Mexican Tile Table

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Introduction: Mexican Tile Table

This old table was refinished with Day of the Dead tiles and authentic Talavera broken tile. The result is a colorful outdoor conversation piece.

Step 1: VIRTUAL LAYOUT & DESIGN

VIRTUAL LAYOUT & DESIGN

A virtual design and layout was created using Microsoft PowerPoint.



• Save images of potential Day of the Dead tiles into a folder on your computer.
• Paste images a 6-in. x 6-in. tiles into a PowerPoint slide and resize the images to a workable size.
• Draw a 36-in. square table top using the 6-in. tiles as a reference.
• Use the template to mixing and matching colors and designs.


Step 2: MATERIALS & TOOLS

MATERIALS

Day of the Dead tiles and mural - these hand painted tiles were purchased from Hand-N-Hand Designs out of Tucson, Arizona.

• 18-in x 18-in Mural: Rose Lady $149.00
• 6-in x 6-in Day of the Dead Tequila $19.95
• 6-in x 6-in Day of the Dead Nurse $19.95
• 6-in x 6-in Day of the Dead Cat Sugar Skull $19.95
• 6-in x 6-in Day of the Dead Biker $19.95


Broken Talavera tiles - the broken tiles (solid and decorative ceramic tiles) were purchased from La Fuente Imports out of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

• 3 each of the following solid color tiles:

• Brilliant Red $1.57
• Brilliant Carrot $1.57
• Brilliant Blue $1.57
• Apple Green $1.32
• Black $1.32
• Washed Lilac $1.57
• Lime Green $1.32
• Washed Yellow $1.57

• 1 each of the following decorative tiles

• Pina $2.15
• Fiesta Azul $1.94
• Flor de Corazones $1.94
• Girasol $2.15 each
• Escamilla Multicolorado $2.15
• Luz de Norte $2.15
• Morocco $1.94
• Damas Flores $1.51


Border tiles - the Talavera clay border tiles were ordered from Fine Crafts & Imports out of Camarillo, California.

• 36 V-Cap Cobalt Blue tiles, 2-in. on a side. $1.10
• 4 Corner Cap Cobalt Blue tiles, 2-in. of a side $1.10


TOOLS

Tools and Consumables - these hand tools can be purchased at your local home improvement store.

• V-Notch Economy Trowel $2.96
• Red Rubber Concrete and Plaster Grout Float $3.96
• Thin-Set & Grout Mixing Paddle $12.97
• Hardiebacker 3-ft. x 5-ft. x 1/4-in. Cement Backerboard $11.47
• Sponge 3-pack $4.88
• 1/8-in. Tile Spacers (250 count) $2.97
• Thin-Set Mortar $16.47
• Charcoal Sanded Grout $14.47
• #6 x 3/4-in. & #8 x 1-1/4-in. general purpose construction screws
• Liquid Nails Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive $4.98
• Caulk Gun $2.47
• Tile Nipper $12.76
• Putty Knife $6.97

Step 3: PHYSICAL LAYOUT & DESIGN

PHYSICAL LAYOUT & DESIGN

First to arrive to my doorstep were the solid color tile and decorative tiles from La Fuente Imports. So until the 6-in. x 6-in. Day of the Dead tiles and mural arrived, I printed the images at 1:1 scale (again using PowerPoint to enlarge the pictures).

  • Carefully break solid tiles and decorative tiles with a hammer!
  • Mix and match different colors and themes.
  • Transferred the broken tiles to another table but keep the general layout as much as possible.

Step 4: TABLE TOP PREPARATION

TABLE TOP PREPARATION

Prepared table top by covering it with cement backer board to provide a uniform and moisture resistant surface for adhering the tile. I watched the manufacturer's installation video to get a sense of how to properly install the backboard.

Sizing the Backerboard

  • Measure and score the backerboard. I used a box cutter, which is actually the wrong tool for the job. Use a scoring knife instead.
  • Snap a 3-ft. x 3-ft. section for the table top
  • Snap 36-in. x 1-in strips for the sides. These small strips required an excessive number of passes using my box cutter with an excessive number of new, sharp blades in order to get a clean break. With patience I ended up with four side pieces that were nearly intact.

Installing the Backerboard

  • Wipe off any dust
  • Apply a bead of adhesive to the top of the table.
  • Screw backerboard onto table top with general purpose construction screws.I used #6 x 3/4-in
  • Apply a bead of adhesive to the sides of the table top.
  • Pre-drill and screw the side pieces. Generally pre-drilling the backerboard isn't required but it was for such narrow pieces. Be sure not to overtighten or the material will crush.

Step 5: TILE PREPARATION

TILE PREPARATION

In addition to breaking the solid and decorative tiles, the required tile preparation includes:

  • Remove backing from the 6-in. x 6-in. Day of the Dead tiles. It is easily removed with a flat head screw driver.
  • Cut (or nip) the border tile pieces to size. First I scored the back of the V-Cap border tile and then gently squeezed the tile nipper. To my surprise the break was relatively clean and straight.
  • Measure and mark the location of the tile on the backerboard.

Step 6: TILE INSTALLATION

TILE INSTALLATION

THIN-SET PREPARATION & TILE APPLICATION

  • Mix water and thin-set mortar according to the manufacturer's instructions. I used just a half a bag so I weighed out 25 lb using a bathroom scale. It was mixed using the mixing paddle for a few minutes.
  • Wipe backerboard with a damp sponge.
  • Apply thin-set in limited areas to keep it from drying. If an area happens to dry it can be scraped up pretty easily. I found traditional toweling methods cause the thin-set to dry too quickly given the large number of tile fragments that need to be placed.
  • Immediately after applying the thin-set to the backerboard, "butter" each tile piece and press into place.
  • Lay mural and Day of the Dead Tiles, and the border tiles.
  • Then lay in the remaining area with the broken tile pieces according to your final design.
  • Working a small area with a small putty knife seemed to work well after the 6-in x 6-in tiles were laid.
  • Periodically mix the mortar to keep it from setting up. The bucket of mortar stayed workable for more than several hours.
  • This is messy so plan accordingly.


Step 7: GROUTING

GROUTING

I chose a very dark CHARCOAL grout to give a great contrast with the colorful tiles.

  • Mix water and grout according to the manufacturer's instructions. Mix using the mixing paddle.
  • Apply grout over entire area and work quickly to keep it from drying. The grout drys much faster than the thin-set.
  • Clean excess grout. I had trouble cleaning the excess grout from the areas with broken tiles due to the unevenness. I used my hands and a putty knife to remove the bulk of the excess grout.
  • Once most of the excess is removed, looked over the entire table top, piece by piece, fragment by fragment and using a putty knife uncover any partially or fully covered tiles.
  • This is extremely messy so plan accordingly.

Step 8: FINAL MEXICAN TILE TABLE TOP

FINAL MEXICAN TILE TABLE TOP

A beautiful table!

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    7 Comments

    Wonderful piece of art work & craftsmanship!

    Thanks!

    Cool. You can also order custom tiles with your own graphics or photographs from cafepress.com

    awesome!

    Beautifil table. Nice detailed instructions

    thx!

    Lots of work but worth it, this is beautiful great job!