You’ve finally finished renovating your bathroom, and it looks great. Thanks to your careful and accurate estimating, you had plenty of tile for the job. In fact, you were even able to save some of the used tiles, so why not put them to good use rather than have them stashed in the corner of your garage?
Tile is a strong, versatile material, and there are many excellent ways to use them, from décor accents to practical kitchenware, and even as unique gifts. You only need a few tools such as a tile cutter, grout, tile adhesive, and your imagination to repurpose tiles in creative ways.
1. Decorative Edging
A fun way to blend the look of two adjacent spaces is to add a decorative edging around the doorway. Arrange the leftover tiles in a single or double row around the doorway. Add an extra pop by alternating colors or plain and decorative style tiles.
2. Plates and Coasters
Leftover tiles have been used as tableware for generations; they’re beautiful, and they protect your table and linens from heat and moisture. Cut each tile into your desired shape and size and apply a tile sealant to make it waterproof. Then, glue a piece of felt or velvet underneath to prevent scratches to your furniture. Smaller tiles make great coasters, while larger pieces can be used as tapas plates.
Your coasters will really stand out if you have them do double-duty as picture frames. All you have to do is glue your favorite photos to the tile, allow the glue to dry, and then cover the front of the tile with spray enamel.
3. Vases and Plant Pots
If a terracotta planter just won’t do or your greenery needs a dash of color, try this fun project: Smash your leftover tiles into smaller pieces with a hammer and use a tile adhesive to glue them to the sides of any plain ceramic vase or planter. Fill the gaps between the pieces with grout in a coordinating color, and you’ll have a one-of-a-kind gift for the gardener in your life.
Repurpose an old table by creating a stunning tile tabletop. Simply arrange your leftover tiles on top of a table; affix them with the tile adhesive and grout used on your project, and surround them with decorative molding to finish the look. If you don’t have enough tiles of the same color or style, you can use any waterproof, self-undercoating paint to give them a uniform look. You can even use permanent markers to draw your designs and set them with a clear enamel spray.
5. Magnets and Hooks
Smaller pieces of tile make great magnets or even hooks for coats in your entryway. Use a strong glue to affix a magnet to the back, and you’re done. Or glue a wooden block to the back of the tile, drill a small hole in the block, and you’re ready to bolt the whole thing to the wall, where it can hold your necklaces, scarves, or belts.
6. Photo Frames
Give a mirror or a favorite picture extra love by giving it a decorative tile frame. You can even coordinate the tile with the colors in the picture. All you need is the tile, grout, tile adhesive, and a tile cutter if you need to fit a unique space. This is an easy project you can do with your kids, and it makes for a fun Mother’s or Father’s Day gift.
7. Cutting Board, Cheeseboard, or Trivets
Many tile varieties are scratch-proof and heat-resistant, making them an excellent material for creating a cutting board or trivet for your pots and pans. These can be as simple or as complex as you want, from a single piece of tile with a piece of felt underneath to an elaborate mosaic design.
If your tile pieces are small and lightweight, consider using them to create one-of-a-kind jewelry. Use a tile cutter to create appropriate-sized tile pieces for pendants, brooches, earrings, or bracelets and attach metal jewelry findings that you can source from most craft supply stores. Better yet, use that broken necklace or broken set of earrings in your jewelry box.
9. Drawer Pulls
Using tile pieces to replace worn-out or missing drawer pulls is an easy way to give the furniture a whole new look. All you need to do is attach a connector cap and bolt (both found at local hardware stores) to the back of the tile with epoxy glue. When the glue is dry, bolt your new pull to the furniture.
10. Portable Backsplash
Attach some leftover tile to a piece of medium-weight fiberboard, and you have a portable backsplash. This backsplash is handy if you have messy work to do in the kitchen and don’t want to splash sauce on your cooktop or cabinets. When your work is done, all you have to do is clean the backsplash off and put it away.
11. Place Cards
Add a dash of elegance to your next party by using leftover tile as place cards. Glue a piece of felt on the back of each piece. When setting the table, write your guests’ names on each piece, using a washable, dry erase marker. When the party’s over, use a wet cloth to clean up.
12. Garden Path
Spruce up your outdoor space by using leftover tile from various projects to create stepping stones for an enchanting garden path. The mishmash of colors and shapes can offset your flowers and shrubs for a dynamic outdoor space.
13. Artist’s Canvas or Mixing Palette
Because ceramic tile is easy to clean, your leftover tile can make an interesting surface for your next painting. Keep several on hand for group projects or to separate ranges of color. Smaller pieces can be used as a palette for fine-detail work.
14. Help the Less Fortunate
Many communities have thrift stores or charitable organizations that help the less fortunate. If you have a large amount of leftover tile, consider donating it. Your generosity can keep the tile from being wasted in a landfill and can be upcycled or used in housing or fundraising projects.
15. Replacement Pieces
No matter how careful you are, accidents happen, and there’s always a chance a tile will break. Keep several tiles on hand so you can make quick repairs as needed.
Give Your Tiles New Life
Tiles are the perfect medium for unleashing your creativity, and their durability means your carefully crafted pieces can last as long as your new tile floors.