A tile coffee table can be customized to suit your décor. It also has the advantage of being durable and pet and kid friendly. Applying a tile mosaic will make it a functional piece of art.
Step 1 – Plan the Project
Purchase a table or use an existing table. Use grid paper to make a scale diagram of the design you want to make with the mosaic tiles. Mark the areas with colored markers. Then calculate how many of each tile you will need to complete the project. If you use your computer you may be able to experiment with different color designs and try out different grout colors as well. When making your calculations consider the size of the tile and the width of the grout. Calculate the molding you will need by measuring the perimeter of the table. Allow a few extra inches for cutting and corners.
Step 3 – Prepare the Surface
If the table is unfinished then clean it well and apply watered down white glue. Let it dry. Mark the pattern on the table top using carbon paper or if the design is reversible simply turn it over and rub over the lines so the pencil lead on the other side rubs off onto the table making your design.
Step 2 – Make the Frame
Cut the molding to the dimensions of each side of the table top. Install the wood strips vertically so that it sticks up around the edges the same thickness of the tile. Use finishing nails to apply the strips. If you miter the corner edges, as in a picture frame, it will give it a finished look. This makes a frame for laying your tiles.
Step 3 – Lay Down the Tiles
Begin laying down the tiles following the pattern. Don’t forget to leave about 1/8 inch space (or the space you planned for) between the tiles for the grouting. Before cutting any tiles use eye protection and be sure to sweep up any sharp pieces that may have fallen on the floor. Cut any tiles to fit or that need shaping with tile nippers. Apply a spot of glue to each tile using a small plastic spatula.
Step 4 – Grout
Let the tiles dry in place for about 24 hours. Then you can begin to grout them. Stir up the grout; it should be the consistency of peanut butter. Use a rubber squeegee to push the grout into the spaces between the tiles. Remove an excess grout with the squeegee. Let it partially set before wiping over it with a damp sponge.
Step 6 – Finish the Table
If your table was unfinished or needs to be repainted then let the tiles dry for a couple of days. Then you can apply a covering to the mosaic tiles. Tape down the edges. Now finish the table with stain or paint being sure not to let any of the paint get under the covering and get on the tiles.
If you start out with a small reasonably-sized project using a design with minimal cutting you can achieve amazing results with your first project. Then you can progress to more complicated shapes and intricate designs. For now enjoy your table and start planning your next project.