Mosaic Masterpiece: Design Your Own Tiled Statement Table | Bronwyn Tarboton | Skillshare

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Mosaic Masterpiece: Design Your Own Tiled Statement Table

teacher avatar Bronwyn Tarboton, Home Decor DIYer and Actor

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Prepping Your Tiles


    • 4.

      Creating Your Design


    • 5.

      Finishing With Grout


    • 6.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Transform broken tiles, glass, or ceramics into a functional and fashionable home decor piece!

If you had told Bronwyn Tarboton a few years ago that she would become a home decor DIYer, she would’ve laughed it off. As a Broadway performer the only craft she felt qualified for was acting. Then, during the pandemic things changed when some extra time in her schedule unleashed her inner upcycler. With a desire to fix up her home without breaking the bank, Bronwyn used found, broken, and pre-loved items to turn what others viewed as trash into treasured items. Now Bronwyn shares her DIY tips and tricks with tens of thousands of other creative novices on social media as @nyctrashtotreasures. Today, Bronwyn guides you through recreating her most popular and eye-catching upcycling project: a mosaic statement table. 

In this project-based class you’ll learn how to:

  • Make something new from materials you already have
  • Cut your tiles into their ideal size and shapes
  • Grout your project easily
  • Design an inexpensive statement piece

Plus, Bronwyn shares her strategy for finding her favorite materials for free!

By the end of class, you’ll learn exactly how to transform cracked, broken, or leftover materials into intricate and Instagram-worthy pieces. Whether you’re a DIY newbie or a seasoned pro, with an artform as a unique mosaic you’re sure to end with a completely original piece every time!

In this class, Bronwyn uses a table she already had, but the design possibilities are endless so feel free to use any piece of furniture, tray, or home décor item you have on hand. Whatever you choose, you’ll need a hammer, glue, grout, and floor tiles or another material like glass. For a refresher on essential techniques or for more project ideas, explore Bronwyn’s full DIY Decor Learning Path.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Bronwyn Tarboton

Home Decor DIYer and Actor


Bronwyn Tarboton, the creative behind the Instagram handle NYC Trash to Treasures, certainly never imagined she would become a DIY expert. But when the pandemic hit, Bronwyn, who had been managing a busy Broadway acting career, found herself out of work with a lot of time on her hands. Soon, she turned her attention to improving her apartment but since she had a minimal budget, she found herself searching the streets of Manhattan for free furniture that she would fix up herself. Before long, she had run out of space in her home and started selling her pieces online for profit.

Now, if you visit her instagram page you'll be able to buy lightly refurbished items and stunning pieces that have been completely transformed by Bronw... See full profile

