Saturday, April 6, 2013

Broken Tile Painted Tray How To

Welcome! It's an overcast morning on the Sunset Coast. I thought I would share this tray made with broken tile project. It's a good way to dabble in tiling without needing a tile cutter.


First thing you'll need is a wood tray. I was given this neat tray unfinished, by my friend Vikki. I bought a few tiles at Home Depot in various colors. They're sold individually and very inexpensive. I had the marbles and glass bits from other craft projects.You could add seashells, beads, sea glass, jewelry finds.. anything that you can glue and grout around.

The other thing you need is some adhesive to glue down the tile and stuff. You can buy tile adhesive, or just use something you have. I think I used Liquid Nails for this. Something that dries hard and is water resistant. No, you can't use white paper glue or modge podge! You'll also need grout; I used a dark walnut colored grout for this makeover. Pick the non-sanded grout, it's smoother.

Okay, here's how I did it...
I painted the wood tray inside and outside, top and bottom --everything but the inside bottom where the tile went. To paint the insides I dabbed on yellow, gold and bits of red acrylic craft paint and mottled them together by dabbing with a paint brush. Add color until you like it. You may need a little white paint. If it gets too muddy looking--start over! Take some chances with paint, it's easy to do-over. I use the little 2 oz acrylic paints they have at hobby and craft stores.

I painted the outside of the tray by dabbing my paintbrush in browns and blacks. Just keep adding and patting away.  
The camera focused on the painted table in the background  instead of the side of the tray. That red painted table is another story for another day.

After the paint has tried, coat the tray with polyurethane or a clear spray coat.Now for the fun, watch the paint dry....................
Actually, the fun part is breaking the tile. Put your colored tiles in between some old towels. You don't want shards of tile flying around. Wear protective eye coverings too. I am not responsible if you poke an eye out!  Use a hammer to break the tiles. Don't break too much or the pieces will be too small. You want the 4x4 inch tile to break into about 4 to 6 pieces, depending on your project.
Check the tiles under the towel occasionally to see how  they're breaking and aim accordingly.
Now to design the tiled tray. I used tiles that had corners in the corners of the tray, the more random shapes in the center. Lay out the tile without gluing to see how you like it. (You can add the marbles and glass, etc. in between to fill gaps later).
This part doesn't work perfectly, but pick up one piece of dry placed tile, put adhesive on the back and replace it in the tray. Keep going until all the tiles are glued. Then add whatever you want to in the gaps. I used flat glass and round glass marbles.

           More fun while the tile adhesive dries.. WAIT!!!
Ok, now for the grout. Buy some non-sanded grout. It's smooth and less grainy. This part gets messy. Mix up the grout and some water to the consistency of peanut butter, not too dry, not too wet.
I use a regular putty knife to get the grout into the cracks as much as possible. It's going to get on the tile, but no problemo. Just keep puttying away. When all the cracks are filled, get a sponge and a bucket of water. Use the sponge to wipe down the tile, leaving the grout in the cracks. Use the bucket of water to keep rinsing the sponge. When the tile looks clean, you're done! There may be a haze of grout on the tile when it dries, just wipe it with a soft cloth to shine it up.
Here it is with my new orchid from the Farmer's Market and a couple things from my Etsy shop. I have enjoyed this tray for many years. Hope you like this broken tile tray tutorial!

Have a crafty day!
Sharing here...
                                    House  of Hepworths
                                                              Common Ground
                                     French Country Cottage
                                                                              52 Mantels
                                           Live Laugh Rowe
                                        Savvy Southern Style
                                     Cupcakes and Corndogs
                                                        Brambleberry Cottage
                                  Classy Clutter


  1. I love the tray. Love the look of mosaics however and wherever they are used. Haven't done any before but this looks doable. Thanks for sharing, best wishes, Tammy

    1. This was a pretty small project. I've done a couple table tops and this was by far the easiest mosaic to do! Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Cindy

  2. I love your tray! I love the colors you used.

    Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party

    1. Thanks NWP.. can I call you that? It was fun and easy using the broken tiles.

  3. beautiful! I have some extra tile I've been saving for somethingjust like this :)

    1. Go for it Maggie! It's easier than tile cutting and such and more unique. Good luck!

  4. I've always wanted to try mosaic, but never had enohg courage. Seems like a tray would make a great first project, because the space is manageable. It's fabulous.... thanks for sharing it... :)

    hugs x
    Crystelle Boutique

  5. My MIL has been looking for a tutorial just like this. We found the cutest trays at a thrift store. I would love it if you would come share at my link party! I am going to pass this along to her.


    1. I'm glad this came in handy. I did hook up at your party too, thanks! Cindy

  6. OH, I love this! I have been wanting to create something with broken tile and china - beautifully done! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  7. Wow! Back in the day, I used to do tile mosaic for our school project. It doesn't only look nice, but it's very easy to do as well! You can just get old tiles and smash them to pieces and make a beautiful mosaic out of it. How great is that! Tomi Wilhoit


Thank you for visiting the Sunset Coast! I really, really love your comments!