Practice Social Distancing with These DIY Tile Projects

As the world strives to curb the spread of COVID-19 with social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders, you might find yourself with more than enough time on your hands. Normally, a few hours of free time would be a welcome break from your busy daily routine. But, what do you do with days or even weeks of free time when you have nowhere to go? Consider DIY tile projects.

Not only is this a fun and creative way to beat cabin fever, but it also improves the aesthetics of your home. You can involve your kids in these projects to give them some artsy experience and spend quality family time with them. Here are two DIY tile projects to help beat your boredom and create lovely things for your home, or to gift.

1. Tile Coasters

Natural stone tiles can be rubber-stamped on using an oil-based ink pad and any rubber stamp images you may have. After the ink has dried (usually within hours) you can color the images with colored pencils or acrylic paint.

If you don’t have rubber stamps, try permanent markers and free draw your initials or any other image you’d want. Spray your finished design with a clear acrylic finish coat and when dry, glue felt pads or cork to the bottom to protect your table. Atlas has the perfect 4×4 natural stone tiles in stock. Call ahead and place your order for either tumbled Adelia or honed Irish cream 4×4 tiles. There are enough in a box to make holiday gifts for everyone!

Using the same techniques, you can make hot pads from the 12×12 natural stones we stock. You’ll need to cover the entire bottom with the cork or felt, though. Or, if you’re adept at woodworking, you could place the stone tile in a backed frame for a different look and a stronger end product. Additionally, porcelain tiles can be good hot plates. Since they can’t be rubber-stamped, it’s best to keep them plain.

2. Tile Mosaics

The beauty of tile mosaics is that they’re easy to make and can be arranged and implemented into any part of your home. Have fun creating a new tabletop, flowerpot, or stepping stone using the following ideas.

  • Using any leftover tiles from previous projects, safely shatter them inside a box or canvas bag to keep the sharp pieces from scattering. Be careful when handling shattered tiles as they can be VERY sharp. Remove the pieces that look appealing, and rearrange them like a puzzle. You can create an actual image or just go with a random pattern. Once you have your image/pattern, stick it to your surface.
  • Using modified thinset (preferably) to a sanded wood tabletop or terracotta flower pot, spread a thin layer, about ¼”, to the area, and reassemble your pattern to the surface. For a curved surface, work one area and allow it to dry before continuing to the next.
  • For an outdoor stepping stone, you can use concrete or create an indoor stone from your thinset. If you’re making an outdoor stone, dig a 2” deep hole into the ground and fill it with concrete. Start with something no larger than a saucer unless you’re feeling particularly confident. Allow that to dry or start assembling your mosaic immediately to the concrete.
  • For an indoor stone, pour your thin-set into a plastic to-go container. Then, either keep it in the vessel or pop the dried base out before assembling the mosaic. Use the technique described above to assemble your mosaic.

With the mosaic done, fill the cracks with colored grout. Atlas stocks a multitude of colors for you to choose from. Darker grout will have more impact by bringing out a stained-glass appearance.

Social Distancing: It’s Safer at Home

Sure, social distancing can be boring, especially if you’re used to a busy day-to-day lifestyle. But, with these DIY tile projects, you can keep yourself occupied while also improving your home or creating gifts for others. Don’t forget to have some fun while you’re at it. And please post your art to our Facebook and/or Instagram page! We would love to see what you come up with during this time!

Take care, be well, and create art.

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