I took a trial lesson. In this lesson, you paint a single ceramic tile with a geometric pattern. The teacher will explain all the steps in depth, so even beginners can finish their first work without any problems.

The tile pattern I will try to recreate this time. You can choose your favorite color from a variety of glazes. The glaze is directly imported from Spain and the tiles are made out of Spanish clay.

First, transfer the pattern onto the tile. All you have to do is trace it on the transfer sheet with a tool.


Next, draw a thick line on the lines of the transferred pattern with a mechanical pencil. Later, this line acts as a border to divide the colors from each other.

You can easily fix errors with an eraser – lucky me!

Finally, the painting process starts! I used the “Cuerda Seca technique”. You have to stir the glaze and suck it up with a dropper. Then, you have to pour the fluid in the exact position and fill the space. Pouring the glaze was surprisingly difficult because you had to be quick and make quite bold movements.

If the pouring pace is too slow, the glaze will pile up like a mountain, as you can see in this picture.
The glaze wasn’t evenly spread on the tile, which made me a little worried. So I asked the teacher to help me.

A good thing to know is that you can fix your mistakes later. Just use a small utility knife and scrape down all the parts where too much glaze was applied. All teachers actually studied in Spain and they are always there to help you and give you advice. Please ask for an English-speaking teacher if you need one beforehand.

To finish the tile, smooth the glaze with a wet brush.

While working on my Spanish tile, I was fully absorbed in the painting process and time flew by. Also, I really enjoyed seeing the work slowly take shape. So much fun!

Finished! The left is the model tile, and the right one is my tile.
The painted ceramic tile is fired in a kiln inside the classroom at about 1000 degrees celsius, so the colors won’t fade.

The finishing process takes about 10 days to 2 weeks, depending on the item. When done, you can visit the art school and pick it up yourself, or they can also mail it to your home.

10 days later, I went to pick up my tile.
The surface of the finished tile is thick at all places with glaze. So cute! It’s not perfect by any means, but I still love my work.

The Spanish Tile Art Studio offers everything from one-time experiences to year-round courses. You can make reservations at any time during business hours, so it’s very flexible. For those who want to find new hobbies, those who want to make an unforgettable experience with friends and their loved ones, those who want to make handmade gifts, those who want to create artwork for relaxation, why not try painting a vibrant Spanish tile?

I use my Spanish tile as a coaster at home. Every time I use it, I remember the fun experience.

Spanish Tile Art Studio (Japanese)
Contact (phone / email):
Palais Yasojima 402, 2-15-1 Tsukasamachi, Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps:
Nearest stations: Ochanomizu Station, Kanda Station, Shin-Ochanomizu Station, Ogawamachi Station, Awajicho Station

Other reservation sites: