Mosaic Tile Table Top Tutorial
So many craft projects, so little time! Today I have a whole new category of crafts for you. Mosaic tiles! IKR. How are you going to fit all this fun into one lifetime? Today, we are dropping in on my friend Deb as she finishes a mosaic tile table top. She will walk us through a tutorial and show you how easy it really is.
Ideas for your Mosaic Art
To begin, you’ll need to decide on your mosaic designs. For simplicity’s sake, let’s go with a monogram piece, shall we? Here are a few ideas to get your creativity flowing!
This is a great mosaic tile beginner project because you can keep it very simple. Consider your color palette based on where the piece will go, as well as the mosaic tiles that you can find (more on this later). You can design your table with two colors as Deb did, which is a good approach if this is your first mosaic and also if you prefer a clean look in the room that it will reside. You can also create it in multiple colors which would be beautiful too.
It is up to you if you want to freehand draw the letter or select an existing font. Either way, I would suggest using a bold letter that will be easier to create with tile. A script would be lovely (if that’s the look you are going for), but be careful to pick one that is not too curvy or thin, or you’ll have your work cut out for you. Literally! Below are type style variations to get your brainstorming started!
You can use a very small table or flat top bench instead, whichever you choose the process is the same. Be sure to plan your mosaic design ahead of time. Sketch on paper or draw the design on your computer in black and white, then add color as you go. When you are happy with your monogram letter, transfer the full-size design in pencil directly on the tabletop or a piece of paper the same size as your piece to help guide you.
Materials Needed for Mosaic Projects
Below are some of the items you may need to create a mosaic of your own. Affiliate links in green.
Table or Bench
Wood for Mosaic Tile Top
Ceramic Tiles, Broken Plate Pieces, and/or Mixed Color Mosaics
Tile Cutter optional
Pliers, Big and Small
Tile & Grout Sealant optional
Old Broom, Dust Brush, or Utility Brush
Heavy Duty Gloves
Protective Eyewear and Clothing
Find and Prepare the Table
Deb is creating this monogram table for a friend. The first thing she did was find the table. The options are endless; new or old, it all works! You might try looking at garage sales, on Facebook Marketplace, Craig’s List, or resale shops, such as Goodwill. Be sure that the table is sturdy and level.
To prepare the table, give it a good cleaning, even if it is new. Brush and wash with warm soapy water and dry well. The table top needs to be dry and flat. If you want to change the color, paint the table parts that will not be covered with tile first. Let the table dry completely, preferably 24 hours or more.
Preparing the Surface for your Mosaic Patterns
Now it’s time to prep the surface before we tile. Treat the table itself or if you are not using the actual tabletop but an insert for the top of your piece, prepare that piece instead.
If using an insert, first, select the surface (wood or glass). It may be helpful to first cut a piece of cardboard the correct size and test on the table. Cut wood (if using) to fit the top. You may want to paint the underside of the table top piece and it’s edge with wood preservative paint before you start your tile design. Again, allow drying for a minimum of 2 days.
Finding Mosaic Tiles
Be sure to look for tiles that are of a similar thickness, so your table surface will have a level surface. To find or purchase tiles, consider these options:
Retail Tile shops Ask about broken pieces, odds, and ends or a sales box
Online Tile Shops Check out Amazon or Etsy for starters. Lots of fun ideas at decent prices!
Mosaic Tile Education Businesses Inquire about broken tiles or leftovers where classes are held.
Friends or Family Ask about leftovers from projects laying around the house
Garage and/or Resale Shops Look for inexpensive plates or tiles
Choosing the Grout for your Table Top
After you have selected your tiles, you will need to choose your grout color. The color that you choose can drastically change the look of your tabletop. You will need to decide if you want it to match, complement, or contrast the tile. Look around for inspiration to see might look best for the tiles you have selected.
Prepare your Tiles for your Mosaic Project
Decide how large or small you want your tiles to be for the mosaic. You can mix it up!
If you are starting with large tiles or plates, you will need to break the tiles down to smaller pieces. To do this, you can use a tile cutter (Be careful and follow your machine instructions closely) or break the tiles with tools. To break with a hammer, cover the tile with a piece of cloth and tap lightly to break.
WARNING: Breaking plates and tiles can be very dangerous! Wear protective eyeglasses, clothing, and gloves.
When your tiles are ready you can start to group similar colors and sizes together and begin laying out your design.
Glue the Ceramic Tiles onto the Table Top
When you are happy with the design, you can begin to glue the tiles to the tabletop with your ceramic tile adhesive. Use a putty knife or old credit card to apply the glue smoothly onto the surface first.
1 Apply the glue to a small area of the table and press the tiles down. Start with your monogram letter first. Work from the outside of the table inwards. The glue can be messy. If it is, wait to clean when the design is in place, as to not disrupt the tiles.
2 Use a cloth with hot soapy water. Wring out well. Gently rub the tiles, the glue should remove easily.
3 Use a level gauge over the tiles as you go. Take a good look at your design and if you need to adjust anything, now is the time. Next, lay the tiles surrounding your monogram letter.
4 Repeat the cleanup process, if necessary.
It’s looking great! Now it’s time to grout. When your design is complete, let dry for at least 24 hours.
How To Grout the Mosaic Tiles on the Table Top
1 Sprinkle the grout powder in a bucket. Follow the instructions on the package.
2 Next, pour the water into the bucket.
3 Using a glove, mix the grout in the bucket into a paste, until smooth. Break up any lumps. Add more water or powder to get the right consistency.
4 Working with your gloved hand, cover small sections at a time until the table top is finished. This will prevent the grout from drying out in clumps and bumps before you have time to spread it on smoothly. Make as even as possible.
Clean as you go, using a newspaper or a damp cloth to wipe tiles and smooth out any bumps. If you see any gaps between the tiles, fill them in. Scrape off excess grout, being careful not to disturb tiles.
When your grout is all in place the table top will still be dirty, but you need to leave alone until completely dried approximately 24 hours. When dry, use a brush or an old broom to dust off the table. Follow up with a clean, damp cloth to polish the whole table. You might want to use apply a protectant sealer if your design will get heavy use or if the grout is really light in color. If using a sealer, let your piece dry for an additional 2 days.
Sealing the Mosaic Tiles
1 Mix the sealer following instructions on the package.
2 Using a clean dry cloth cover the tiles with the sealer. Make sure to apply it smoothly and don’t leave puddles.
3 Let dry.
4 With another clean, dry cloth, polish the tiles. Remove excess sealer.
5 Add another coat of sealer, if desired. This will protect the tabletop and make it look finished.
When dry, your mosaic table top is finished! Congrats!
Inspiration for your next Mosaic Tile Project
If you enjoyed this project, you are probably just getting started! There are so many great ideas out there. Check out these beautiful projects below for inspiration…
Have fun and please let me know if you try making a mosaic of your own!