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.
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.
What better way to use those tile scraps than to upcycle them into home decor: a ceramic tile mosaic pear?
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:
Ceramic Tile Mosaic Supplies
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You will need:
- Uvex Safety Googles
- M-D Compound Tile Nippers
- Scraps of ceramic (ours are leftover flooring)
- Metal spreader
- QEP Rubbing Stone
- Ceramic Tile Adhesive
- White Tile Grout (or any colour you have)
- Plastic Pear (or any fruit)
- Fine sandpaper
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.
I did also try to use a hammer instead, but purchasing a special tool was worth it for me.
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.
Since this tile is SO thick, I hold the nippers off the edge.
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.
A really good pair of goggles is essential too. You don’t want pieces hitting you!
Keep breaking down the pieces until they are fairly small.
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.
Glue the Ceramic Tile Mosaic
Back butter each piece of tile with the tile adhesive.
And stick it down onto the pear.
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.
For pieces with edges that stick out beyond the face of the tile, as you see below, a rubbing stone will sand those down.
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.
It really is like a big jigsaw puzzle.
Just fit the pieces as close as you can.
Once I’m close to the bottom, I decide that I want to display this piece on a stand.
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.
I make sure it stands before proceeding to grouting. Hubs actually likes it at this stage but grout will blend it all together.
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.
Add the water into the container first, then the grout. Mix to combine and let it sit 10 minutes. Then give it another stir.
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.
The top of the pear is looking a little rough.
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.
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.
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.
Now all I have to do is decide what I want to ‘pair’ my ‘pear’ with :). This DIY air plant holder?
Or maybe it’s pretty enough on its own!
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!
Ceramic Craft Challenge
Be sure to check out these creative projects from the rest of the IBC team!
- Tea and Forget Me Nots – How to Paint a Ceramic Christmas Tree with Vintage Feel
- Unique Creations by Anita – DIY Skull Bottle
- Birdz of a Feather (that’s us!)
- A Crafty Mix – Clay Baked Napkin Bowls