Do It Yourself: Tile Mosiac Theme Ideas And Pattern Instructions

Make fun and beautiful creations for your home or to give as gifts with these mosaic tile projects.

If you're seasoned at working with ceramic tiles, you know that once you've been hit with mosaic madness, you can hardly wait to get started on the next colorful project. But, if you're new to this craft, you've yet to discover the beauty and ease of mosaic tiling. Because of the nature of this particular artwork, it's easy to do your first project. You don't have to know how to draw or paint or sculpt, all you really have to know is how to use adhesive. For generations, crafters made their own mosaic tiles by simply using a hammer to chip odd china plates or teacups. There are some who even ventured as far as using broken eggshells in place of the tiles for a cracked effect. The most used method, though, is purchasing squares from amongst the hundreds of modern tiles now being manufactured. Jewels, pearl tones and even mirror pieces are now being introduced in a variety of shapes and sizes. Large ceramic tile pieces are great for kitchen counters and table tops whereas the smaller tiles are perfect for vases, lamps and ashtrays.

Look for the tiling grout where you find your other supplies, including stencils and a scraper, such as a chopstick. The technique is basically the same whether you're doing a large or small project: start with a clean surface, spread the grout, apply the ceramic tiles and use your scraper to outline them. Stencils help tremendously when it comes to applying the tiles in a particular pattern. Tape your stencil to the project and draw an outline of the design onto the piece. Remove the stencils and begin filling in each area with the selected colors and shapes. It's no big deal if you place one wrong, just remove it, spread the grout back into place and insert the next tile. You can do this up until the time that the grout begins to harden. After filling in the drawn places, move to outside of the stenciled areas, filling with grout and tile, small sections at a time.

Now that you know the basic technique involved, there'll be no more plain cement stepping stones to your garden! You can do the stones in ceramic tiles with a color that matches the shutters of your house, or decorate them to look like little turtles or frogs hopping through fields of wildflowers. Remember to outline the tiles with your scraper as you go along. After the initial tile work is set and completely dry, seal each stone with a cement sealer and let dry. Another outdoor project if you have a deck is to make tile designs where drinks can be set without "sweating" the wood. Where the railing meets at right angles, make a square pattern on top of the corner post with the ceramic tiles. When doing flat, square arrangements, a press of some sort is a big help. It can be a piece of wood, a large square tile or another object which is somewhat heavy and flat. After smearing your grout, push the press on top of the grout, to flatten it, and then affix your tiles.

Monograms are impressive when you use ceramic tiles to display your family initial just below the fireplace mantel. Under the shelf which is the mantel, you may have another piece of wood which holds the mantel in place. Stencil on your initials, then tile them in with jewel or pearlescent tiles. Mirror tiles are not suitable for this project, since they often catch the glare of lamps in the room. Lamps, cabinet fronts, drawers and front doors are also great places to add monograms. When you're finished with all of that and ready to move on to another project, grab your supplies and get busy tiling in the bathroom. You can do a nice pond project on the commode seat by first drawing the outlines of the water, reeds, lily pads and other characters. Learn to use various shades of the same color to give the design a look of shading and sunlight. For instance, a frog shouldn't be one shade of green. You might try using light shade for his underbelly and a darker shade for his backside. Use various shades of brown, tan and yellow to do the reeds, then fill in the water with shades of blue and white.

If you have a couple of china cups with no mates, break them by placing them in a zipper bag or paper bag and tap gently with hammer or rolling pin. Now use these to decorate a small plant holder. If you enjoy recycling, use any sturdy, square piece of thick cardboard to fashion ceramic tiles into a drink coaster. Grout and tile the top, and paint or tile the side of the cardboard. Spray with a sealant before using. Turn any ordinary plate into a holiday keepsake by setting tiles in a pattern of spilled fruits or veggies. Seal with a waterproof spray. If you have several pieces of the thick cardboard, glue them together in a stack, tile the entire cube, including the bottom, and then place a pillar candle on top of the new tiled stand. These can be made in different sizes for a centerpiece arrangement. But don't stop there. Use ceramic tiles to cover picture frames, kitchenette seats, bar tops, garden benches, mirror frames and even window panes. Once you get started, it'll be hard to stop.

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