Introduction: Designing Your Mosaic Floor

About: KanPo Studios is a mixed media studio where its foundation is to experiment new ideas in techniques applications and promote and encourage others to create art with their hands, minds, and hearts !

Hello everyone. A couple months ago my wife and I decided to install a brand new floor to an old house we recently purchased.

A custom made mosaic floor.

We hope this project will motivate anyone into a remodel of a floor . . .

Step 1:

. . . One step at a time.

Step 2:

This was the bedroom of a married couple in their 80s. They raised a family in this house for 30 years.

Step 3:

My wife and I will have a different function for it.

Step 4:

It will be a library room with a spectacular custom made mosaic floor, wine/liquor bar closet and a custom made wall to wall bookcase.

Step 5:

Living in the tropics, our design needed a water theme related to our natural environment.

Step 6:

Astronomy and a river were our choices. I love astronomy and my wife, as a child, had a river for a backyard. Some people are so lucky. A river for a backyard. Wow !

Step 7:

We've designed the sun with 15 rays. Inside the sun will be the water planet - Earth.

By the way , this mosaic floor will sit on a concrete floor. Those foot square tiles are the originals.

Step 8:

To test the overall size circle placement on the floor with the future placement of bookcase, chairs, we made sure that when walking into this room the sun burst circle will be smack in the middle.

The small square tiles represent the earth's crust. The center round circle represent energy.

Step 9:

Since time is not of the essence, we went the old fashion way (the traditional method), tile by tile by tile by tile !

Step 10:

Our technical support crew for the installation from left to right are :
* Aranis Bayou
* Katness Everdeen and
* Juno Akemi
Thank you girls for being our north star.

Step 11:

Cut and glue. Cut and glue. Coffee break. Tile nippers at local home centers.

Safety is our number one priority.
Use safety glasses.

Step 12:

The fish design are based on the kois from Japan. They represent longevity, prosperity, and purity.

Step 13:

Ten fishes : "The Power of Ten" is a term extremely related to the science of astronomy.

Step 14:

A good design is strongly recommended. We need to see our errors on paper - not when tiles are cut.

Step 15:

The glass pebbles are from your local crafting store. We'll use blue, clear and opaque for Earth.

Step 16:

The tiles for the kois will be multi colored. Ladies if you want to protect your hands use comfortable safety gloves.

Step 17:

The Boston Terrier is iron-casted. Has been in the family for 30+ years. Our door stopper and I "stole" it from my mom. Sorry mom !

Step 18:

The fractured tiles are ready to be glued to the wall.

Step 19:

The foundation tiles represent "The Ring of Fire" in honor of Chile and its wonderful people.

This is a great angle shot where you can see the height of the pebbles and tiles.

Step 20:

The Ring of Fire are completely set on this wall.

Step 21:

The craft paper represent the sketches for the local flora and fauna like the eternal benefactors . . .

Step 22:

The dragonflies, butterflies, and the ever beautiful, Isabel Segunda, a local flowering plant.

Step 23:

The commencement of the water planet. To avoid a blotchy pattern, set the pebbles apart by at least a 1/4 inch .

Step 24:

Placement of pebbles within the circle is easier to place tiles around the pebbles than vice versa. It's impossible to cut pebbles by hand.

Step 25:

Notice the blending of colors and transparency among the pebbles.

Step 26:

Pebbles are always align outside the line drawings.

Step 27:

See how nicely and easily the tiles are cut around the pebbles.

Step 28:

The fluidity among the fish line drawings here is worth its merit when designing it on paper. Drawings plans has its purposes.

Step 29:

All the side and dorsal fins are completed.

Step 30:

A close up of one of the kois.

Step 31:

A word on floor tile selections and meaning of tile graphics when viewed in home centers.

Step 32:

Sanded grout with polymer is used when the spaces between the tiles are 1/8 of an inch to 1-1/2 inches wide.

