L.M. Reid is an Irish writer who has published many DIY articles online. Learn how to make the numerous crafts she creates from home.
How to Make Mosaic Designs With Ceramic Tiles
Here are some ideas for mosaic tiles designs you can use for garden tables. I've also included tips on grouting and sealing the tiles. If you have an old table you don't like anymore, why not turn it into something beautiful with a mosaic design? It is easy and fun to put together. Here are step-by-step instructions with my own photos and video.
What You'll Need
- Ceramic Tiles (various colours)
- Tile Adhesive
- Tile Sealer
- Spirit Level
1. Prepare the Table
Paint the legs of the table in a colour you like, as well as any surfaces that will not be covered with the mosaic. Let the table dry completely, preferably at least 24 hours.
Clean the tabletop thoroughly and make sure it is dry and even.
2. Acquire the Ceramic Tiles
Here are a few places you can find or purchase tiles:
- Online at Amazon. There is always a great variety of ceramic tiles here and they are great value too, so this is where I buy mine.
- Stores: Some places have some odd tiles left over. These are usually put aside in a sale box, so you can buy them at a cheaper cost and individually.
- Displays: Some shops have samples on display that they either sell at a steep discount or give away.
- Friends or Family: Ask them if they have any leftover tiles in their garage or attic.
- Garage Sales: You can buy tiles inexpensively at garage sales, so this is a great option.
One important tip is to make sure that all the tiles you get are the same depth. This is necessary so that the table will have a level surface when it's finished. The colours, shapes, and designs can be different.
It is up to you to decide how large or small you want your tiles to be for the mosaic. If this is your first mosaic project, I suggest using a mixture of sizes. You will know which size you prefer to work with after you complete your first mosaic.
- Use a hammer to break the tiles. Tapping them lightly will cause them to break into pieces. You will get used to how much pressure is needed as you go along.
- Keep all the same colour tile pieces in a separate box. This will make it easier when you go to lay them out for your design. You could also put them in separate groups if you have no boxes handy.
4. Design Your Tabletop
Once the tiles are broken up into pieces, lay some out on the table and create your design. You can put the same colours together or mix them in rows. Use tiles in one colour to form a shape or straight lines. This is your table, so you can decide how to put everything together.
5. Glue the Tiles
When you are happy with the design, then start gluing them to the tabletop with your ceramic tile adhesive.
- Cover a small area of the table with glue and press the tiles down. This takes patience, but please do it carefully and evenly.
- Place the spirit level over a group of tiles you have stuck onto the table at intervals to make sure they are even.
- Leave them to dry completely for at least 24 hours.
6. Grout the Mosaic Table
- Mix the grout with water, following the instructions on the bag.
- Use a brush or plastic scraper to add the grouting to the tabletop.
- Cover just a few tiles at a time to prevent the grout from drying out before you can spread it properly.
- Smooth the grouting in between the tile gaps. Try to make it as even as possible.
- Continue around the remaining tiles until the tabletop is finished.
- Start from the place you started adding grout and begin to clean the tiles.
- Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe a few tiles clean.
- Use the plastic scraper to remove the excess water and most of the grouting.
- Do this for all the tiles.
- Get a clean damp cloth or baby wipe and do a final clean. Polish off the tiles on the whole table.
7. Finish the Grouting
After the grouting was left to dry for 24 hours, you need to check on the table.
- Use the spirit level to make sure the tiles are even. There will be some areas where the space between the tiles is uneven.
- Mix some more grouting, but make it a thinner consistency this time.
- Spread the grout over the tiles again, paying attention to any uneven areas.
- Clean the tiles as you did above and leave it to dry again for 24 hours.
8. Seal the Tiles
- Mix the grout sealer as per instructions on the bottle. Mine was five parts water to one part sealer.
- Use a clean paste brush to cover the mosaic with the sealer. It is very watery, so make sure you do not leave puddles in the gaps.
- Leave to dry for three hours.
- Add another coat of sealer.
This will protect the mosaic tabletop and make it look nicer. When this is completely dry, your mosaic table top is finished!
Want More Ideas?
I made the two mosaic tabletops above. Learn how I did it to get more inspiration for your project! With these designs I used tiny square tiles. I already had some and then used these mixed tiles as well. I found them very easy to use and I had lots of colours to choose from.
