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How to make an outdoor tiled coffee table

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As spring sprung and the weather became warmer the thoughts about outdoor furniture started and I decided to make an outside coffee table with some leftover tiles. I had also been gifted a box of beautiful mixed tiles from Fired Earth.

Finished outdoor coffee table

There was a variety of tiles, but it was tricky to pick similar shapes and depth of tile, so I had to try to adapt and play around with the design.

Tile pattern ideas

Tile design ideas

For the tabletop, we used a piece of marine plywood as it would cope with the elements without warping.  It was cut to the measured size of my tile pattern. For the base/legs, I had two lovely old iron spools to use adding character to the table. My husband helped me by bolting them through the top of the spools to the marine ply.

attaching base to table

I sanded the wood to get a good clean base then applied some tile adhesive and began to align all the tiles in place as the grout adhesive dries quickly! Corners first then we did the middle four tiles working outwards, we also used tile spacers where I could to help keep everything straight.

Tile adhesive

Once dry, I grouted with grey tile grout as I didn't want to use the white that I had. I wanted the table to tie in with the floor area in my kitchen that also has some of my leftover tiles. 

Indoor floor tiles

Grouting is a lot harder than I remembered especially with uneven heights! I mixed with water the grey powdered grout to a slightly sloppy consistency and began filling in the gaps. As the grout began to firm up I levelled off the top and sides to get a smooth surface. 

Grouting the tiles

Once all the grout was dry I could clean back the tiles, and believe that it was going to look neat, even if not professional! After the grout, some of the tiles needed to be sealed with decorators varnish as they are encaustic tiles and porous. The finishing off of the table was important to tidy up and cover the sides of the tiles that aren't as pretty. The wooden beading was a simple way to line it all up, with another final varnish with exterior clear varnish.

Sealing and edging the table

As I think is evident from the detailed description it wasn't a quick project, a lot more thought went into weatherproofing the wooden base and tiles and getting the right tile adhesive and grout colour.

We are thrilled with the coffee table and I love to sit and enjoy a drink, even more so popping my glass down on the table we made from leftover tiles and two quirky spools for legs!






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