For the environmentally conscious, a home remodel can be a distressing proposition. The old materials become waste, and many kerbside recycling companies do not accept ceramics and other construction materials from a home recycling bin. This requires the sustainably minded homeowner to think "outside the box" when faced with a collection of old tiles.
Recycling a tile does not have to mean sending it to the recycling centre, although there are channels through which a person can do so. Anyone with tiles on hand can recycle them by making them into craft projects, using them to decorate the garden, or donating them to an organisation that can use them. Reuse is a particularly effective way to recycle, as it involves little to no waste.
Even for the beginning crafter, a ceramic tile provides an ideal blank slate for experimentation. All you need is someceramic paint, a paint brush, and a vivid imagination. Be sure to buy paint brushes of varying sizes, so that you have a variety of sizes to choose from when designing your creation. Large brushes work well for backgrounds and sizeable blocks of colour, while smaller brushes allow for easier lettering, fine lines, and details. Many crafters also enjoy using ceramic paint pens, which allow for easier freehand drawing. These pens also work very well with young artists, as children can get creative with them with less mess than paint.Stamps and stencils also make great ceramic-painting accessories, particularly for artists who are less confident with freehand work.
When you have finished your painted tiles, you can get even more creative in making use of them. A typical ceramic tile is an ideal size for a coaster, which makes your newly painted creations a great way to bring some colour to your home. They can also make great spoon rests in the kitchen, paper weights in the office, or accent pieces for a garden path. Also, with a bit of ceramic or ceramic-safe glue, you can get even more creative. A mountable hook can make the tile into a colourful and personalised destination for a child's coat, while a picture frame hook can give you an exciting new place to hang artwork.
These unique pieces make ideal gifts as well. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives love receiving handmade items from children, and decorated tiles are a unique option. They become great gifts from adults and teenagers as well, particularly when the decorator personalises the item with the recipient's name or a thoughtfully individualised graphic.
Painting a whole tile is only one way to reuse such an item. By breaking a tile into pieces, you can create a colourful mosaic on a plain surface. Old garden tables and outdoor benches are often ideal places for such creations, which in turn make a drab surface look new again.
Tiles break easily with a hammer, which means you can make as many pieces as you would like. Begin by breaking your tiles down into small bits, then arrange them on the surface that you intend to decorate. Making your design before gluing the pieces down grants you more flexibility and allows you to change your vision if you feel so inspired. Once you have finished designing the mosaic, attach the tiles to the surface withtile adhesive or mortar. If there are any gaps in between the pieces, you can either leave them open to let the original surface show through, or you can fill them in with white or coloured grout.
For those without the time or inclination to craft, giving old tiles away is an ideal way to reduce waste. Many schools, camps, and community centres can use tiles for exciting new kids' crafts. If you give a call to a few such places in your area, you may find a grateful home for your old tiles. In addition, Freecycle network and other similar sites may help you find an artist in your area that can make good use of a tile collection. If you find yourself unable to re-home your tiles, however, salvage organisations or your contracted builder may be able to dispose of them.
On eBay, you can easily find all of the supplies you need for tile repurposing. Simply visit any eBay page and search for the type of product you need. Enter a more specific search term, such as " tile grout" instead of "grout," for more refined results. Be sure also to visit eBay Deal for money-saving offers on frames and other home decor items to accent your repurposed tiles.
With creativity, old tiles bring new life to a home. They give both children and adults the chance to experiment with design and colour, while encouraging a sustainable lifestyle of reuse. And because the process is so easy, anyone can recycle tile that otherwise would find its end in a landfill.