A while back, I found some 12 inch by 12 inch ceramic tile, bright red, at a thrift store. I purchased a few as I have done some mosaic work and like these tiles. My first thought of how to utilize them was " make a Coca-Cola mosaic". It took awhile, but I finally got around to making the mosaic table shown in this instructable. I made a little video of the process; access it here: http://youtu.be/-4uiVME9NLs
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Step 1: Collect Tools and Materials
I had all the tools and materials needed as I have done other mosaic projects in the past. Basic tools include: tile nippers, hammer, glass scorer/cutter, grozing pliers from stain glass work, putty knives, Dremel tool, etc. For the table itself, I chose to use a 24in. diameter piece of particle board. For the grouting process a window squeegee, a putty knife, a grouting sponge and a bucket of water are used.
Step 2: First, Prime Table Blank
I used regular latex paint to prime the table top with. This will seal and allow for better adhesion of the tile adhesive used.
Step 3: Make "Coca-Cola" Lettering on Computer
For my pattern for the lettering, I simply copied a coke sign off of the internet, pasted or inserted the image into my word processor, adjusted the size to the appropriate dimensions and then printed the images onto card stock. I sized the letters so that Coca was on one 8.5x11 in of paper, and Cola was on a second page. This way, the size I ended up with was the ideal size to fit on the 24 inch blank.
Step 4: Cut Out Lettering With Scissors
I have found that using scissors instead of a craft knife is more efficient in cutting out lettering such as this. The craft knife is necessary,however, to cut out the "o's" and "a's" centers.
Step 5: Transfer Pattern to Table Top
As shown, I used black spray paint to transfer pattern to the table top. Any colors can be used, I simply had a can of black readily available. All the priming and patterns will be covered with the mosaic tiles.
Step 6: Test Tile Cutting Skill
In order to see if I would be able to form my tiles into the pattern needed, I did a test run on a piece of paper. I wasn't sure how effective the tiles would be, but my test showed that it was indeed, viable.
Step 7: Smash, Cut, Form Tile Pieces As Needed
To form my pieces, I used a combination of cutting, smashing, and grinding to make the tile pieces fit. To cut means to score with a glass cutting tool, and snapping the scored piece off. Grozing pliers and or regular pliers can be used for this task. Take care not to damage the surface of your tiles. To smash the tiles, I used a masons pointed hammer and placed the tile on the garage floor. You need a very solid backing to do this, meaning a table top is not a good place to smash ceramic tile. A little tap is usually sufficient to break off small pieces, and care must be taken to protect your eyes. SAFETY GLASSES MUST BE WORN WHEN WORKING WITH CERAMIC TILE! A few of my pieces had to be ground to fit with a diamond bit in my dremel tool.
Step 8: Start Laying Out All Pieces
Now the fun part! I made all the pieces for "Coca-Cola" first, using white ceramic tile and cutting as described above. All of these pieces are placed onto my pattern. This can take some time, so patience is a virtue at this point!
Step 9: Glue Pieces to Table Top
After I was satisfied with my tile pieces, and their placement, I went back and glued them into place. A tile mastic was used and it is simply a matter of applying a good amount of adhesive to the back of each piece. The tile with mastic is placed in positon, twisted as pressure is applied,and pieces are kept at the same level, as much as possible.
Step 10: "Sign" Your Piece
I was challenged to add my name as an artist signs their work. Not sure I could at first, but found I could form very small pieces of the tile and indeed, make my signature.
Step 11: Add All Surrounding Red Tile Pieces
This is the bulk of the work to be done as there are many many pieces. I broke the sessions up, not working more than an hour or two at a time. I would break up my tile, a little at a time, and glue these in place as I went. Seemed like this was the best way to do it. Butter each piece, put in place, twist a little while putting pressure on the piece....done!
Step 12: Keep Edge Pieces Separate
While breaking my red tiles I separated all edge pieces as these are rounded over and would be used on the outer edge of my table top. This will give it a more professional finish and no edge treatment will be necessary.
Step 13: After at Least 24 Hours, Grout the Table Top
A day after applying all the tile pieces, I could proceed with the grouting. I chose a black sanded grout and the process is shown in the pictures. I used a regular window squeegee, a putty knife, a grouting sponge and a bucket of water in this process.
Step 14: Clean Excess Grout From Surfaces
When you first do a mosaic piece and you apply the grout, you worry that you'll never get it cleaned off. But rest assured, the process os cleaning is very effective and will be successful. Excess grout is squeegeed off as much as possible, then a damp sponge is used to wipe remaining grout off. You can wait 10 or 15 minutes to do this wiping, the goal being to leave grout in the spaces between tiles but not leavean excess. A light haze on the tiles is to be expected, but this will clean up in subsequent wipings with a soft, dry, clean cloth.
Step 15: Let Grout Dry for 24 HRS or More, Then Finish
Do some final buffing and when entirely cured a grout sealer can be used to protect from moisture and seal the grout lines. Follow directions of manufacturer to do this.
Step 16: Mount Table Top on an Appropriate Stand
I had a vintage stand on hand that was already a red color, so used that as my table base.
Step 17: Kick Back, Have a Coke, and Enjoy!
Find a place for your table...it can be placed on a covered patio, or in the house as needed.
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