Porcelain Photo’s for Headstones by American Headstones

Porcelain Photo’s for Headstones

Porcelain photos are manufactured by first starting with a pure porcelain blank. Blanks that do not contain steel inserts are favored due to the possibility of microscopic cracks in the glass layer that can become a path for water directly to the steel insert. Corrosion is rapid and will destroy the photo in a short time.

Porcelain shapes are varied and come primarily in rectangles, ovals and Heart shapes for the tombstone industry. These blanks are white in color and the top surface is free of pits, voids and surface imperfections. Most blanks are manufactured in Europe and will be commonly made in metric sizes.


The process in making a porcelain portrait starts with a high quality image, generally scanned at 300DPI, Photoshop work will be necessary to remove the imperfections in the photo and to enhance the colors. Once the photo is ready and cropped to fit the porcelain blank we then print the image on a laser ceramic toner printer. The image is printed on water slip paper then laminated to the selenium glass paper. The printer and selenium toners are specialized equipment and made specifically for this process.

The image is then cut out and placed in a vat of water to separate the image/selenium printed paper from the water slip paper. The slip is now placed on the porcelain disk and dried. Once dried the porcelain disks can now be transferred to the kiln for the long tedious task of curing. Curing is a specialized cycle with rising temperatures over a specific time and holding periods to enhance the curing and glass like structure of the toners. After 24 hours the porcelain cameos can be removed from the kiln and hopefully the finish is contamination free with no bubbles or surface contamination.


These porcelain photos are now glass-like in structure and can be used in outdoor applications. They are scratch resistant and UV resistant, the photos can be mounted on vertical walls using double sided 3M High strength bond tape or high strength tile setting compounds when mounting on flat installations on the ground.

Grave markers made of granite allow a great application for these porcelain photos mounted with the techniques stated above. Some applications can be done using Bronze frames that are used to enhance the look of the photos and with covers they can protect the photo from the elements.

Always shop from your local headstone supplier for he is familiar with the cemetery regulations and the techniques used in the industry for a successful porcelain photo mount.

The Author

Richard Rapozo