Step 33:

Not all tools and accessories look the same but these are the usual suspects usually seen at the scene.

Step 34:

The grout has been prepared and is applied to the tiles and pebbles.

Step 35:

The completed grouted circle.

Step 36:

Why do the pebbles looks mudded and cloudy ?

Oh No !

What happened here ? !

Step 37:

Don't despair, Savoir Faire is here.
All I need is Malamutt by my side.

Step 38:

The black grout is making the crystal pebbles go thru a dirty snowball effect.

A clean up is needed.

Step 39:

Here is where the patience of a saint kicks in. The artisan needs to clean very individual pebble. You really need a wire brush.

Because I was to damn lazy and late in the afternoon to get a wire brush at a local home center.

Your mind starts to drift away at looking at so many pebbles so close to your face.

Where is that coffee !

Artisans sometimes are so stubborn !

Step 40:

Ok, let's get back on track.
The pebbles on the right side of the photo has been cleaned.

Notice the absense of knee pads - Sometimes you simply forget about them.

Thank you Malamutt for keeping me on track.

Step 41:

Here's a close up view of muddy crystal pebbles.

Step 42:

And another close up after the cleansing process.
Ah - That's better.

Step 43:

The inner circle at this point has been completed. The next step will be to work on the background theme.

Step 44:

The sketches for the flora and fauna. To skip this step of sketching, you can draw them directly . . .

Step 45:

. . . on the floor like this.

Step 46:

The satisfaction of craftsmanship in human society is as old as intellectual thought.

Step 47:

At this point, we are done with the design process. By now, you have a general idea where the flora and fauna might go. Off we go to the next phase.

Step 48:

Here we have the first of many dragonflies and Isabel Segundas.

Step 49:

The butterfly looking its best for the cameras. Always making a fashion statement.

Step 50:

Here's an inset of an actual Isabel Segunda flower. They come in different colors also.

Step 51:

General layout on the placement of the dragonflies, butterflies and the Isabel Segundas.

Step 52:

The cutting and gluing of background tiles.

Step 53:

The background has been designed to represent a 24 hour day cycle.

Step 54:

Night is represented in the dark tile, the blue grey is the beginning of dawn, and the yellow tile is the day.

Step 55:

Home Depot has a tile design with three different shades of colors on one tile. This is the tile you see here. Save money every which way you can !

Step 56:

Here's a photo showing the day in three parts : night - dawn - day.

Step 57:

Because the nature of tiling floors is painstaking, I cut the metal legs from an old table as low as possible to the floor.

Step 58:

Making it easier on your back and knees when gluing, I cut the chair legs down as low as possible.

Think of it as a ceramic jigsaw puzzle : you pick from the table, paste the tile and place it on the floor all while sitting down !

Step 59:

The mosaic floor will have a black grout which will provide a great contrast among the tiles and also represent the dark matter in the universe.

Long live Dr. Stephen Hawkings.

Step 60:

The finished mosaic floor before the grout application. That dark abysmal area on the upper left is where the walk-in closet for the liquor bar will be.

Step 61:

The beginning of a cloudy day.

Step 62:

With a chance of showers.

Step 63:

The resurrection of a tiled floor.

Step 64:

Here's the mess behind the magic of a successful mosaic floor.

From the library room you walk into this open air terrace. That is, after I get rid of all this mess. Hah !

Step 65:

After weeks of hard work the complete mosaic floor finished with a complementary color band above the fractured tiles. It represent the world's oceans.

Malamutt, of course, always the guardian.

Step 66:

The Alexandria Library
at El Mirador Residence.

Is named after the largest and most significant library in the ancient world.

It has become a symbol of " knowledge and culture destroyed. "

Step 67:

. . . But first, we need special bookcases .

Thank you instructable makers for your time and attention.

See ya in the next instructable !

Concrete and Casting Contest

Second Prize in the
Concrete and Casting Contest