Paint Chip Mosaic Table

Hello again! I’ve had a little hiatus as I’m trying to get things ready for my move at the end of the year and been heckling work for more hours. On to the crafts!

If you’ve been around the craft blog-osphere much, you probably realize how late to the game I am with this one – it seems like the big paint chip craze was all a few months ago.

I have a cheap Wal-Mart table that I’d previously decoupaged, but it was my first attempt and wasn’t done very well*. After seeing this great paint chip wall art, I decided that it’s better late than never to hop on a craft bandwagon, and decided to go for it.

*I realized after finishing this project that, traditionally, decoupage uses with diluted glue. I used straight glue and it turned at well, and the directions below are for what I did, but feel free to dilute your glue with three parts glue to one part water.

Since many areas of my table were kind of beat up, I ended up decoupaging the top, bottom, and all the way down the legs, but this would look good with just the top done.


  • paint chips in coordinating colors (square or rectangular ones that are all one color)
  • pen
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • LOTS of glue
  • large foam brush (that you don’t mind possibly ruining it with glue and paint)
  • metallic paint in a color that goes with your paint chips
  • resin (optional*)

*can also use glass, plastic, or any other clear object or liquid that dries as clear

Step One: Measure Table

My paint chips were slightly rectangular with the shorter side measuring 2.5″, and the table I was working on measuring just under 20″ square. This meant that I should cut all of my paint chips to 2.5″ square, and would use 8 per row, and obviously this will vary based on whatever surface you’re using.

If you’re having trouble finding a measurement that will work, you could always decide to work from the middle of your area out, leaving paint chips overlapping the edge and then trimming them with an exacto knife.

Step Two: Lay Out Paint Chips

If you want a random pattern, feel free to skip this step. If you want to make sure that there’s not a cluster of the same color, lay out your rows of paint chips beforehand to make sure that there’s an even distribution of color, or to add in a pattern if you want.

Step Three: Cut to Size

Now that you have only the paint chips that you’re going to use, you can cut them to the size you worked out in step one. This is the time to make sure that you’re cutting off any visible brand marks or text (all the ones I picked had the paint company’s name on them). Even if you’re working from the center, make sure you cut off  the company’s name or logo, or it will show up in the finished project.

Step Four: Decoupage Table

This is actually a couple of steps, and if you’re unfamiliar with decoupage make sure to read closely. First, either squirt glue directly on the surface or pour it into a bowl, then use the paint brush to spread it out evenly. Place cut paint chips on top, and move on to another area. Work in small areas to make sure the glue doesn’t dry before there are paint chips on it.

After the surface is covered, go back to the first paint chips put down and paint a thick layer of glue over them, repeating for entire area, and allow to dry.

I enjoyed getting messy at this stage and diving in with my hands to spread glue around and push rebellious paint chips edges back down, it felt like I was a kid finger painting again.

When the table is dry, flip it over onto a flat, hard surface and let it stay there for a few hours or overnight. This helps push down any remaining curved edges and gets a much nicer, flatter finished top.

(after this step I tried one more thin layer of glue to get the last couple of slightly curved edges, though it didn't seem to help much)

Step Five: Repeat for Bottom of Table and Legs (OPTIONAL)

Unless your table is in really bad shape like mine was, I recommend not doing the entire table. The paint chips on the legs refused to lay flat and required more measurements, and the bottom of the table was tricky since it needs cut outs where the legs attach. Plus, doing just the top makes it look more like a mosaic table.

Step Six: Paint!

Pour your metallic paint into a bowl, and use your foam brush to paint on the paint chips (don’t squirt paint directly on the paint chips – it leaves a line where it lands, no matter how well you brush it around). Use a little paint at a time, to get a pleasant brush stroke effect that makes the table look pleasantly weathered.

Step Seven: Apply Resin (OPTIONAL)

Follow the directions that come with your resin – mine involved mixing together resin with a particular amount of catalyst, stirring really well, the pouring it on the table and spreading it out.

What I’d Do Differently Next Time:

Unless the bottom and legs of the table are a complete mess, I’d save myself the time and annoyance of decoupaging them as well. Doing just the top of the table took probably about an hour and a half to two hours (including stopping to try lots of positions for pictures), and adding on the bottom and legs added probably three hours to this project.

I would be more choose-y about what colors I used for paint chips. The golden metallic paint I used looked really nice on the greens and browns, but with the brighter and lighter blues it looks more dirty than weathered.

As for using resin to cover the table, I don’t particularly recommend it. Though it’s easy to spread since it’s a liquid at first, much of it ended dripping off the sides and leaving drip marks even after I wiped it off, and the edges around the top were unevenly coated since so much had gone down the sides.

This also involves mixing some chemicals together, and it’s incredibly sticky and hard to get off if it spills. Maybe try using Mod Podge and a clear glaze spray instead? (Somehow, I hadn’t heard of this until I was writing this post up, and then realized that it probably would have been perfect. Ack.)

What do you think? Are you already over the paint chip crafts, and have you done any of your own?

Posted on November 6, 2011, in Papercraft, Tutorial and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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