How To Tile Onto A Wood Shelf!


Epoxy mortar and grout, ya'll!! There have been huge advancements in mortar and grout and ready-to-use epoxy ones are readily available!
This project started with the tiles. My wife and I found these tiles on sale so we bought a couple boxes...YES! Next, I built a long shelf out of plywood.
My wife painted a black base coat followed by a coat of wine colored milk paint. Instead of using antique liquid, she used super watered down black paint.
I laid out the tiles and then built on this frame around them. Remember to countersink all of the screws and putty over them to hide them.
This is epoxy mortar and I'm not going to lie....it is tricky to work with! Regular mortar is very easy to shape, but epoxy (for me) is harder to achieve the same effect. It also dries really fast and looks plastic-y. I highly recommending mixing small batches at a time.
It is an excellent product though! It will bond to concrete, brick, stone, mortar, wood, iron, steel and cured epoxy mortars. It is shrink free,
insensitive to moisture during application, it has high tensile and flexural strength and is full of mold inhibitors.
I live in Japan, so I bough a local brand, but you can easily find an epoxy mortar and grout with a quick Google search.
This is epoxy grout. It is made from two different resins mixed with a filler making it is very waterproof and bettered suited to harsher cleaning products. This stuff sets super quickly too.
This is the dry epoxy grout!

Suggested materials:

  • Epoxy mortar
  • Epoxy grout

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Mjr2086367
    on Oct 16, 2016

    Yes I have a table that has the tiles on it and I want to take them off. How do I take them off so I can put new ones on? Mj

    • Bryan's Workshop
      on Oct 17, 2016

      There is a chance that the tiles on your table were just glued down. You might be able to pry them from glue, but In my experience, removing tile from mortar and grout on any surface is a difficult and messy job. I suggest checking Pinterest for painted tiles. There are all kinds of tile primers, paints and sealers out there. You'll be amazed at what some paint and a stencil will do for tile. Good Luck!

  • Caryn
    on Mar 27, 2019

    I do a lot of paperwork at my kitchen table and it is tiled. Other then glass, any ideas on making a smooth surface?

    • Bryan's Workshop
      on Mar 27, 2019

      Hey Caryn! An easy and cool idea is cutting thin pieces of wood and using them as placemats. You could use cutting boards too. They are great for writing on, can be painted or stained and add to decor. For a permanent fix, cover the table top with an epoxy resin.

  • Mary Lou Mace
    on Apr 3, 2019

    As an alternative could peel n' stick tiles be used?

Join the conversation

3 of 85 comments
  • Yvonne Wagner
    on Jan 27, 2017

    Fabulous job ! :-)

  • Mcgypsy9
    7 days ago

    I love the way your wife did the cabinet itself. She did an excellent job of getting the look and I hope that’s what she was going for. It’s a beautiful finish! I love the tiles as well and the top you made from them, I’m just not sure if I like them together....I mean I do but I think I would have had to do something else/more with them even though I really like the piece.

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