Introduction: How to Use Craft Foam As Ceramic Tile!

Picture of How to Use Craft Foam As Ceramic Tile!

Did you know that you can use the foam craft sheets as faux tiles? After a suggestion was made by scoochmaroo, I decided to try this.  It's a fun way to make decorative items for the office, home and shop.  You can cover tin cans, small cardboard boxes, or even use them in mosaic art!  Not that we don't have enough to do as it is. But it is a project that is well suited to children, or the child in all of us.  Cutting the foam may be too dangerous for small children as razor edges are used. So be mindful at all times regardless of your age.  So far I have only cut myself once, and that was reaching for a new blade in a box that wasn't secured properly.  Live and learn!

Step 1: Supplies Needed

Picture of Supplies Needed

First, you need the foamie sheets.  Glue, both regular white glue and the tacky stuff work well. I use spray adhesive, following their directions, to glue the images onto the can or box, but the white glue works, just takes a little longer to dry.  I use a box cutter to cut the foam sheets into tiles, and scissors to cut out clip art images.  After gluing onto a can or box, or sheet if doing mosaics, the project is grouted using regular grout. I tried both sanded and non sanded, colored and plain white, and found the best use was from the unsanded white.

Step 2: Cut the "Tiles"

Picture of Cut the "Tiles"

Shown is a simple "jig" I made to place a smaller piece of foam on, and be able to reproduce the same size of tile.  For clip art images, copy your source, then either hold it very tightly as you cut with scissors, or glue the image onto the foam. I used spray adhesive to do that, and the paper is easily removed when completed.

Step 3: Start Gluing Tiles And/or Image to Your Object

Picture of Start Gluing Tiles And/or Image to Your Object

No special preparation is needed for cans or boxes. I originally thought it would be better to prime the surface, but found that is not the case.  Saves a little time in prep.

Step 4: When Dry, Grout

Picture of When Dry, Grout

Mix grout as recommended by the manufacturer.  I like to make it just a little "runny" to give better control and ease in getting the grout into the open spaces.  Go around the entire can, smoothing the grout with the applicator. When it has sat for 30 minutes or so, go over the surface with a damp sponge, removing as much grout as possible from the tiles/images.  Be careful to not remove grout from the grout lines.

Step 5: Let Sit Overnight, Then Do a Final Cleaning

Picture of Let Sit Overnight, Then Do a Final Cleaning

After drying completely, take the sponge and wipe off any remaining haze.  If a lot of grout is left over, a stiff brush (toothbrush, denture brush) can be used to clean it off. Be careful again, to not remove grout from the grout lines. 

Step 6: Use Completed Item/Gallery

Picture of Use Completed Item/Gallery

After a final cleaning, the tile art will accept a coat or more of polyurethane varnish. This will make the tiles look like real ceramic tile.  That choice is yours. Then you can use your art piece as organizers for art supplies, pens, pencils, etc.  I used the square box "planter" to display some roses as shown.

Comments

DawnS148 (author)2017-04-25

Hi!

Great idea! If I start with a metal can, do you think it will hold up for use as a vase (put water in)? I'm thinking about using this idea to make unbreakable vases to donate to a hospital.

Thanks!

Creativeman (author)DawnS1482017-04-25

Thanks DawnS148; No, the cans tend to rust out and leak very quickly (a week or two) so I would not recommend doing that. Why not use the paper/cloth flowers, and then the whole unit becomes a permanent display? See How to Make Paper Roses/Flowers on this site.

Cendrinne (author)2015-07-09

That is genius:)

msjamiep (author)2012-04-25

You are truly very talented! I love these tin cans covered with the faux mosaic tiles. They look so real that I would have never guessed they were faux tiles or even tin cans for that matter!!! I can not wait to make a few of these of my own. I hope that it's okay, I just could NOT resist featuring your tin cans on a tin can craft round-up I just finished. You can see it here:

http://jamiebrock.hubpages.com/hub/cute-clever-tin-can-craft-projects

Thank you so much for sharing this :)

Creativeman (author)msjamiep2012-04-26

Thanks jamie...hope you have made a few projects...any pictures?

pearsonchick (author)2010-03-15

 This is a great idea!
Do you think it would hold up to do a small backsplash for a bathroom? I have about 5" to "tile" and was tossing up doing a mosaic of painted squares...but this would be so much cooler!

I would like to do that too. Would I glue the foam tiles right to the wall?

Creativeman (author)pearsonchick2010-03-15

I think it would work. I would seal it with maybe 3 coats of polyurethane, water based. Then when you cleaned it, be careful not to really scrub.  would be a lot cheaper and easier, too!  Let me know how it comes out. Cman

janacow2 (author)2010-12-27

I really like the roses! Did you make them, too? Would love to see how, if so

rhansrider (author)2010-03-21

There is a fun techiquence for craft foam which gives the foam a leather look.  Just lightly run a heat gun over the foam from several inches away.  The foam with contract and "pebble", giving a leather look.

Swapnali Patil (author)2010-02-22

Amazing peice of artwork !!! Good for gifting !!!

Thanks! Cman

Mehehehful (author)2010-01-16

Couldn't you just modgepodge over the 'tiles'? I dunno I'm probably wrong lol

woowho (author)2009-12-29

these flowers are sooo beautiful! i'll be trying them soon and sending you a pic of my results! thanks!

rimar2000 (author)2009-12-19

Very nice, but to do something as this, you have to have artistic sense.

If I try it, I'll do something ridiculous!!

Creativeman (author)rimar20002009-12-20

Thanks rimar....sometimes I think the same thing, and then I say...do it anyway! Cman

hitman_kiwi (author)2009-12-19

 This is really interesting, I agree with Nizerbean some crafts these days are really dumbed down. But this one has an amazing outcome, and with the grout it really looks like a tile mosaic. Nice Job!

Creativeman (author)hitman_kiwi2009-12-20

Thanks hitman. Cman

Ninzerbean (author)2009-12-18

I like how you were able to fit "Merry Christmas" on the can. This looks to be an amazingly original project to do with children. The outcome is worth keeping forever unlike some projects geared for kids that are so dumbed down. Great job.

0jack (author)Ninzerbean2009-12-19

 I totally agree with this.  I'm looking forward to trying to 'tile' foam core boards with a 'flagstones' to make some gaming accessories.  (My partner found a pattern for a foamcore "dice tower" for rolling dice, and I think it would look 100x cooler as a CASTLE.)

Thanks so much for taking the time to show how it works!

Creativeman (author)0jack2009-12-20

Sounds cool. let us see when you're done! Cman

Creativeman (author)Ninzerbean2009-12-18

Thanks Ninzer! Cman

About This Instructable

35,342views

96favorites

License:

Bio: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.
More by Creativeman:How to Make Fairy Doors/Fairylands and Open Up a Whole New World!SKULL STAND(S) FOR BUDDING ARTISTSThe Art Of Reclaiming Oak Flooring:Upcycling Shop Workstand
Add instructable to: