I tried my hand at creating a mosaic table top with some plates that I had that were chipped around the edges. They were a Christmas gift to me from my brother-in-law one year and seeing that he came up with the gift idea and went out on his own and selected a pattern, I couldn't just toss them out as they became tattered and worn. So I decided to try to preserve them by gluing them haphazardly to a table.
I found this tutitorial handy, but sort of went on my own as well.
What you need:
A big towel
Construction adhesive (I used something my neighbor had... PS200 something or other... I'll find out the exact name, but it was used to adhere flooring or something)
What I did:
1. Scuff up the table with sandpaper. This will help adhere the pieces to the table.
2. In an area that can be swept up easily (I went outside), lay a towel on the ground. Place a plate on one half of the towel and cover with the other half of the towel.
3. Use the hammer to break the dishes into small workable pieces. You can use a tile cutter as well, but I didn't.
* I did find that if I wanted to break a particular piece at a certain point, I would place the piece over the cracks in a sidewalk and would then gently hammer it until it broke. (you know, those cracks in sidewalks that are cut intentionally to allow for contracting and stuff?)
4. Sand down any sharp edges (I really didn't do this part.... I figured the grout would cover it).
5. Start placing the pieces onto the table, trying various patterns, finding where the pieces can fit together, but still leaving about 1/4 inch between the pieces.
6. Begin to glue the pieces to the table with the construction adhesive, working with just a few pieces at a time. I just used a toothpick to dab a little dot of glue on the bottom of each piece.
* The instructions I linked above say to lay it all out on a piece of paper first, and I started to do that and quickly realized I would never get the pieces transferred to the table in the exact same pattern, so I just worked out the pattern in little blocks right there on the actual table itself. I would lay about 10 pieces down and then would go back and glue them. Then I would lay 10 more down, and so on and so on. The picture below is actually one I took as I was piecing them together before moving to the table.
7. I found working in a ring worked best, rather than working from one side to the other.
8. Mix sanded grout according to the label instructions. Using the trowel, spread the grout over the table evenly—filling the spaces between the tiles. (I didn't get a picture here because this part was sort of messy and I didn't want to stop and take a picture and have the grout start setting up before I was done! But it's as easy as it sounds... mix up grout and spread over table. Done.)
9. Using a damp sponge, wipe off any excess grout. Wait for a cloudy haze to cover the plates, and then wipe again. Buff the plate pieces with a dry cloth.