Friday, August 26, 2011

How to: Mod Podge Tiles

Hola! Sorry to disappoint; no Sara update, just another craft how-to. Today, I will be creating, reviewing, and giving you fresh ideas for a craft already featured on another website.

Kristy from Light Refreshments Served created this awesome project simple, easy-to-do coasters that you can make for your friends and family. However, unlike Kristy, my family members are not coaster users. I don’t know why (actually there are three reasons; husband, daughter, dog) but everything in my house looks like it went through some type of tropical storm. Worrying about glass rings on the furniture would be akin to me approaching a homeless panhandler and telling him that he really should get that nasty little hangnail looked at.

So I went in to this project with some other ideas, mainly the possibility of making some sort of ceramic table top. And also wall hangings. I love scrapbook paper but I am the worst scrapbooker in the world. I am just really bad at projects that take long amounts of time to finish…so here was a nifty little reason for me to continue my addiction to scrapbook paper WITHOUT the pain in the arse of creating beautiful family memory keepsakes!

First off, a list of the things you will need:

• Ceramic tiles – you can get these as singles at any home improvement store. I did the 4 x 4 inch tiles but also considered doing smaller and larger for different projects.

• Mod Podge – you can buy this crafting glue at just about any craft store, generally in the glue or “things that you use for sticking” aisle.

• Scrapbook paper – OR cool ads you found in old magazines or old papers, etc. Also, I am toying with the idea for taking some of my own pictures and printing them out to see how that goes.

• Some type of glossy clear protective enamel spray paint – you will also find this at a home improvement store or places like Kmart.

• Little round felt pads (if you plan on making coasters).
• Foam brushes.
• Soap and water for clean up.
• Well ventilated place for enamel spray paint.

Let me say this took A LOT more mod podge (henceforth referred to as MP) action than I initially thought it would. You stick the scrapbook paper to the ceramic tile using MP. Then you also brush over it with MP and leave to dry. You do this MULTIPLE TIMES. The more you build up, the more protected the scrapbook paper is from peeling off the ceramic tile at a later date. After a few go rounds I thought it would be better to cut the paper down slightly so it doesn’t go all the way to the edge of the tile. This might be a useful technique especially since the tiles tend to be rounded on the edges. This means to get the paper to be ‘flush’ to the tile you essentially have to build the tile up with MP over time, covering the sides over and over again and waiting at least 15 minutes between drying sessions. On each go round you want to make sure you are using even coats of MP and don’t let anything (like all the free floating glitter in your craft room) accidently fall into it!

That is technically the only really intense step. After the tile dries (when it is no longer tacky to touch) you can spray it with the enamel. Glossy enamel will take a good deal of time to dry. The longer you let it dry, the better. In my house I have a built-in app timer called my husband who likes to sit there and remind me not to touch things that are drying with glossy enamel paint on them. If you don’t have this built-in appliance, you might want to look into downloading it.

Overall, this is a pretty easy craft as long as you don’t mind walking away from it and then re-starting throughout the day. MY next step was to take a little ugly table that my husband made from odds and ends (back when he was living in a single dirty room in the mountains, just waiting for the right woman to come along and clean up after him) sand it, paint it and give it a funky ceramic table top!

Behold ugly little table!

Much had to be done to this little table including the sanding and painting. I also had to cut and add molding that hid the plywood sides, and created a tray-like table top that defined a natural stop for the grout. Next time I will ask my husband to make an ugly little square table!

Grouting down the ceramic tiles was the part I was most worried about, as I wasn’t sure how well the MP and enamel would hold up to grout. But in the end it worked pretty well.

I recently pulled up our bathroom tile, which was just a lovely shade of baby poop blue in teeny tiny tiles that were prone to coming loose. I refinished the bathroom with large beige tiles, so I already had all of the stuff needed to complete this project.

In case you want to take the project this far you will need:
• Sponges.
• Thin set mortar and grout (you can buy both grout and thin set mortar, pre-
mixed, in smaller amounts in buckets it runs around $20).
• Grout laying tool.

I had to go through MANY lessons on tile laying from my built-in app (aka, husband). Lucky for me, when it comes to little table-like crafts like this project, he is a lot less anal and therefore it is a lot less complicated.

First, you layer thin set mortar on the top making sure to spread it evenly. Then you stick the tiles down however you want. I ended up cutting tiles to make corner pieces, and looking back event that wasn’t enough. I should have resigned myself to cutting more pieces to make the grout lines smaller but I had already ‘made’ the tiles and didn’t know how well they would cut with the paper, mp, and enamel. In the end I have really big grout lines that I had to sink glass into to give the grout something to adhere to because if the grout line is too big the grout will crumble and crack and oh dear god why do I know this?

The pieces I cut I did in the garage with a power toll BUT if you don’t have or aren’t comfortable doing that then mark up your pieces and take them back to the hardware store you bought them from, typically they will have a ceramic tile cutting machine and staff that can cut for you. Let the thin set and tiles cure for 24 hours and then grout the tiles with the grouting tool. Then use the sponge and clean the excess grout off of the tiles. Let it set for another 24 hours before you begin using it.

So there you have it. You can use this cute ceramic tile idea as coasters or you can use them as beautiful pieces for larger projects!

Out on the back porch!

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