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How to Tile a Small Table Top With Your Own Ceramic Tiles

  • February 24, 2015
  • Other

Thriftdiving
Thriftdiving
Thriftdiving
Thriftdiving

I'm a huge believer that inspiration strikes at any time--even in public bathrooms at your favorite restaurant! Some time ago I was struck with inspiration at a Latin restaurant near my old job and wanted to recreate the ceramic wall tiles from that bathroom. The little side table that my grandfather gave to me a couple years ago was the perfect canvas to do so. I used the same pattern from the wall tile, and with permanent marker, created the same look on cheapie 16 cent white ceramic tiles from Home Depot. Using my Ryobi wet tile saw, I trimmed the tiles to fit the top of the table, adhering them with tile adhesive. And then used a crystal clear enamel to "set" the design. Then I used my Ryobi brad nailer to adhere the wood trim molding to cover the sides of the tiles. The table was painted in a decorative black chalk paint, then waxed with clear wax.

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  1. Project Steps

    1. Step: 1

      This small side table belonged to my grandfather and was handmade in my small hometown in Maryland years ago when he bought it. It was in rough shape when I received it, but heavy and sturdy. I knew it would make a great addition somewhere in my home.

    2. Step: 2

      One of my favorite Latin restaurant's bathrooms inspired me. I LOVED the tile and wanted to re-create the look, along with the metal of the ceiling. I knew Pappy's table would be perfect, especially since it already had a little inset on the top.

    3. Step: 3

      A close-up of the tile. I knew I could achieve the same look with cheap ceramic tiles from the Home Depot for 16 cents, along with permanent marker.

    4. Step: 4

      I created my own stack of tiles....

    5. Step: 5

      ......BUT..... herein lies the problem: I didn't know I should bake the tiles to "set" the permanent marker!! EEK! I figured "permanent" meant PERMANENT. I know...don't judge. Not the smartest decision. While trimming the tiles with my Ryobi wet tile saw, all the marker smudged off. LESSON LEARNED: Place the tiles in the oven before it heats up and leave it in until the oven cools completely so there won't be any cracks.

    6. Step: 6

      I used a tile adhesive on the top.

    7. Step: 7

      I carefully laid all the tile on the top, pushing them gently to adhere them to the table top. Then I used a wet towel and wiped the smudged marker off, starting fresh.

    8. Step: 8

      Then I grouted with non-sanded grout and a float.

    9. Step: 9

      When the grout was partially dry, I used a wet tile sponge and gently removed the remaining grout, cleaning and buffing off the haze when it was dry.

    10. Step: 10

      I re-drew the design with permanent marker, sprayed it lightly with a clear enamel (being careful not to over-spray or the design will run). Then I used my Ryobi brad nailer to adhere wood trim molding around the outside of the tile to hide the edge of the tile. I used a simple miter box to cut 45 degree angles of the wood trim, since it was such a small cut.

    11. Step: 11

      The wood trim molding now hides the edge of the tile.

    12. Step: 12

      The table turned out fantastic, despite all the blunders! I used a shiny metal vase to further pull from the metal in the tin ceilings from the original inspiration of the restaurant bathroom.

    13. Step: 13

      I love how it looks nice! I was worried it would be a total bust. But I guess DIY is like that sometimes, huh? :) For more projects, find me at ThriftDiving.com!

Comments (8)


  • beautiful!! Love this!
    By lbugarin1, on March 5, 2015

  • It turned out beautiful. I am going to have to borrow your idea. ;-)
    By mar99, on March 5, 2015

  • Great piece. I love this table. I would love to learn how to do tile work.
    By lsuriecraw, on March 5, 2015

  • Love It and designing your own pattern on the tile!
    By ahoefle, on March 5, 2015

  • Beautiful!
    By ahoefle, on March 6, 2015

  • Awesome turn out! I'm going to have to do this soon!
    By Cjsaldana81, on March 7, 2015

  • Terrific and resourceful repurposing. Really nice. Gave me inspiration to revive a similar piece in basement. I will use your technique. Very nice =)
    By SSH, on March 12, 2015

  • Thanks for all the great comments, everyone! ~Serena @ Thrift Diving
    By Thriftdiving, on March 13, 2015

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How to Tile a Small Table Top With Your Own Ceramic Tiles

by Thriftdiving
Feb 24, 2015

I'm a huge believer that inspiration strikes at any time--even in public bathrooms at your favorite restaurant! Some time ago I was struck with inspiration at a Latin restaurant near my old job and wanted to recreate the ceramic wall tiles from that bathroom. The little side table that my grandfather gave to me a couple years ago was the perfect canvas to do so. I used the same pattern from the wall tile, and with permanent marker, created the same look on cheapie 16 cent white ceramic tiles from Home Depot. Using my Ryobi wet tile saw, I trimmed the tiles to fit the top of the table, adhering them with tile adhesive. And then used a crystal clear enamel to "set" the design. Then I used my Ryobi brad nailer to adhere the wood trim molding to cover the sides of the tiles. The table was painted in a decorative black chalk paint, then waxed with clear wax.

Project Steps

  1. Step: 1

    This small side table belonged to my grandfather and was handmade in my small hometown in Maryland years ago when he bought it. It was in rough shape when I received it, but heavy and sturdy. I knew it would make a great addition somewhere in my home.

  2. Step: 2

    One of my favorite Latin restaurant's bathrooms inspired me. I LOVED the tile and wanted to re-create the look, along with the metal of the ceiling. I knew Pappy's table would be perfect, especially since it already had a little inset on the top.

  3. Step: 3

    A close-up of the tile. I knew I could achieve the same look with cheap ceramic tiles from the Home Depot for 16 cents, along with permanent marker.

  4. Step: 4

    I created my own stack of tiles....

  5. Step: 5

    ......BUT..... herein lies the problem: I didn't know I should bake the tiles to "set" the permanent marker!! EEK! I figured "permanent" meant PERMANENT. I know...don't judge. Not the smartest decision. While trimming the tiles with my Ryobi wet tile saw, all the marker smudged off. LESSON LEARNED: Place the tiles in the oven before it heats up and leave it in until the oven cools completely so there won't be any cracks.

  6. Step: 6

    I used a tile adhesive on the top.

  7. Step: 7

    I carefully laid all the tile on the top, pushing them gently to adhere them to the table top. Then I used a wet towel and wiped the smudged marker off, starting fresh.

  8. Step: 8

    Then I grouted with non-sanded grout and a float.

  9. Step: 9

    When the grout was partially dry, I used a wet tile sponge and gently removed the remaining grout, cleaning and buffing off the haze when it was dry.

  10. Step: 10

    I re-drew the design with permanent marker, sprayed it lightly with a clear enamel (being careful not to over-spray or the design will run). Then I used my Ryobi brad nailer to adhere wood trim molding around the outside of the tile to hide the edge of the tile. I used a simple miter box to cut 45 degree angles of the wood trim, since it was such a small cut.

  11. Step: 11

    The wood trim molding now hides the edge of the tile.

  12. Step: 12

    The table turned out fantastic, despite all the blunders! I used a shiny metal vase to further pull from the metal in the tin ceilings from the original inspiration of the restaurant bathroom.

  13. Step: 13

    I love how it looks nice! I was worried it would be a total bust. But I guess DIY is like that sometimes, huh? :) For more projects, find me at ThriftDiving.com!