The humble tile. Creator of beautiful feature walls, glossy floors and dream patios. But what happens when the grout dries and you have leftovers and remnants? We recommend keeping a few spare tiles in case you need to replace them in the future, but any surplus can be recycled and remodelled into a fantastic ceramic household item, office accessory, or work of art.
To celebrate the Great British Spring Clean, we want to encourage as many people as possible to have a go at upcycling unwanted tiles (or brand new tiles if something catches your eye). To give you some inspiration, we’ve shared some of our favourite DIY projects from our Pinterest ‘Ideas for recycling tiles’ board.
Why are ceramic tiles great for craft?
- They are sturdy and have a smooth surface
- There is a variety of sizes and patterns available
- Sparkly mosaics, bright coloured metros, shabby chic wood effect tiles – the designs are limitless
How to tile your projects
- Don’t worry about perfection.
- If you’re using mosaics or broken tiles, or can get creative with your design, then you might not need a tile cutter.
- If you’re going to paint your tiles, clean them with acetone first.
- Making a planter? A coat of sealant is great for the inside to keep it water tight.
- Don’t forget to stick the tiles in place with adhesive.
- Tile spacers will help you get an even pattern.
- If you’re using grout, smear it on the tiles then wipe off the excess.
- Leave it to dry!
Mosaic tile upcycled mirror
Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the best upcycler of all? This is a super simple project that will produce a stunning and unique look.
Fridge magnets from mosaic tiles
Not only are these incredibly easy to make, they are also great to match with a coordinating backsplash or colour scheme. Simply glue on a magnet and you’ll be beautifully organised.
Flowerpot made from tiles
You can pick up old plant pots at car boot sales or they’re fairly cheap to buy brand new. Tiles will stick better to crockery, terracotta or clay pots than plastic.
DIY tile napkin holders
Create a café feel with a ceramic napkin holder. This design uses just three tiles – a piece of felt, card or paper on the bottom will protect the surface you use it on.
Cheese board made from a tile
Simply take a single tile and add vinyl bumpers or felt on the bottom for a stunning way to serve cheese, cakes or canapes. Why not add handles for easy lifting?
The good thing about tiles is their sturdy weight – making them perfect for creating bookends. Stack them together or fix them onto wood and they’re ready to hold your reading material in place.
Mosaic tile lamp
All you need to do is attach the mesh on the back of the mosaic sheet to the metal frame of the lamp and hey presto! Lovely lighting for any room.
Birdhouse using discarded tiles
Tiles will help create a boutique boudoir for feathered friends. Use mosaics or offcuts to make a little birdhouse with some soul.
Table top made with recycled tiles
Give an old table a new lease of life with some tiles. Go cosmopolitan café with metro tiles or a touch of opulence with mosaics.
Bird bath made from tiles
Make bathing beautiful for the visitors to your garden with a customised bird bath. Symmetry, abstract or create creatures and pictures with shards you’d otherwise discard.
Steps embellished with broken or unwanted tiles
Add a touch of glamour to your garden by using tiles on your steps. Tile the full step, edges or add a simple but effective line of detail.
Counter top made from recycled tiles
Boring bathroom? Spruce up your sink with recycled tiles in all shapes and sizes to create your own unique design.
Making art with broken tiles
Let your imagination run wild with your leftover tiles to unleash your inner artist. Why not try a nautical design for the bathroom?
Garden feature made with recycled tiles
Recycle your tiles in the garden to make a walkway, an interesting feature, highlight a particular area or fill in the cracks!
DIY tile placemats using leftover tiles
Use one single tile, join a few together or mount some mosaics on a plain placemat – just add some felt or vinyl bumpers underneath and you’ve got a pretty place setting.
Coasters made using upcycled tiles
Use small square tiles as coasters with felt or card underneath to protect the surface of your table. Leave them as they are, or add paint, wallpaper, fabric, magazine pages, photos or stickers.
Tile place settings
It’s always great when your wedding place setting is also a gift! Simply wrap some paper around them and write on your guest’s name.
Vase made with broken tiles or mosaics
Vase, utensil pot, pencil pot – the possibilities are endless! Charity shops and car boot sales are great for finding old homeware that you can customise with ceramic.
Beautiful bath upcycled with tiles
Jazz up your bathroom with a tiled bath, or add a splash of homemade delight to your garden and use it as a planter. This look will also work with a Belfast sink.
Chair made using recycled tiles
We’ve decided that our showrooms need tiled thrones like this! You could also try tiling the back or legs of an old chair for seating with style.
If this blog inspires you, we’d love to see your creations! Share your pictures on social media with the hashtag #directtilewarehouse or email them to info@directtilewarehouse. Happy upcycling!
All images from Pinterest