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1. Introduction: I think it's because the mosaics look pretty intricate when you're finished. People think that they're really complicated to make, but they're actually one of the more straightforward projects that are pretty hard to mess up. I'm Bronwyn Tarboton, home decor, DIYer, and content creator. I also happen to be a Broadway performer who taught myself upcycling during the pandemic. Now, my social handle, nyctrashtotreasurers has over 40,000 followers and my highly curated trash, as I call it, has been featured in print and TV. In this class, we'll be learning my absolute favorite technique, mosaicing. I know it sounds fancy, but trust me, you are going to be shocked with how simple this process is. I've done this on trees, tables, planters, bar cards, and even wall frames. The possibilities are pretty endless, but for today, we'll be making a tabletop. In the end, it will look expensive, but I'm going to show you how cheap and easy it is to make in just four simple steps. First, we'll break our tiles into smaller pieces, lay them out to create the design, attach them to the table and fill in the gaps with grout. You should take this class if you're looking to learn a fun and unique way to create a statement piece from something broken that you might already have around. Let's get started. 2. Getting Started: Welcome. Thank you for joining me for my tile mosaic class. If you were to ask me which of my projects get the most positive comments from family, friends, and followers, I would have to say it's my mosaic ones. They've become a signature of mine and are definitely my favorite. So I'm excited to share this process with you. The technique is super versatile and can be used to create gifts, wall art or Sheikh pieces of furniture, but it's inexpensive and fun to do. I love to create mosaics because you can use things that are cracked, broken or left over to create something that looks amazing and is totally one-of-a-kind. Today, I'm going to walk you through four simple steps to create a mosaic tabletop out of a handful of leftover floor tiles. The whole process takes under an hour and once you have it down, you'll be tempted to mosaic every surface of your house just like I am. The first thing you'll need is a table or a flat surface with a lip around the edge. I recommend something that has this raised rim because it makes finishing the edge so much easier. I'm using this table I grabbed at my local thrift store for $10, but you can also buy the same design for $30 from most online retailers, if you'd like to follow along using the same exact piece. One variation I'd like to offer for this class is to use a cheap tray. As long as it has a lip or raised edge, then you're good to go. Next, you'll need to choose your tiles. I'm going for a terrazzo look, so I'm using three colors of large floor tiles left over from another project. But you can also buy these at any large hardware store. You really can use any type of tiles or hard material for this. I've used glass from broken lamps, broken dishes, small bathroom tiles. You can even order broken glass or boxes of tiles online. I suggest for this table using materials that are flat and all the same thickness to keep it level. If you want to follow along exactly with me, I would get large floor tiles in three different colors. The other tools you'll need are a hammer, glue, and grout. Let's start preparing the table for our mosaic. See you in the next lesson. 3. Prepping Your Tiles: [MUSIC] Let's talk about choosing your supplies for this project. You'll need something to work on and then tiles to create your mosaic design. I'm going to be creating a mosaic tabletop. This is just the top of my table. It's a standard tray table. This is just the tray that sits on top of the legs. The reason this is a great beginner mosaic project is because it's a fairly small surface, and it has a really clear lip around the edge. If you want to start small, you can pick up a $1 tray, just like this. It gives you a great, small mosaic space to work on. For choosing your tiles for this project, there are so many options. I really suggest basing it around whatever you can get your hands on. Once you start keeping your eyes open for things like leftover tiles and broken tiles, you will start to see them everywhere because people use them for their projects and no one knows what to do with the leftovers. This was a half used box of tiles that I found on my curb. This is a piece that I broke out of a lamp that someone was getting rid of. This was a broken plate. I think I spotted it in the recycling, and I grabbed it because I like the design. These are pieces that I took off of a broken mirror that I found on my curb. These circular ones are from an extra sheet of tiles that I saw in a dumpster. I love tiles, so I always grab them. These are from someone in my, I think, Facebook group. They were getting rid of them. People know I love to mosaic, so they offered them to me. These were extra tiles. I think they were retiling in my building, and they had some extras after, so I grabbed them. You can also look in thrift stores for something that you could break. The things that I would look at are the size of your piece. The smaller the tile is, the more of them you're going to have to glue. Just to make it easier on yourself, if you're going to use really small tiles, I'd go with the small piece. If you're doing a big piece, maybe use bigger tiles. It will look cool if you use small tiles, it will just take a lot longer. You want to make sure that, for a table, you're using tiles that are all the same or similar depths, because otherwise, your table won't be flat. If you're doing it on something like a tray or something that isn't heavily used, you can have more fun with it and use beads, and it doesn't really matter if it's completely flat. People ask me all the time how I get the specific shapes that I use for the design. I