Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spring Break, Family Style: DIY Tile Projects for the Whole Family

A whole week and no school! How will you keep your kids entertained and productive without spending a ton of money?

The best projects have multiple steps that you can do in stages, since your kids will probably get bored if you try to work on the same thing all day. Kids think 30 minutes takes forever, and all day is an eternity. Do one step per day and have fun watching the progression.

Involving your kids is critical – and makes it fun for the whole family. Have the kids do small parts of the work while you do the final assembly. Or have the kids do a smaller version of a project you’re working on.

Tile mosaics are a great whole family activity.

Concrete pavers, tables, flowerpots, fireplaces, stepping stones, coasters and trivets, picture frames, bowls or vases… there are so many options. Look around your house or at garage sales and a vintage or thrift stores for the “before” piece. Even old dressers, end tables and sturdy wood crates make great bases for a tile project.

If you want to cast your own concrete pavers, look here for instructions. Otherwise, just tile the top of premade ones, which you can find at a garden shop or hardware store like Home Depot.

For detailed information about how to tile something, visit the website of Making Mosaics. We got these table and flower pot photos from there –Mary Foley provided the flower pot image and Deborah Ferrante provided the stepping stone shot.

Get the tile: Shop at recyclers of building materials such as Habitat for Humanity for old tiles. New tile stores also often have a “seconds” room you can buy for cheap. Buy some pretty 4-inch x 4-inch tiles as well as smaller mosaic pieces. Your kids can definitely help pick that stuff out, if they’re mature enough to be OK in a tile shop, which can be a dangerous place.

Or, shop for a bunch of old dishes, and have the kids break them to make mosaic pieces!

Go outside, have the kids wear some thick gloves and eye protection (you should too), place one dish at a time in an old pillowcase and let the kids swing the pillowcase onto the ground! Then you empty the pillowcase into a cardboard box. With gloves on, pull out the biggest pieces. Eventually you’ll have enough to make something.

Preparations: After you have the object you want to tile, if it’s flat, create a cardboard template the size of the surface. Again, you and your kids can make a lot of fun patterns. Take pictures, and choose the best one to actually create.

If your object is round, like a flowerpot, work out a series of stripes on a piece of cardboard. You can try a bunch of different options!

Time to tile! If you’ve never tiled something, check out this website for instructions. Or talk with a tile supply store, you’ll need to buy some adhesive and grout. Ask about interior use or exterior – you may need different supplies.

You get to do the hard labor. Your kids can hand you the tiles as you butter the back of each tile and lay out the pattern on your object. Once it’s all in place, grout your work.

If your project will be outside in the weather, you may need to seal the grout.

When you’re finished, take a picture and show us your art! How do you spend your Spring Break with your kids?

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 7:51 AM 


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