Decorating with broken tiles and fragments may seem impossible, or appear to involve hours of work just preparing the tile pieces. This is not true at all. In fact, tile fragments can offer home decor enthusiasts ways to add a special touch to old furniture pieces, countertops, backsplashes, and more. The trick to dealing with the broken tile fragments is to know how to easily prep them, arrange them and coat them, so that they form the desired design and conform to the constraints of the foundation piece. With just a few simple steps, those broken pieces of tile can become works of art that will add a personal flair to any room for years to come.
Prepare the Broken Tiles
Before laying out the design pattern, the tiles need to be checked and prepared. Look for any sharp edges or chips that may cause problems after the tiles are put into place. Sealant and grout will help to smooth or hide some of the sharp edges, but they will not cover all of them. To protect against cuts and scrapes from the sharp edges, simply use sandpaper to smooth off the edges of each tile piece. Even if the tile appears to be free from sharp edges, it is best to go ahead and smooth the sides. Clear the dust from the sanding from the work area, and make sure the area for the tiles is clear of any debris.
Design the Pattern
The most important step to using broken tiles for decorating is to form a design pattern before making any changes that cannot be easily undone. The best way to do this is layout the tiles either directly on the surface or on a design drawn out on paper. Either way will allow the tiles to be moved around, and the design to be altered before any tiles are permanently placed. Remember, the design should conform or, at least flow with, the piece of furniture. Form a design and have fun with it. Give it a personal touch and flair that makes the piece unique.
Place the Tiles
Using the tile adhesive, place the broken tiles onto the surface in the desired pattern. Place the tiles carefully and gently. Do not rush with the tile placement. Press slowly and in a straight downward motion to secure the tiles into place. Allow the tiles to dry for several hours. Check each tile after they have dried, to ensure each one is secure and in place. If the tile is not secure, then add more adhesive and allow it to dry completely.
Finish the Project
After the tiles have dried and are secure, use the grout to fill in the spaces between the tiles. Each tile grout product has slightly different directions. Take the time to read the directions on the grout and follow them correctly. Clean up the remaining grout and residue. Read and follow the instructions for the sealant and use the product to complete the project. Make sure the tiles are secure, grouted, and sealed in place. Allow the tiles to dry and clean with a damp rag to remove any debris from the project.