Friday, February 4, 2011

What to do with left over tiles that have been sitting in your basement.....FOREVER!

Sorry for the extra long title, but I really wanted to hit that point home...they had been sitting in the basement since we put the tile floor in the bathroom (2 years ago)!

Not that I want to touch the basement with a ten foot pole (it's Chris's very disgusting tool cave), but occasionally I go down there for a tool or to put paint on the shelf and I see all around me things that I can use to create!! The box of tile was one of those "things" just sitting on a shelf crying out to be used. After all, it was just gathering dust.

So the other day I stirred up my creativity and opened the box to see how many tiles were left to use. Five. That's not even enough to matter to Chris, so they were mine! I decided to use four because if you know me, odd numbers freak me out... are you really surprised? I opted out of stopping at the half-sane notion of three children to have four for that very reason!

For this project I wanted to utilize two random things I had laying around. One- the tiles and two- a picture frame without a back. In other words it was just a frame and glass. I had thought about cutting a new cardboard back for the thing, but never got around to it. I believe it was destined to be used in this project!

The first thing I did was wash the dirt and grit off the tiles. I then followed that with a more thorough washing with Goo Gone extreme. This stuff is lethal! It smells bad, but it works. 
After some time researching what kind of design to use on the tiles, I came up with this flower motif. I chose to freehand mine, but please remember I'm still paying for four and half years of art school and for that to be cost effective I have to do it this way. You, if you choose, can use a stencil or pretty paper or whatever makes you happy. This is my punishment. I must draw. I used a plain non-permanent pen to draw the first sketch.

I traced over the sketch with my best friend sharpie. Sharpie is the best thing ever. It can be used for anything. It is the most important tool in my art bin next to my tobacco pipe (I'm so kidding!!) 
Make sure to give the sharpie lines time to dry before you get all touchy-feely with the tile. It has to dry completely on the non-porous surface.
After I had drawn the whole thing out, I decided to switch it up. I wanted a little variety, so I changed the top left tile with a peice of black paper Mod Podged over it. Actually, I took that fifth tile and Mod Podged that, just in case I found I didn't like the result.
I used an almost-as-cool-as-a -Sharpie Painters pen to draw over the pencil lines I made on the black paper to create a positive negative effect.
I Mod Podged the tiles to seal them and give them a pretty sheen.
Even though I didn't use the original top left tile, I can attach felt tabs on the back an make it into a coaster or put it onto a small picture frame to echo this design in another room. Either way, I'll use it!
I used Elmer's Glue-All Multi-Purpose glue to attach the tiles to the glass of the frame.

I allowed the glue to set overnight. This is very important, because those tiles really weigh the frame and need to set completely!!
But then the next day I had new art to hang on my walls! However I can see this thing being broken in a minute with one rogue ball or forcefully tossed stuffed animal. I'll let you know how that turns out!
Happy weekend!


  1. Love it!!! Great tutorial!! Wish I had some tile laying around, dang it!

    1. I know this is way late (like 3 years), but you can order free tile samples (regular sized tiles) from many stores. I ordered a bunch for my projects, free and free shipping.

    2. Triggs, can you give me some names of places I can get free tile samples from please. Thank you and if you have ideas I can use I would appreciate that too.

  2. are you kidding me??? i'm going to break into your house and steal that. i LOVE it. you are so creative!

  3. Lovely! I'm wondering if there are other ways to hang the tile on the glass.

  4. Just gorgeous!!! I linked this to my tile project post too - for inspiration!

  5. You are such an artist. You certainly made use of your old tiles. This proves that good quality tiles are recyclable. I commend you for your resourcefulness. Your new painting canvas is indeed a work of art in itself.

    Alana Geikie

  6. What a great idea! i have the same passion for sharpie too. i use them on everything! They are like duct tape! lol

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  13. Great article! You could probably use a piece of plywood to attach the tile to.

  14. Wow! Your works look really good! It's actually nice for you to share this idea you came up with. I have a lot of old tiles lying dormant on our basement; I never thought that they could still be repurposed. I'll try and make my own designs. Hopefully, they'll turn out as good as yours. Thanks for sharing this!

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