8 Steps to Making a Mosaic Tabletop
It isn’t too often that you can make something more beautiful than the original out of recycled materials. Using an old jar as a glass? Not so beautiful. Reusing a plastic margarine tub as Tupperware? Not so glamorous. But this—a mosaic tabletop fashioned from leftover tile scraps—this is beauty! Here’s how you get started:
1. Collect small pieces of tile, in different colors. If you have whole tiles, put them on concrete with a dishcloth over them. Smash the tile with a hammer and see what pieces you got under the cloth.
2. Choose a color scheme and style from the shards that you have collected. Simple, geometric designs are easiest to install. Look for smooth pieces that are easy to work with, as they are easy to lay in the thinset. Repeated designs are beautiful but hard to create as the tile shards are typically in random shapes, so pick a design that you know you have the time to set up.
3. Trace or sketch the design directly onto the tabletop, or draw it on a piece of paper or cardboard the same size as the table’s surface. Lay out the mosaic pattern you are planning, starting in the middle and working your way out to the edges. Leave ¼” between each piece for grout.
4. Sand down the tabletop surface to remove finish and dirt. Wipe it off with a damp cloth.
5. Add enough thinset or adhesive for one tile at a time, as most mosaic adhesives dry quickly. Working from the cardboard, move your design one tile at a time. Let it set for 24 hours when finished.
6. Apply grout to the set mosaic, smoothing it between the tiles and filling in the edges.
7. Allow the group to dry, and then wipe the surface of the mosaic with a dry cloth to remove whatever is left behind.
8. Spray a sealant or use a tile scrubber to protect the surface and grout. Tiles can look warn if you skip this step and grout can get stained. Let the surface cure, and then you can begin enjoying your new table!
Update any surface with a mosaic to personalize your home’s furniture and walls. It is easy to do with the right materials and the right direction—so get cracking!