How to Tile and Stencil an Upcycled Table
Welcome to another How to Stencil project tutorial from Oak Lane Studio. In this DIY stenciling tutorial we will show you how to stencil an upcycled table in a multicolored Talavera Tile design. This is an easy, budget-friendly DIY home improvement project, perfect for hand painting unique, eclectic home décor. In this tutorial we will cover basic how-to stencil techniques, how to tile, how to paint and stencil on furniture, and how to stencil with multiple colors.
Scroll down to watch our How to Stencil a Tiled Table video tutorial.
For this project we stenciled on an upcycled pallet table that we previously stenciled with a colorful, floral Folksy Bloom design. You can see how we did that here. The wonderful thing about stenciling is that you can re-stencil and re-paint your furniture as many times a you like. We used four colors of Americana Acrylic paint: Navy Blue, Blue Harbor, Avocado and Primary Yellow.
Supplies to Tile an Upcycled Table
- 4" square white tiles (number varies depending upon the size of your table)
- Americana Acrylic Paint
- Frog Tape
- High Density Foam Roller
- Thin-set Mortar
- Tile Grout (white)
- Grout Float
- Medium grit sandpaper or an electric sander
Supplies to Stencil a Tiled Table
- Talavera Tile Tulip Flower Wall Stencil
- Talavera Tile Bird Wall Stencil
- Talavera Tile Medallion Wall Stencil
- Talavera Tile Flower Wall Stencil
- Americana Acrylic Paint
- Americana Acrylic Gloss Sealer/Finisher
- Repositionable Spray Adhesive
- Stencil Brush white bristle
- Frog Tape
- Gyro Cut Craft and Hobby Cutting Tool
- Glad Press'n Seal
How to Paint a Table
We stenciled on a table that we had recently repainted. If you are stenciling on a table that has not been painted yet, or not recently and has chipped paint you might want to start by (re-)painting the table. It is always best to stencil on a smooth, even surface. Small bumps and cracks on the table are places where paint can slip beneath the stencil template and blur the stenciled design. This is called "paint bleed". A fresh coat of paint is an easy way to solve this issue.
If you are going to (re-) paint the table, sand the table before you paint it. You can learn more about how to prepare to stencil or paint an upcycled table in our previous blog post.
For this project, we only painted the top of the table with Navy Blue Americana Acrylic paint and a high density foam roller. Only the edges of the table will be visible after we stencil the tiles, so we concentrated our paint there.
How to Tile a Table
In these next steps, we will walk you through easy steps for how to create a tiled table top. If you have not tiled anything before, don't worry, you can definitely tile your table. If this is your first time tiling, you might want to watch our video below to see exactly how we did this, in addition to following our written instructions. We will include video time stamps for the next few steps.
First, sand the tiles you will stencil on. We used an electric sander for this step, but you can also use medium grit sand paper.
How to Set and Place Tiles
Video Timestamp: 1:35 min.
Mask the edge of the table with Frog Tape, this will protect the edge of the table from mortar and will create a crisp border trim around the tiles. Arrange the tiles where you want them on the table top. Place tile spacers or a substitute between the tiles.
Next, remove the tiles and apply a layer of thin-set mortar on the table. Spread the mortar in an even layer with a trowel. Reposition the tiles and tile spacers on the table as you had lain them out earlier and press the tiles into the mortar.
Use the trowel to trim the excess mortar around the edge of the tiles and remove the frog tape. Let the mortar set overnight before continuing to the next step.
How to Grout Tiles
Video Timestamp: 2:23 min.
After the mortar has set overnight, place new frog tape around the edge of the table and tape around the outer side edges of the tiles. Use a utility knife to trim the “flush”, or the excess tape, so that the tape matches the height of the tiles. You might also want to place a trim of cardboard over the frog tape as an extra layer of protection. We used clamps to hold the cardboard in place. Now we are ready to grout the tiles.
Our goal is to get the grout into the spaces between the tiles, called the “joints”. Apply the grout to the tiles and use a grout float to spread the grout over the tiles and press it into the “joints” at a 45° angle.
Once the grout has filled the joints, start to remove the excess grout from the surface of the tiles with the grout float. Now, use a damp grout sponge to remove the rest of the surface grout and smooth out the joints. Change the water in the bucket as necessary.
When the grout has dried, remove the frog tape from the tape and tiles. Place a new border of frog tape on top of the tiles along the outer edge to mask the tiles. (See our picture or video). Paint the outer side edges of the tiles navy blue to match the trim on the table. Remove the frog tape, it is time to stencil.
