Picture of The Starry Night Mosaic Table
The Starry Night.jpg

Many years ago, shiannejessica told me she would very much like to make a tile mosaic on a coffee table, using Vincent Van Gogh's "The Starry Night" as inspiration.  Being of the DIY persuasion, I proceeded to build her a "coffee table" that Christmas, with the promise that we'd make a trip one of these days to the tile store so she could create her vision.  I put coffee table in quotes, as the table I built her is nearly three feet tall, five feet long, and two and a half feet wide.  My friend, Loren actually talked me down, my original dimensions were more like four foot by six foot.  I have a very bad spatial sense sometimes.

For a variety of reasons, we never actually made the mosaic.  We still have the ridiculous coffee table, which actually sees a lot of use though not for it's intended purpose.  The idea of finishing the table by adding the mosaic has been floated a number of times, but we just never seem to get around to it.

This Christmas, in a moment of inspiration Shianne suggested that we build a new, more reasonably sized table, build a mosaic in it, and give it to my sister-in-law, Michelle as a gift.  This would be an end table rather than an oversized coffee table.  It seemed ambitious and there was a deadline looming, so I of course hopped to it and started building the table!  Shianne and our daughter India both helped out with that part, then Shianne made the mosaic itself, with India taking great joy in smashing tiles and plates for the mosaic shards.  It was a lot of hard work and fun, and a labor of love from our family to Michelle and her family.  

We learned a lot from the process, and the result is beautiful and has drawn a lot of compliments.  Here we'll share with you our methods, our thoughts, and some advice on pitfalls to avoid should you attempt something like this!  

To start off, here's a quick video about the basics:

Van Gogh is my favorite Artist, you did a superb job of this top to bottom.
depotdevoid (author)  rosewood5131 year ago
Thanks a lot, this was one of my favorite projects of all time!
wow this is one of my favorite paintings :)
maybe i might do something like this one day its very cool
depotdevoid (author)  AussieAnglerGal2 years ago
I'd love to see the results if you do!
depotdevoid (author)  porcupinemamma3 years ago
Thank you, we're very proud of it!
Love it! A Starry Night mosaic patio table has been in my "future projects" file for ages. Maybe a scaled-down end table version would be a more manageable project. Same for all of the koi table mosaics I've drawn on paper but haven't actually made.
depotdevoid (author)  CatTrampoline3 years ago
Thanks, and I'd love to see the results if you do build one, whether it's Starry Night or your own drawing!
rae darr3 years ago
I saw this in person. so very cool. a great table for use as well.
depotdevoid (author)  rae darr3 years ago
Thanks rae darr!
tinker2343 years ago
wow amazing one of my favorite painting s you've got my vote
depotdevoid (author)  tinker2343 years ago
maltesergr83 years ago
Wow... I was totally blown away by the amazing video you put together! Amazing work you've all done!

I'd truly be honored to have a table this beautiful in my home!

depotdevoid (author)  maltesergr83 years ago
Thanks Beth, glad you liked it!
bajablue3 years ago
Imperfections add to the charm that embraces homemade projects!

Beautiful work!
depotdevoid (author)  bajablue3 years ago
Thanks bajablue! I know I'd rather have something homemade and imperfect over something flawless and mass produced.
tekaka3 years ago
nice idea painting-mosaic
never thought about that
thank you
I did some mosaics aswell
happy new year

depotdevoid (author)  tekaka3 years ago
Those are very pretty, thanks for sharing them!
jaydoo983 years ago
That clear-coat epoxy is the bee's knees. I made a similar item using different colors of aquarium gravel to build a 3 koi and lily pad design (buy solid single color gravel, trying to separate multicolored gravel becuase it is cheaper is 6 days you are never going to get back). The epoxy filled the spaces between the stones, held them in place, and made a shining "water surface" type finish.

A tip for the bubbles, buy a small propane or butane torch and "paint over" the surface of the epoxy every 15 minutes for about 2 hours. Each time you pass over a bubble with the torch, it will pop and the torch has heated the surface just enough to allow the epoxy to fill-in the small space where the bubble was.

Alternatively, mix the epoxy in a pail-like container with a handle across the top. After you have mixed the epoxy, swing the pail around in a circle quite fast for about 1 minute. The bubbles are forced to the surface and will easily pop before you pour. You are still left with some larger bubbles after you pour from under and around your pieces.

Great project.
depotdevoid (author)  jaydoo983 years ago
Thanks for the advice jaydoo. We're considering making another one for someone else (using a different Van Gogh painting), so I may have a chance to try out your anti-bubble suggestions!
How did you do that!!!!! I tried to do that in art class because we were learning about Van Gogh and I FAILED!
paqrat3 years ago
Beautiful mosaic. I read many years ago the speculation that the halos around the stars in the painting might have been symptoms of an eye problem. I think cataracts was mentioned. At the time I read that I don't think they had conclusive proof. I don't know if more recently more may have been found out about whether he had eye problems or not.
depotdevoid (author)  paqrat3 years ago
Thanks Paqrat!

I think I'd heard that thing about the cataracts too, but I went out and read a few web pages about this painting and I didn't see anything about it. Maybe it's one of those theories someone had, but there's no real way to test it so it's never made it to the mainstream.
ChrysN3 years ago
Nicely done, that table looks great!
depotdevoid (author)  ChrysN3 years ago
Thanks, we're very proud of it!
mikeasaurus3 years ago
This looks so great, Ian! Handmade gift are the best, your friend is lucky.
Any reason you used an epoxy over a traditional thinset mortar?
depotdevoid (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
Thanks Mike!

We went with the epoxy surface mainly because of the irregular thicknesses and sometimes curving shapes of the tile and plate shards. We used a thinset style adhesive to stick them to the backing board, but covered it all with epoxy resin.