Paper Mosaic Chest – Part 1 of 2

I love to upcycle and I am a frequent shopper at Estate Sales, Second Hand Stores and Garage Sales.  You just never know what you’re going to find and I always have an eye peeled for those items that fit squarely in the “what could I do with that” category.


As usual, I forgot to get a good “before” picture, but this was a small (8″ x 8″ x 4″)              3-drawer chest that had been tole painted, but was not very appealing.  The 2nd hand store had it priced at $3.00.  All I’ve done to it at this point is, using an acrylic paint in Warm White, paint all the outside edges and the inside of the drawers to prep it for a major transformation.  This blah little chest is about to become a beautiful  chinoiserie mosaic.


My favorite craft supply designer Tim Holtz has come up with a new way to make a mosaic using paper.  Yes, I said PAPER and it’s so cool.  It’s a 3-part process and it comes in this handy-dandy little kit called, appropriately enough, Tim Holtz Distress Paper Mosaic Kit.  Now for the exact instructions on how best to use these pots and bottles of wonder I recommend you go to Tim’s blog @ timholtz.com/blog/ and check out his how to video Distress Paper Mosaic Kit.  In my blog post here I will attempt to highlight the “outside the box” possibilities  of this product and a few techniques I learned while working with this fun paper mosaic kit.


First off, I knew I wanted to make this chest look like I had used the broken china mosaic style, a.k.a. Pique Assiette and I also knew I wanted it to be in those rich deep blues commonly found in the chinoiserie style popular in the 18th century.  A quick online Etsy search and I found just what I was looking for in a digital download of 12 different printable papers for only $5.35 and of course, I get to print those as many times as I like.



But before I started adding “tiles” I knew I would want to raise this little chest up just a bit so I gave it some “feet” using wood beads I had in my stash.  Their shape went well with the round drawer pulls that were already on the chest’s three drawers.  My glue of choice for attaching the feet – E6000.  I also decided to paint the pulls and feet before I started adding the paper tiles, though I did need to do some touch up on those when I was finished with the tile work.  I went with a pearlized deep blue.

Next step is to grout all the surfaces you will want to add tiles to and areas that are exposed and would look better if they shared the grout “look”. Example:  On this project I decided I didn’t want to add tiles to the narrow strips of wood separating the drawers, but I think the overall look is better for those to have a grout finish than to be left just painted only.  However, another project I did with this kit (see my previous post “Mosaic Miracle” in August 2016) shows an example of where I did not add grout in some spots – it just depends.

I like using a pliable plastic palette knife for the application of the grout.  Let it dry completely and DON’T use a heat gun to hurry it along.  It drys fairly quickly anyways.  Once the grout is totally dry you can start to add the tiles.  Note:  You can color this grout if you prefer something other than white.  Either color the grout before you apply it or color it after it’s dry (again, see Tim’s video for specs).


I just started randomly cutting the 12 sheets of prints into separate piles with the average size piece being about 1½” x 1½” knowing I would be trimming them to fit as I went along.  I only cut up half a sheet of each print at a time – you never know when you might need a larger piece so maybe hold off cutting them all into smaller tiles at first.


This is what my work sheet looked like when I started on the first drawer. I always keep another pile of all the little pieces I trim off as I go along, they’re good for filling in those small gaps that will occur as you lay down the initial large pieces.


This is the glue you will be using to secure your “tiles”.  Remember, refer to Tim’s video for the “how-to” instructions, but, I will add here that I found it easier to scoop out a fair amount of the glue on to my craft sheet  where I spritzed a bit of water.  This way I can cap off the glue pot so it doesn’t dry out and the glue on your sheet will stay fresher sitting


in those water drops and you can always pick up just a bit of water on your brush and blend it in with the paste if it’s starting to get a bit too tacky.  You may have noticed the dental pick off to the right?  This is what I use to move my tile around when I’ve first put it onto the project if it’s not in exactly the right spot.  You can usually buy old dental tools from your dentist, they go through them pretty fast and will sell them cheap or maybe even give them to you for free!

So ends part 1, part 2 coming right up – till then, craft on.



2 thoughts on “Paper Mosaic Chest – Part 1 of 2

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