How to Use the Stencil Template
First, spray the back of your stencil template with Repositionable Spray Adhesive. Do this in a well ventilated area away from the table and tiles you will stencil - you only want the back of the stencil to be sticky. Hold the spray can 6 to 8 inches away from the stencil template as you spray and keep your mouth closed while spraying.
Wait 30 to 60 seconds for the back of the stencil template to become tacking before positioning the stencil template on top of the table. This is very important, our repositionable adhesive spray can be strong and if you position the stencil too early you may have trouble removing it later.
Place the stencil on a tile and firmly press all the stencil design cutouts into the tile until the stencil lies completely flat. Make sure none of the stencil design cutouts stick up.
In addition to Repositionable Spray Adhesive, you also use Frog Tape along the outer edges of the stencil template to hold it in place.
How to stencil Multicolored Tiles
We stenciled our tiles with four colors of Americana Acrylic Paint: Navy Blue, Blue Harbor, Avocado and Primary Yellow.
Stenciling with multiple colors is really easy, the trick is to use one color at a time and mask, or cover up, the stencil cutouts you won't stencil in that color. Also, make sure you stencil each color with a clean stencil brush.
There are a couple ways you can mask the stencil cutouts you will paint in another color. You can cover them with frog painter's tape, or use Glad's Press'n Seal. We used Glad's Press'n Seal because it is much easier to cover smaller details with.
First we laid a piece of Press'n Seal over the stencil template and smoothed out any bubbles or wrinkles. Then we used our Gyro Cut tool to cut around the stencil cutouts we want to stencil in our first color. We peeled the Press'n Seal off the stencil designs we are stenciling first and left it over the cutouts we will stencil later.
Now it's time to stencil our tiles.
How to Stencil on Tiles
Stenciling is not the same as painting and a key difference is the amount of paint you use to stencil. Stenciling is done with a dry brush (or roller) using the "Dry Brush Technique". This means that you should only have a minimum amount of paint on your brush when you stencil, so that the brush is almost dry to the touch. If you stencil with too much paint, the excess paint will seep underneath the stencil template and blur the stenciled design, this is called "Paint Bleed".
We recommend using the "Dot Test" to check that you have the right amount of paint on your brush before stenciling.
The Dot Test for Stenciling:
How to check that you have the right amount of paint to stencil with a paint brush.
Once you have a dry brush you can begin to stencil. Stencil by swirling or stippling paint into the stencil design cutouts, brush strokes are not used for stenciling.
At first, only a faint color should be present, this is normal. Don't add more paint to your stencil brush until the brush is completely dry. Color will gradually accumulate as you stencil more layers of paint. 3 to 4 layers of paint is normal, but you may need more depending on the colors you are using. If you are stenciling into a very small design cutout, stippling is easier and more precise than swirling.
How to Reposition the Stencil Templates
For this project we used four different tile stencil templates and repeated them across different tiles. When you are done stenciling a tile, wait for the paint to dry before gently peeling the stencil template off of the tile.
You don't need to respray the stencil template with Repositionable Spray Adhesive every time you reposition it. If the stencil template starts to lose its stickiness, it is probably because dust and dirt have collected on the back of the stencil template and are covering the adhesive. Use a slightly damp cloth to clean the back of the stencil template and it should become tacky again.
A chopstick or similar tool helps to keep the stencil flat around the curved edge of the tiles.
How to Seal the Stenciled Tiles
Once the paint has dried, apply a coat of American Acrylic Gloss Sealer/Finisher to protect your masterpiece. Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area and also to wear a mask and eye protection for this step.
How to Clean the Stencil Template
Our stencil templates are easily washable and reusable! For this DIY stenciling project, we stenciled with water-based paint which is exceptionally easy to clean off of stencil templates. To clean the stencil template, first soak it in hot water for five minutes, this will loosen any paint that has dried on the stencil. Then wipe away all the remaining paint with a cloth and store the stencil template for future DIY stenciling projects.
For more information on how to clean stencil templates, please see our FAQ page.
Watch our how to stencil a Talavera Tile Table video tutorial:
Learn how to tile a table and stencil on tiles in this easy, budget-friendly DIY home décor project from Oak Lane Studio. This is a really wonderful upcycling furniture project and DIY home décor hack. You can create an instant show stopping table with stenciled tiles.
Learn more about how to stencil your home and create beautiful home décor in whatever style you like. Visit our Stenciling Blog, or Video Gallery for how to stencil tutorials and projects tips. Browse our home décor stenciling projects Photo Gallery for ideas and inspiration on how to use stencil templates to decorate your home.