To surprise my hubby for Father’s Day, (and after watching too many DIY shows) I got the courage to convert our back deck to a Tuscan retreat (or as close as you can get in the Midwest. Instead of heading to Target, like I used to whenever I needed something relatively inexpensive and chic, I headed to my local thrift store where I picked up this old restaurant table. It was sturdy and the right size (big enough for our family of four to eat dinner, or big enough so that we can play games with our friends — Ticket to Ride, anyone?) The table I found wasn’t pretty, though. It didn’t say “outdoor retreat,” it said, “Do you want fries with that?” But thanks to all my new online blog friends (I’m talking about you Centsational Girl & House of Smiths) and their resourcefulness, I took a chance on it. And for only $15, why not.


After seeing a “Design on a Dime” where the designer made a table and covered it in tile, I decided to take a stab at it. Here’s what it took:

– Spray Paint (I used Rust-oleum Hammered Bronze)

– Tile

– Trowel

– Rubber Tile Float

– Grout

– Tile adhesive

– Grout Sealer

– Tape Measure

– Pencil

– Damp rags (that you will never want to use again)

1. Paint the Table

First I started by spray painting the sides and legs of the table, after having the boys hose it down in the driveway. Did I mention there were spider nest/eggs underneath the table? Yep, gross. Thankfully I have boys!


2. Shop for Tile

This is where I tell you how I mathematically figured out how much tile I would need, but it was more like guessing. Then, a Home Depot worker suggested I turn some of the square tiles around like diamonds to save save money. Save money? Yes, please. When it was all said and done I spent about $100 for tile and grout. A bit pricey, but I think the results are worth it.

3. Adhering the Tile

I bought this cool tile that had a preset pattern that would serve as the center of the table. I measured to find the center of the table and applied tile adhesive (like frosting) and made sure to scrape with the trowel’s notched edges to ensure an even coat of adhesive. I carefully placed my center tile. The adhesive doesn’t set immediately, so you can easily move it around if you make a mistake. I made sure I worked in small sections so the adhesive didn’t dry out.


4. Design Away

This next part was easy (and fun). The small tiles are sold in tile sheets that can be placed directly on your project or you can cut and design them any way you want. I alternated between small gray tiles and larger cream ones. (Note, they didn’t always line up perfectly. I think they make it look more authentic — like it was handmade by a sweet old Italian woman in Tuscany — or a 30-something mom in the Midwest :o) Also, another tip from our friends at Home Depot, use the smaller tile on the outside edges of the table. That way, it’s easier to make it fit and you don’t have to cut them.




5. Let the tiles cure for 24 hours (or whatever your adhesive suggests).

6. Grout The Table

Dip your tile float into the grout and load it up. Push the float at an angle onto the table, so the grout really gets into all the cracks. As with the adhesive, work in small sections. Once the cracks are filled, use a slightly damp rag (I found an almost dry rag worked best) and rub over the tiles to get rid of the excess grout.



7. Seal the Grout

Use a grout sealer and follow the instructions on the package. This will help prevent staining of the grout, as it is a porous material.


The finished product: I was surprised at how good it looked. It was hard to believe it was a yucky thrift store table just a few days before. To think that I almost overlooked it in the beginning. And my (picky) husband was very happy, too.


I hope you liked this DIY. Feel free to send me your tips on working with tile or your pictures of tile projects and I’ll post them.