Keep Experimenting With Mosaic Art
Now that you've made your first mosaic tabletop, you have the experience and knowledge to create more! The possibilities are endless, so here are a few suggestions:
- Turn that old sideboard or drawer set into a lovely piece of modern furniture by adding fresh paint and a mosaic design.
- Make a mosaic on a plain wall in the garden or yard to give it fresh life and colour.
- Decorate picture frames or old mirrors for a vintage look.
Questions & Answers
Question: What can I do if the mosaic tabletop filler does not dry?
Answer: It was probably too thin. Apply more of it again in between the tiles and wait 24 hours. If it is still wet then dry it it with a hairdryer.
Question: How did you make the mosaic tiles fit the edge of the table?
Answer: The ceramic tiles were broken in many small pieces, so I was able to match them to fit the edge. In some parts of the table, there are a few spaces, but that was easily filled in and fixed with the grouting.
Question: Was that a glass table top you glued the tiles to? If not, can you use a glass table top or what do you use to replace the glass?
Answer: Yes, the top of the table is made of glass. You can safely glue the ceramic tiles to the glass without any problems.
Question: Will the tile glue still work if I use a table with a wooden top instead of glass?
Answer: Yes, the ceramic tile glue works just as well with wood.
Question: Do I have to glue each piece individually? and what kind of glue do I use?
Answer: Yes each tile has to be glued with special ceramic tile glue first. Once dry, they are covered in grouting and then with tile sealer. It is worth all the extra work because you can create some really amazing mosaic designs that will last for years.
Question: Would a mosaic table top work on a wood table?
Answer: Yes, you can make a mosaic design on a tabletop made of wood. The ceramic tiles will stick to it very well.
Question: I have a plastic table, do I need glue or tile adhesive?
Answer: Tile adhesive would be the correct thing to use in order to stick the ceramic tiles to the table.
Question: Can I use my metal outdoor table?
Answer: Yes, as long as you use tiles that are larger than the holes
Question: Can a veneer surface be used for a mosaic design?
Answer: Yes you can stick ceramic tiles on to a veneer surface to make your mosaic designs.
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on October 25, 2017:
Thank you all for taking the time to read and leave a comment.
Sarah, I am not sure about the glass. My table is made of a glass top too but there has been no damage to it.
Sarah on October 20, 2017:
My late Aunty made one of these which I inherited and it means so much to me I have concerns because it's old now on how do I protect the glass from breaking underneath am I able to reinforce it somehow? Please any suggestions appreciated
butterflystar on October 18, 2017:
I love this, great article.
christine Merlino on April 23, 2017:
Its been years since I took a mosaic class(bird house, stepping stone with form and cement...Thanks for refreshing me! Get instructions/very clear and love step by step to watch .So much easier this way!
Joanie Ruppel from Keller, Texas on February 06, 2017:
I would like to try this one day with the sea glass I have collected the past 10 years. This is a great step-by-step method.
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on August 05, 2016:
Hello horn6651, I used tile glue I bought in a hardware shop. I can not remember the brand
horn56651 on June 17, 2016:
I have been looking for directions on how to mosaic a glass top table and here it is! The directions are awesome. I want to know what type and brand of glue you used to attach the shards before grouting. Thanks
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on May 27, 2016:
I have had no problems with the glass top Patty. If anything I believe the tiles have strengthened the table top.
Patty on May 27, 2016:
I have a glass top table and I was worried that the tiles would be too heavy. Any issues with that?
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on November 06, 2015:
Thank you Alloyasuis. It does take a long time to do but the result is well worth the effort
Alloysius Hloae on July 17, 2015:
Hi i really ĺove this job since i love this work from school and i did mosaic work at school Bĺoemfotein
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on November 20, 2014:
It is really fun to make but does take a lot of time.
Thank you RebeccaMealey and Phyllis Doyle for taking the time to leave a comment. I am glad you liked it.
Besarien lol Yes I am planning to do this to one of my garden walls.
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on November 20, 2014:
Yes I did enjoy making this mosaic table top, although it did take a lot of time - worth it though. Mister Hollywood I am glad you like my method of writing and thank you for your kind comments.
Breakfastpop I am delighted I have encouraged you to give this a try, it is very satisfying to create something from scratch.
Besarien from South Florida on October 20, 2014:
This was awesome and so inspiring. I want to do this to tables that I do like! I want to do this to my walls!
Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on August 24, 2014:
What a fun project to take on. The table turned out lovely. Voted up, U, A, I and shared.
breakfastpop on August 24, 2014:
I have been thinking about trying this for quite a long time. Your hub is so detailed and understandable that I think I have the courage to begin. Thank you. Voted up, useful, interesting and awesome!
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 24, 2014:
Pretty, pretty pretty! My daughter made one of these for me once. I love it. You make it look so fun and easy. Shared and pinned.
John Hollywood from Hollywood, CA on August 24, 2014:
Really cool hub and wow - this step by step "how to" is very informative. I will have to remember to come back and check more of your hubs in the future. Very practical and easy to understand. I am voting up!
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on January 08, 2014:
Hello Suzanne Day I am glad you found this article useful. It is well worth the effort for the result that can be achieved with making a mosaic design. Have a go and see how you do. Thanks for the kind comments.
Hello Crystal Tatum thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, sharing and votes
Hello rudra007 I appreciate your kind comments, thanks
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on January 08, 2014:
Hello Your Cousins, you should give this a go with your spare tiles. It was hard work but I did enjoy it and the finished product was well worth it.
Take lots of photos and write a hub about it too. Thank you for your wonderful comments.
Lastheart thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, glad you liked it
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on January 08, 2014:
Hello NWeaver you can buy special paint to paint tiles.
Yes starstream, I must admit I only wore my ordinary glasses when smashing up the tiles. I plan doing some more art this spring so will definitely buy some. Thanks for your kind comments.
Veenoo from India on December 02, 2013:
Very good, lot of hard work. Nice and thanks for making this hub.
Crystal Tatum from Georgia on December 02, 2013:
Quite an ambitious project with amazing results. Great hub, voting up, sharing.
Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on December 02, 2013:
Wow, what a great hub! You have put a lot of time and effort into this, creating a mosaic table! I always wondered how to do this properly, and also how to make a mosaic wall and you've shown me how, step by step. Voted up and useful!
Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on December 02, 2013:
I love this hub!! Thanks for sharing with all the details.
Your Cousins from Atlanta, GA on December 02, 2013:
I never knew how this was done. You created a beautiful piece of art. I have some leftover stone tiles in the attic from various floors in house. It would be great to create a table that matches the floor tiles. I am definitely putting this on my to-do list.
Dreamer at heart from Northern California on December 02, 2013:
Your mosaic instructions with pictures are excellent. I found a small amount of tiles at a non profit craft/art recycle outlet. It must be almost one of a kind store. Do wear protective eye glasses!
NWeaver on August 31, 2013:
I found an old mosaic tile table with tiles that have faded paint. If tiles are still intact is there a way to repaint tiles?
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on August 25, 2013:
Yes it did take a long time to make the mosaic but it is well worth it. Our table looks very impressive in the garden. Thanks Leslie for taking the time to leave a comment
Leslie from South Carolina on July 19, 2013:
Great hub. I want to make one ASAP. It looks time consuming but I am sure the finished product is worth the effort. You did a great job providing easy to follow steps. Voted up and useful.
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on June 22, 2013:
Yes I also enjoyed making the Mosaic for this Garden Table missolive and now plan to do even more. It does take time but worth the end result.
Thank you missolive and rajan jolly for your comments, they are much appreciated
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 13, 2013:
Very interesting and educative. It was great to read and watch the pictures as well to get a complete understanding of the process.
Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on June 12, 2013:
You did a great job! I've dabbled in mosaics and did my kitchen table. It was a fun project and I'm considering a mosaic for our garden table. Your instructions and pictures are fabulous, thank you for sharing all of your tips. The videos were a great addition. Voted up!
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on June 07, 2013:
Creating a mosaic pattern on a piece of furniture is fun and very creative. It is amazing how it transforms the table.
Thanks Garlic Angel and Ingenira for taking the time to leave a comment
Ingenira on June 04, 2013:
Awesome!! The step by step procedure is really helpful.
Christine from Dublin on June 04, 2013:
Great hub and very well explained. Might have a go at it myself I have a few pieces of old furniture that could do with a bit of TLC.
Garlic Angel :-)
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on June 04, 2013:
I enjoyed making the mosaic table top but it did take a lot of time. I plan doing other projects soon too with the left over tiles.
Thanks Jaypyramid for taking the time to leave a comment
Jaypyramid on June 04, 2013:
Great Hub Viking I have been thinking of doing this so now I have all the steps I can try it. I love the colors on your table