like to either go with the shape that's already there or I just break the pieces, and use that shape to make the design. If you want to create a very specific shape, you can get a tile cutter which will easily cut on a specific spot. You can also use a wire cutter which will cut it but just not quite as specifically. For my design, I'm going to use floor tiles in a couple different colors. I'm going to create a terrazzo type design, which is really fun because you don't have to have any specific shapes or a certain pattern. We're just going to use the broken tiles to fit together and create a cool look. If you're starting fresh with large tiles, you'll need to break them into smaller pieces. I usually do this on my floor with a tarp down, and I use a hammer. Today, we're doing it on a table with a cutting board. My tile is already broken because I found these on the curb, but you can do this same exact thing with a fresh tile. I usually don't wear goggles, but feel free to wear safety goggles, close your eyes, wear some sunglasses. Just protect yourself in case any bits go flying places. Lay your tile out, and we're going to smash it. That's all there is to it. [NOISE] There we go. [NOISE] If I wasn't doing this on camera, I would definitely do this on the floor on a tarp, and I wouldn't hold your tile while you hammer. Once your tiles are broken small enough for you to use them, we're going to create the design. I will see you for that in the next lesson. [MUSIC] 4. Creating Your Design: [MUSIC] We have your broken pieces or your tiles, and now we're going to create your design and glue it down. From mine, I'm going for that terrazzo look. I'm using three different colors. You can really use any color for this. You could do it all in one color. You could use two. I'm going to try using three colors, and evenly spacing them out. If you're really brave, you can just put your pieces down and glue them. I like to create the design so that I feel good about it, and then set them down. I'm going to start just putting pieces down so that they line up with the curved edge. After we create our design, we're going to be grouting and that's going to be filling in all the gaps. We want to leave a somewhat evenly spaced gap between the tiles, that's why I like doing this because if you're doing square tiles or really clear hexagonal tiles, you'll need the gaps to be even [NOISE]. Let's do this [MUSIC]. What I'm trying to do is put the pieces together so that they look like the shapes fit together and spread the sizes out so that there aren't tons a huge pieces in one place and small on the other, and also spread the colors out so that they're evenly balanced all over the table. There's no exact method to it. You just want to keep playing around with it. I like just looking at the shape of the tail and it's like a puzzle. You can figure out a place for it to fit. It's totally okay if the gaps aren't all the same size. You just want to make sure you don't have any huge holes as you're going you might find you don't have the right shape and pieces or you don't have enough, and so you just want to go and break some more and keep doing that till you have the shapes that you need [MUSIC]. Really don't need to get fixated on the gaps, like it's all going to be filled in. Try to just let yourself go for it. Every now and then you can take a little peek back, you've got big ones here. Maybe I need some more big ones over here. This is probably the hardest part right at the end because you just want to make everything fit nice. We have the design. We made it. I could adjust mine for hours, but I'm not going to because it [LAUGHTER] looks great. I'm putting myself off. The next step is to glue the tile pieces down. I usually just use a strong glue that's going to work with whatever material you're using. That could be like a gorilla glue and E600, tile paste, super glue anything that's really strong. I'm going to try a glue gun today just because I want to speed up the process to show you the next step. But I'd suggest just using a strong glue. With the gluing, you'll just pick up each individual piece and put some glue on and then press it back down. Like if I'm making like a wall mosaic or something that's not a table. I will glue the pieces down as I go because that makes it faster and you get to skip this extra step. But I don't know for some reason on a table, I just like to see it off first and I can make adjustments at the end as needed. This glue gun seems to be working. When you're gluing your tiles, you just want to make sure that they're really securely down. Press them into your surface, and you want to make sure that the glue is dry and that they are completely fixed before you grout. When you grout, if they're not fixed, they'll start to move around, so then you'll have to pause and just make sure that they're down. I love this part of the process because the creating, the design is done. You know it's going to look good, and you can just take your time, touch each piece, glue it down so it feels really nice. [LAUGHTER]. If you find a loose piece when you're grouting, you can always just pause and glue it down. We've finished making the design, and gluing it down. Meet me in the next lesson and we will add the grout [MUSIC]. 