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
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 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
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
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
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!