Friday, October 28, 2011

Tile Tray

I have wanted to do a tiling project for quite some time now, I just didn't know how to tile--adhesive, grout, spacers, etc.  I'd LOVE to redo my bathroom and kitchen, but I knew I couldn't start with such big projects.  I even had some less than $5 tile picked out for a small project.  Then came along Chris over at Just A Girl with just the perfect beginning small tile project!  I've had a plain wooden tray on my bathroom counter for at least a year or so now to help corral a few items that always sit on the counter.  I wanted to paint it or do something to it, I just never quite knew what and, big picture, it was a project that was low on my to do list.  However, once I saw Chris's tiled tray, I knew that that was the perfect way to begin tiling, finish that boring wooden tray, and add a pretty touch to our master bathroom.  Chris posted a pretty thorough tutorial on how to do this project and I followed it fairly closely.  
First I played with the tile on the tray, including another tray because of the different sizes.  My chosen tile didn't fit perfectly in the tray and I wasn't about to figure out how to cut tile for this little project.  After playing with it, I still couldn't decide, so I went ahead and painted both trays.  Whichever tray I ended up not using I knew would go in the girls' room with their newly painted bookcase. (Their room is slowly coming together.)
After the paint was dry and I finally decided on a tile layout with a tray, I applied the adhesive/grout mix.  This stuff is great and easy to use--a lot like spreading frosting on a cake!  It does take time to set and dry. 
Also, because I was just beginning, I didn't spend money on proper tiling tools (just like Chris).  So, to spread the adhesive stuff I cut a square of the cardboard that the tile came on.  Isn't that tile pretty?
Then the adhesive needs to be scored.  I cut notches in my piece of cardboard.
Next came the fun part of laying the tile.  While deciding on my tile arrangement, I had cut my 12x12 sheet of tile in to strips because it was arranged in an offset pattern that just wouldn't work for me since I wasn't going to be cutting tile.  Working with strips was easy.  Since I was not having to lay individual pieces of tile, I didn't have to worry about spacers and just eyeballed space between each strip.
Then, because the directions on the adhesive/grout stuff says to let it dry for 24-36 hours before using the mixture as a grout, I did.  But I couldn't resist cleaning up the edges some with a damp cloth.
After waiting the designated amount of time, I used a new square of cardboard to spread the layer of grout all over the tile and in between each one.  Again, it isn't too different from icing a cake--with sandy frosting!  (My container of adhesive/grout looks like I barely used any from it.  For just under $8 it goes a LONG way!) I couldn't resist cleaning it up some since I had some chunky pieces of grout.  However, I realized the more I tried cleaning, pieces of it would come out from between the tiles.  So, take it from me, let it dry for the 4 hours it says then wipe it down.  See below how it all came off.
See in that picture above how there's still some chalky film on the tile?  That comes off super easy later after it's dried again for 24 hours.
Here she is all wiped down and shiny on the bathroom counter.
I can hardly believe that picture is just a month shy of being 5 years old! It was taken on our 5 year anniversary.
And because I couldn't resist a little staging...
Don't be afraid to learn something new by doing just a small project.  I still don't think I'm ready to tackle redoing the shower or the kitchen backsplash, but I'm ready and excited to try a bigger project...and I've got a couple in mind!

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