Introduction: How to Use Craft Foam As Ceramic Tile!

About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

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

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"

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

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

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

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

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.

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