DIY Network

How to Tile a Mosaic Table

Use tiles left over from other projects and some new trim tile to create a mosaic table out of a glass-top table.

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  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Replace Glass With Plywood and Backer Board

To do this project start with a wrought-iron, glass-topped table. Remove the glass tabletop. Safety Alert: When working with broken pieces of tile, be sure to wear gloves because the edges are sharp. Cut a piece of 3/8" plywood the same size as the tabletop. Using screws, construction adhesive and clamps, attach a piece of cement backer board to the plywood. Note: Backer board is needed in order to receive ceramic or stone tiles. Tiling directly on plywood would fail due to moisture penetrating the wood.

replace glass with plywood and backer board

Step 2: Make a Design

Gather all the pieces of tile on one surface and spread them out. Do a dry run with the tile pieces to create the design you want. Set the tiles in any pattern you wish. You can use chalk to transfer the design to the backer board.

Step 3: Attach the Tile Edging

Install a v-cap trim to the table's edge using thinset and a trowel. You may need to backbutter the v-cap to bring it up to the same height as the tile. Clean off the residual thin set from the tabletop.

install a v cap trim to table edge

Step 4: Lay the Tile

Pre-moisten the backer board with a damp sponge. Put down only enough thinset for an area you can tile in 15 minutes. For spacing lay the tiles along the chalk (layout) lines, and move the tiles into place as long as the thin-set bed is wet. As you set each tile, check the edges to make sure there's no excess lippage. If one tile is high, tap it down. If it's low, lift it up and add more thin set and re-apply. Tip: Don't forget to clean out the joints of excess thinset as you lay the tiles.

Step 5: Tap With a Rubber Mallet

Use a beating block and rubber mallet to help keep the tiles flat and to secure the tiles into the thinset. Be sure not to tap too hard or the tiles may crack. Don't forget to clean out the joints of excess thinset as you lay the tiles. Let the thinset cure for 24 hours before grouting.

secure tiles into thinset

Step 6: Grout the Tile

Grout the tile surface of the table by leaving the grout high to cover any sharp edges of the broken tile. Seal the grout joints with a grout sealer. Tip: If you still feel like the mosaic pieces on the tabletop are too sharp, you can add a heavy coat of floor polish to cover the surface.