Love the look of mosaic crafts but a little intimidated to try a project that involves tile and grout? This mosaic tile tray is a great DIY that makes your first attempt working with tile easy. You’ll wonder why you waited so long to get started!

Basic supplies can run over $20 but you can cut costs by using leftover tile and an old tray or planter tray you already have. Picture frames work well too—just be sure to attach a board strong enough to support the weight of the tile.

Keeping the shape of your tray a simple rectangle allows you to get away with not having to cut tile. Otherwise, you’ll need a tile cutter and some muscle to squeeze it for a clean cut. Sheet tile can be cut with scissors and that spells ‘e-a-s-y.’

Follow our instructions to complete your tray then pile on the drinks for happy hour. You deserve it!

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Mosaic tile tray instructions

DIY Mosaic Tile Tray
  • 8″ x 18″ rectangular clay or resin planter tray
  • 1 − 2″ x 1″ sheet mosaic wall tile
  • scissors
  • 1″ x 1″ colored ceramic tiles (from your local craft or home goods store)
  • precision knife
  • disposable gloves
  • mosaic tile adhesive
  • damp sponge or hot wet rag
  • non-scratch scour pad
  • sanded grout for grout joints from ⅛” – ½”
  • trowel or craft stick
  • cheesecloth
  1. First, place the mosaic tile sheet inside the planter tray. Using scissors, trim the backing to fit into place.
  2. To add a splash of color and avoid cutting tiles, fill in empty spaces along the perimeter with small, colored ceramic tiles. To add color to the interior design, arrange a few colored tiles on top of the wall tiles to see what type of design you would like.
  3. Using a precision knife, cut then remove the single wall tiles you wish to replace with the small colored ceramic tiles. Place the smaller tiles where you have removed the wall tiles and see how you like your design.
  4. Next, remove all tiles from the tray, put on disposable gloves then apply adhesive to both the tray and the back of the sheet of tile. Press and adhere the sheet of tile to the tray—carefully wipe away excess adhesive with a slightly damp sponge or hot wet rag.
  5. Add adhesive to the back of the colored tiles (you may want to use more adhesive to level them with the other tiles). Press them into place then wipe away excess adhesive. Allow tiles to cure 5−6 hours.
  6. Once the tiles have set, remove any adhesive that may have dried on your tiles by lightly soaking it with a hot wet rag, then scrape it using a non-scratch scour pad—if it’s being stubborn, try using a little nail polisher remover.
  7. Put on your disposable gloves, follow directions on the package of grout to mix then apply using a trowel or craft stick. Spreading it on the diagonal will ensure the grout fills in more evenly. Wait 10−20 minutes for grout to set then remove excess grout with a damp sponge.
  8. Wait 2 hours then polish tiles using cheesecloth to finish the project. Relax and serve some well-deserved drinks on your new tray!
Before removing any tiles to apply adhesive, take a photo of your design so you’ll know exactly where to replace the tiles.