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Craft a work of art from glass tiles to make this dramatically different headboard.
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This headboard was designed to fit a queen-size bed. For larger or smaller beds, extend the pattern at the sides or trim the pattern (Tile Headboard Flower Pattern) to the size you need. If necessary, map out pattern extensions on graph paper. You can estimate the necessary size of the backer panel by measuring whole tile sheets laid edge to edge.
Cut the frame top and bottom (A), sides (B), and middle rail (C) to size (Tile Headboard Project Diagram, Cutting Diagram). From the 23/32 plywood, cut the panel (D) to size.
Most plywood is made with one face more attractive than the other. Build the headboard with the smoothest face on the outside for the most even surface to attach the tile.
Drill countersunk 1/8-inch pilot holes in the panel (Project Diagram, Drawing 1). Glue and screw the frame pieces to the back of the panel, making sure the screw heads are flush with or slightly below the surface of the panel.
Cut the side trim (E) equal to the height of the frame and panel (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Glue and nail the side trim in place.
Measure between the outside edges of the side trim; cut the top and bottom trim (F) to length. Glue and nail the bottom trim to the side trim and frame. Set aside the top trim.
Set the nails and fill the holes with wood putty. Sand the trim and apply two coats of paint. (It’s okay if a little paint touches the plywood panel.)
While the paint is drying, cut two wall cleats (G) to length and check that they fit loosely between the frame sides (B).
On a table or other large, flat surface, cut strips and sections of tile in different colors to match the Tile Headboard Flower Pattern and lay them out. Where possible, use whole strips and multiple rows.
This pattern will use nearly all of four squares of Bay Breeze tiles. Purchase one extra square of Bay Breeze if you want to work with the larger tile sections.
Beginning at the top left corner of the headboard panel, trowel tile adhesive on a small area and level it with the toothed trowel edge. Working row by row, lay tiles on the adhesive. Place a 1 x 4 scrap on the tiles, and tap it lightly with a hammer or rubber mallet to bond the tiles to the adhesive. Move the wood and continue tapping until they’re firmly in place.
You can use tile spacers between the cut sections, but aligning the tiles visually will better create the more imperfect look of a true mosaic.
Continue adding rows until you reach the bottom. To make certain the tiles end up even with the edge of the panel and frame, lay the final rows in place without adhesive and adjust the spacing as needed to avoid wide grout lines between any two rows. Then attach the final tiles to the plywood and allow the whole mosaic to dry for two days before applying grout.
Mix grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions and use a grout float to press grout between the tiles. Then use the float edge and diagonal passes to remove the surplus grout from the tile surface.
Along the top, where the trim hasn’t been installed yet, do not allow grout to interfere with the later installation of the top trim.
After a grout haze begins to form on the tiles, use a moist sponge to wipe them clean. Rinse the sponge frequently for the best results.
If necessary, use your finger to wipe grout into the edges and corners around the frame. Then wipe away the surplus grout and wipe the tile surfaces and frame clean.
Allow the grout to dry for at least three days before moving the headboard.
Using a level, install the lower cleat (G) far enough off the floor so that the bottom of the headboard trim will rest just above the mattress. (The mattress shouldn’t rub against the bottom trim.) Where possible, screw the cleat into wall studs. If no studs are near the ends, use toggle-bolt wall anchors as needed.
Confirm the distance from the inside edge of the frame top (A) to the outside edge of frame bottom -- it should be 38-1/4 inches (Tile Headboard Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Screw the top cleat so its top edge is the same distance (38-1/4 inches) from the top edge of the bottom cleat.
With a helper, lift the headboard into position so that the frame rests on the cleats. While pressing it against the wall, drive #8 x 4-in screws through the frame top into the top wall cleat (Tile Headboard Project Diagram, Drawing 3).
Nail the top trim to the frame top and side trim, but not the plywood. (Avoid gluing this piece -- it’ll make the headboard easier to remove later.) Sink the nails beneath the surface, fill the holes, and sand smooth. Touch up the trim paint as needed.
If there’s a gap between the tile edge and the inside face of the top trim, fill it with grout pressed in place with your finger. Wipe surplus grout from the tile faces and frame.
Part wall art, part bedroom furnishing -- you can vary the tile colors, design, and size to complement any room decor.