Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I often break ceramic/stone tiles with a hammer for a broken tile mosaic projects.  I do this outside and place the tiles on top of a flattened corrugated cardboard box (to avoid any inadvertent damage to the driveway).  An old towel is placed on top to keep the tile pieces from flying around as I hammer and break them.   Despite the towel – pieces could still fly out to the side, and I would have some sweeping up to do when done.  I came up with a solution by accident . . .

. . . why not use the old pizza box from the night before to contain the flying fragments?!   Just place your tiles within the open box.  Then place the towel on top of the tiles within the box and hammer away.  The sides keep the tile pieces safely within the box and provides for easier cleanup.

Ceramic or Stone Tiles
Old Pizza Box
Old Towel (it will tend to get cuts/holes)
Safety Goggles
Extra Cardboard Boxes to store broken tile pieces.

TIP#1 – I highly recommend wearing safety goggles for this process.  Even with the towel over the tiles it’s still possible for pieces to come flying out.  Recently, I purchased a new more comfortable pair from Lowe's for around $8.

TIP#2 - After you break a piece of tile a few times, look under the towel and pullout the small pieces that are the size you want and set them aside (small cardboard boxes work well here).  Continue to break the remaining pieces until they are the size you want.

TIP#3 – Make sure you clean up well after breaking tiles.  Those tiny pieces of broken tiles can be very sharp on bare feet and pet’s paws.
TIP#4 – Your local Habitat for Humanity Restore is a great place to pick up cheap tiles for these types of projects.

TIP #5 - I have used this method for breaking ceramic, travertine and marble tiles.  The only type of tile that I have had trouble with is slate which did not break easily for me.  It broke up in sheets /layers rather than broken pieces ideal for mosaics.

TIP#6 – Building a home or doing a renovation? – have the tile scraps from the installation set aside so you can use them later on mosaic projects.  Here are some projects I did in our home with the leftover ceramic floor tiles…

For all my mosaic posts, see my MOSAICS page.

1 comment:

  1. Breaking tiles is one of the common practices that people do for mosaics, and it is a convenient and wise thing to do. Rather than buying little tiles, which could be quite expensive, you get to make use of larger ones in multiple projects or parts of your mosaic. Anyway, thanks for sharing this with us, Susan. Good luck on your future projects!

    Debra Newman @ Unique Stone Concepts