Ceramic Tile Mosaic

Upcycle scraps of your tile floor into ceramic tile mosaic home decor! It’s an easy DIY.

When I renovated my first house, a little post-war bungalow, I installed a light green tile floor in the bathroom.

Front of bungalow with pretty garden

After 33 years, I just recently gave away the extra box of leftover tile. However, I still have the cut-offs. You can see a peak of the tile install in the scanned photo below. And yes; that’s a purple vanity. I custom designed it and had it built to fit that huge sink (no splash can escape it!).

Green and purple are my two favourite colours! I wouldn’t likely use that colour combo in home decor today. But hey, it was the beginning of the 90’s and I was young and bold! It still makes me happy to look back on the pictures of my first reno. I learned SO many skills I still use today on that little house.

Purple bathroom vanity with light green tile floor

What better way to use those tile scraps than to upcycle them into home decor: a ceramic tile mosaic pear?

Leftover pieces of cut ceramic tile

Watch the Video!

IBC – Ceramic Crafts Challenge

It’s time for another International Bloggers Club (IBC) challenge and this month our theme is Ceramic Crafts.

The IBC is a group from all over the world who challenge each other every month to make something using a common theme. You’ll find our friends’ broken dreams ideas at the very bottom of the post. So don’t forget to check them out before you go. And if you don’t have time to browse today, pop back in later in the week to pick up where you left off. Last time we participated in the IBC was the Broken Dreams challenge. Ironically, we also worked with ceramic and made this ceramic air plant holder.

Before we get into the tutorial, don’t forget to get your craft mojo on at Birdz of a Feather and subscribe to our newsletter:

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Ceramic Tile Mosaic Supplies

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Equipment for ceramic tile mosaic: safety goggles, gloves, compound tile nippers, plastic fruit, rubbing stone, metal applicator, pieces of light green ceramic tile on table top

You will need:

Cutting Ceramic

Don’t even think about trying to cut down thick ceramic floor tile unless you have a compound tile nipper. Apparently a regular nipper is much harder to use.

M-D compound tile nippers in package on top of amazon prime shipping bag

I did also try to use a hammer instead, but purchasing a special tool was worth it for me.

Piece of ceramic tile in plastic ziplock beside a hammer

The hammer leaves you with sharp shards and destroys ceramic the glaze; not a good look. You also get weird undercuts that are difficult to glue down.

Tiles broken by a hammer in a plastic bag

Since this tile is SO thick, I hold the nippers off the edge.

compound tile nipper holding a piece of tile before cutting

This is messy business! Pieces and dust will fly everywhere so it’s best to do this outside. And it’s helpful to cut the tile in a box. That will catch most of the errant pieces that are trying to escape.

Cardboard box with broken pieces of tile in it.

A really good pair of goggles is essential too. You don’t want pieces hitting you!

Equipment to cut tile: safety goggles and tile nippers

Keep breaking down the pieces until they are fairly small.

Pieces of broken ceramic tile in plastic container

I actually should have cut these pieces a bit smaller but I have such small hands and these nippers were a struggle for me. As long as you can get the pieces to fit on a fairly flat area, it will be fine.

Broken ceramic tiles with compound nipper

Glue the Ceramic Tile Mosaic

Back butter each piece of tile with the tile adhesive.

Metal tool with ceramic adhesive on end

And stick it down onto the pear.

Piece of back buttered ceramic

By the way, if your pear is shiny it’s best to lightly sand it to give it some tooth so the tiles will adhere. Just be sure to wipe away all sanding dust.

hand holding piece of back buttered ceramic with plastic pear in background

For pieces with edges that stick out beyond the face of the tile, as you see below, a rubbing stone will sand those down.

Piece of ceramic showing bump out on side

If you don’t get rid of those bump outs, you won’t be able to snug up the next tile and it will leave an unsightly gap.

Hand rubbing piece of ceramic on a rubbing stone

It really is like a big jigsaw puzzle.

Just fit the pieces as close as you can.

ceramic tile mosaic pear sitting on table half finished with broken tiles in foreground

Once I’m close to the bottom, I decide that I want to display this piece on a stand.