5. Finishing With Grout: [MUSIC] It is time to finish off your table by adding some grout. The easiest way to do this is to buy premixed grout. You can get it in a tub. You can get it in the exact color that you want. You can also mix your own grout, in which case you can add in paint to make a custom color, I'm going the easy route. I bought this bucket of grout, it's in white and it's ready to go, I can dump it right on my table. Before I grout, I'm taping off the edges of the table to make sure that it's protected and I don't get any extra grout all over it. I've put my tape down and press it against the edge, I'm going to start scooping it on. Many different ways you can scoop it. I just like to use my hands, it's easiest for me and I think it feels nice, so I'm just going to grab it and then start pressing it in to all of the crevices. I think they have special tools for this if you don't want to get your hands dirty, but I really like the feeling of the grout. I feel like I can really get it into all the crevices, it's more fun. This is just white grout. I wanted to contrast with the black table and blend into the white tiles to create a creamy look. No exact science to this, just keep pressing, keep filling all the gaps. It's totally fine and part of it to get the grout all over your tiles. After the grout is dry, we're going to wipe it all clean. If you're using really sharp edge tiles, just be a little bit mindful of your hands not getting cut. Just press lightly, be careful of those edges. [MUSIC] You want to keep pressing the grout into the gaps so that it fills the whole gap from the table to the top of the tile. It's the idea that you want it to be flat. You want it to be all one level. I'm double-checking to make sure that grout is in all of the big gaps and all of the cracks and crevices. Once we have it in, just going to smooth off any major excess, we're doing a real wipe down later, but just to make things a little bit easier on ourselves. Once your grout is pretty smooth and spread all over your table, you're going to set it aside just for it to set a little bit. So you can look at your grout and follow whatever instructions are on it. You want the grout to set enough so that when you wipe it off, it stays in the gaps. But you don't want it to set too much that you can't get it off your tiles. I'm going to set mine aside and wash my hands. While we're waiting for this grout to set, I thought I talked to you about some other ways that you can use this same technique to create different projects. This is the first mosaic that I made. You can see these are pieces of a lamp that was broken. I took the lamp apart and use those as my tiles. This was the wiring that was holding the lamp glass together, this was the piping in-between the lamp glass. I use some of the shapes that the lamp had and then broke other pieces into smaller bits to create these smaller bits. Then I threw in some small tiles that I found in a dumpster. I made this using the exact same process that we just did. I glued it onto the backing and then you can see that the grout is much tighter. I just glued the pieces really close together and then used a dark gray like almost cement color grout to fill in the gaps. You can actually see in this one there's tons of imperfections, but it doesn't matter. That's part of what makes it beautiful. That's mosaic that you could do for the wall. Another really fun mosaic project that I've made is a mirrored pot. I took broken pieces and did the same process we did just gluing it all over a plane, terracotta pot. Things like that are fun to make because it doesn't matter at all if they're level. So that's where you can get creative with, you can mosaic a picture frame or a planter, you can really just go to town on it and it doesn't matter if it's flat. I think it's because the mosaics look pretty intricate when you're finished. People think that they're really complicated to make, but they're actually one of the more straightforward projects that are pretty hard to mess up. It's basically the same process. You'll take your object, your glue, your tile pieces onto it, and then you'll cover it with grout and wipe the grout off. So it really is just four stages. My table has been sitting aside for about 20 minutes. You can see these gaps are still soft, so they're not quite ready to be wiped off. I'm just going to start carefully wiping some off on my tiles and not touching these bigger gaps. [NOISE] I could have made sure before the grout dried that there was less grout on the tiles. I'm just going to try spraying some water and starting to wipe it off. [NOISE] Let's see. Then if I wipe off, [NOISE] way too much of the inside, we can always just go back in and add a little bit. So I'm going to keep wiping it down and cleaning off the tiles and I'll be back to show you the finished piece. I spent a bit of time cleaning up this mosaic. Let's talk about it and dive into what happened. As you can see, the wiping off process did not work how I was hoping. It's still a little bit wet, but then there is a film that has dried on top of the tiles. Some things that I did to combat that, I sprayed it with water and wiped it down which brought up a little bit of the grout in the gaps, but I could go back and fill in any gaps that I needed. I tried sanding it, which did work to get some of that film off. I tried wet sanding it, which also help. When I make these, usually I make it with grout that I mix. Normally, I take a lot more time before I set it aside to wipe it down and make sure that the tiles are a little bit more clear. This process was slightly different and didn't go exactly as planned, but we still ended up with a pretty cool mosaic. Once you're done with your table, you do have the option to seal it. My table, I didn't seal and I use it as a side table and it's totally fine, but that is an option you have if you want your table to be really durable and really waterproof, if it's going to be heavily used. Let's see what it looks like on our actual table. We'll take the top and we'll just put it back onto its base. Even with its crazy imperfections, like once you get it actually altogether, it actually looks pretty cool. That's the process that I use to make a mosaic, I hope you have fun making yours. [MUSIC] 6. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] Thank you so much for joining my Mosaic class. I hope you've had as much fun as I have and are in love with your finished product. I cannot wait to see what you make, so please do share them in the project gallery and on social. Until next time, keep an eye out for broken ceramics, tile, or glass to mosaic with, and happy crafting.