Make Over Your Decor With This Cheap Mosaic Method

Love the mosaic look but hate to spend the money for glass tiles and grout? Check out a cheaper and simpler alternative I created with scrapbook paper and Mod Podge. Adding a mosaic is a clever way to customize an existing piece of furniture or accessory.

DIY Parsons coffee table makeover with gloss Mod Podge, silver leaf Rub n Buff, and white scrapbook paper in neutral living room with figure 8 or infinity symbol

Previously, I created a piece of mosaic wall decor but have since retired this piece since it no longer matches my living room. Using this mosaic method, I gave my plain, Parsons coffee table an update along with some Rub n Buff to add a metallic vibe. Sure, buying a new coffee table would’ve been easier, but it would’ve been boring. Learn how to do it after the jump.

The before shot of the table really isn’t necessary. It was just a basic, black Parsons table I picked up from some cheap store. No decoration or detail to it. I’d bought this table long ago, so it didn’t play a part in my living room makeover originally.

I chose a mosaic design, as it coordinates with some of the other decor in my living room that’s Moroccan/Arabesque. I wanted a circular pattern to offset the angular energy of all the lines and corners in the room. I seek balance in my decor and find this to be a great approach. The infinity sign was perfect because of its shape, symbolism, and symmetry. I chose a pearly paper and silver for the background color to complement the cool, airy vibe in the room. I also love using metallics to create a sense of richness.

Here’s how to make your own:

Supplies:

*Coffee table or any other surface such as a canvas, table, plant stand, etc.

*Sheets of 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper (I used “Diamond” = a pearly, off-white paper with a linen-like texture)

*Scissors

*Pencil

*Ruler

*Rub n Buff in Silver Leaf (or any other color/paint you’d like as your background)

*Clean, old t-shirt or cotton rag

*Mod Podge (I used the Gloss formula)

*Paintbrush

*Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish in Clear Semi-Gloss

*Sandpaper (if using a wooden surface)

*Tack cloth

1. If your surface is wooden, sand it to prime it for your background or “grout” color. Clean the surface with the tack cloth to remove all debris/dust.

2. Apply a few coats of Rub n Buff in Silver Leaf (first sanding the wood) with the old t-shirt. Rub n Buff is a super way to make something over, as the process is self-explanatory. The tubes are small but a little bit goes a looong way.

DIY Parsons coffee table makeover with gloss Mod Podge, silver leaf Rub n Buff, and white scrapbook paper in neutral living room with figure 8 or infinity symbol

3. Determine the size of your “tiles” and measure/cut from the sheets of scrapbook paper (I used one inch squares).

4. Arrange your pattern on the tabletop with the paper tiles. I started the design by arranging just one row of paper tiles on the table in a figure 8. The design isn’t truly symmetric, but I did use my ruler to make sure the first row was fairly even on both sides.

5. Once you are satisfied with your pattern and placement of the tiles, apply Mod Podge to the bottoms. (TIP: If you make a mistake, just wait for the Mod Podge to dry and then you can easily remove the tiles.)

After gluing the first row, I then added more rows on the outside of this figure, being sure to space the tiles to my liking before gluing them down. Repeat this process as far as possible to the outer edges of the table to allow the entire tiles to be glued to the surface.DIY Parsons coffee table makeover with gloss Mod Podge, silver leaf Rub n Buff, and white scrapbook paper in neutral living room with figure 8 or infinity symbol

You may notice the silver background has squares—that’s because my original plan was simple rows. This was a boring design so I started over & left the mark the tiles left on the silver.

6. Once you reach an edge where the entire tile won’t fit, cut the square to a proper size so it will fit on the surface.

DIY Parsons coffee table makeover with gloss Mod Podge, silver leaf Rub n Buff, and white scrapbook paper in neutral living room with figure 8 or infinity symbol

7. Fill in the insides of the 8 with tiles, aiming to space each tile as evenly as possible. When you get to the innermost portion of the pattern, you won’t be able to space your tiles as evenly as the others. But that’s okay!

DIY Parsons coffee table makeover with gloss Mod Podge, silver leaf Rub n Buff, and white scrapbook paper in neutral living room with figure 8 or infinity symbol

8. Once all Mod Podge on the bottoms of the tiles is dry, you can paint as many layers of Mod Podge as desired on the tops of the tiles and the table.

NOTE: with my table, I also applied thick layers of Mod Podge in the spaces between the tiles. I dig the water/glass-like effect that results from the glossy Mod Podge, but this step is optional. It took a lot if time to do but I because I use my coffee table for a lot of things, I wanted the tiles to be flush with the surface. (This is accomplished when you do a true mosaic with grout.)

DIY Parsons coffee table makeover with gloss Mod Podge, silver leaf Rub n Buff, and white scrapbook paper in neutral living room with figure 8 or infinity symbol

9. To eliminate the stickiness of the Mod Podge and to further protect the table, you can now add a protective finish. I brushed 2 coats of the Minwax polycrylic finish to the mosaic and also to the sides of the table and legs. (Unfortunately, the Silver Leaf Rub n Buff is prone to slightly rub off on fingers if not protected.)

Once the finish is dry and set, you are good to go!

DIY Parsons coffee table makeover with gloss Mod Podge, silver leaf Rub n Buff, and white scrapbook paper in neutral living room with figure 8 or infinity symbol

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16 thoughts on “Make Over Your Decor With This Cheap Mosaic Method

  1. Desiree

    I was going to do this with my coffee table too. Of course not this pattern. I really wanted to use real tiles, but wasn’t ready for the work. I still can’t decide if I should use paper or tiles. Your’s turned out pretty sweet. I looked at the wall hanging one you made and the pattern reminds me of the floor in my aunts house when I was a kid. Very retro indeed.

    Reply
    1. Angela Conley Post author

      Thanks for the compliment & for visiting! Using the paper “tiles” does take some time mostly to cut them but also if you’re planning a pattern. I’ve never done the glass tiles but I think the paper/Mod Podge combo is less expensive and easier than messing with all the grout.

      Good luck with your project!

      Reply
    1. The DIY Homegirl Post author

      Yes, actually it is still sturdy! Because I applied the paper with Mod Podge and it has several layers of this plus polycrylic sealer on top, it’s still holding up well. No scratches so far!

      Reply
    1. The DIY Homegirl Post author

      I wouldn’t chance it unless you used a sealant that would be super-protective. Mod Podge does make a “hard” version of glue and also an outdoor glue, so those may be good options for protection… I would still do a test run on something else first. :)

      Reply

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