Ceramic adhesive on back of a piece of ceramic tile

So I’m actually stopping close to the bottom so the pear doesn’t ‘rock’ when it’s on the stand. If you plan to lie it down, (i.e. you’ll see all sides), complete the hole thing.

hand holding ceramic mosaic tile pear showing that bottom is unfinished

I make sure it stands before proceeding to grouting. Hubs actually likes it at this stage but grout will blend it all together.

ceramic mosaic tile pear after gluing all the tile

Grout the Mosaic

For this particular grout, I mix 1 part water to 2 1/2 parts of grout. Your particular grout may mix together with different ratios. If the ratio isn’t stated in the instructions, you’ll have to experiment.

ceramic mosaic tile pear beside box of white grout, empty container, spatula and gloves

Add the water into the container first, then the grout. Mix to combine and let it sit 10 minutes. Then give it another stir.

ceramic mosaic tile pear with grout in a container and a spatular and rubber gloves nearby

After 10 minutes, use the spatula to work the grout into all the gaps between the ceramic tile. I’m working on a piece of plastic to keep my work surface clean.

ceramic mosaic tile pear with two-thirds grouted

The top of the pear is looking a little rough.

ceramic mosaic tile pear after grouting

So I add more grout to round over any sharp edges. I use my finger to smooth it over (it’s easier to do this after 10 minutes). As you’ll see on the video, I also use the bowl of a spoon to help smooth around the top.

Spreading grout around the top of pear with a finger

Lastly, grap a sponge and dip it into water. Ring it out so it’s barely damp. Wipe the excess grout off the surface of the tile. But be gentle at this stage; you don’t want to live the grout from between the tiles.

Here I’m using a cheap dollar store kitchen sponge, but I really don’t recommend these with the green scrubby. The green tends to come off and the foam tends to shred as you wipe the tile.

ceramic mosaic tile pear with sponge beside it after cleaning

Next to apples and pumpkins, pears seem to be a forgotten Fall fruit. But it makes an unforgettable home decor piece when it’s in the form of ceramic tile mosaic!

By the way, there’s probably still time to gather acorns to make this Fall Decor Acorn DIY! I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but Summer weather has lingered well into October here in Canada.

ceramic tile mosaic pear with acorns in a gum ball machine in the background

Now all I have to do is decide what I want to ‘pair’ my ‘pear’ with :). This DIY air plant holder?

Ceramic Tile Mosaic beside knotted bottle

Or maybe it’s pretty enough on its own!

Ceramic Tile Mosaic pear on a gold stand

Ceramic Tile Mosaic Pear

I must say; it’s so nice to have a small piece of my very first renovated property in this home! It brings back great memories.

Pin Ceramic Tile Mosaic

Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!

Pinnable image for ceramic tile mosaic

Ceramic Craft Challenge

Be sure to check out these creative projects from the rest of the IBC team!

  1. Tea and Forget Me Nots – How to Paint a Ceramic Christmas Tree with Vintage Feel
  2. Unique Creations by Anita – DIY Skull Bottle
  3. Birdz of a Feather (that’s us!)
  4. A Crafty Mix – Clay Baked Napkin Bowls


12 thoughts on “Ceramic Tile Mosaic

  1. Whoa, when I originally saw your pear, I didn’t realize the mosaics were the good old fashioned, thick, clunky ones. That takes some doing cutting them, especially when they’re glazed. She turned out beautifully and well worth the effort, and she’s even more special with her built in memories.

    • Those tiles are so thick they would survive a nuclear blast lol. Hope we never have to test that theory! It was definitely worth it and often wonder what that house looks like now.

  2. This is so lovely. Now I need my own object to tile!

    • Thanks Rachel! We may have to do another one; Hubs has requested a pumpkin. Luckily they’re pretty abundant this time of year lol!

  3. Love this Sara!! So elegant. I might need to make some Thanksgiving or Christmas mosaic pieces. So glad to see your posts again!

    • Thanks so much Kim! You should give it a try; I loved breaking stuff to reconstruct it into something pretty lol!

  4. I think the best part of this project is the fact that it brings back wonderful memories for you, Sara. This will always be a treasure!

  5. Really cool project Sara. I was really interest to see how you got the shape after seeing your picture. Really clever way to do it, well done.

    • Thanks so much Anita and by the way, Happy Birthday!

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