Glass tiles sparkle in an informal abstract checkerboard pattern.

How to Make Designs With One-Inch Glass Tiles

by Christina Ash

From detailed mosaic designs to large-scale geometric patterns, the versatility of 1-inch glass tiles allows crafters of every level of experience to create visually interesting designs. The small size of the tiles allows the artist to combine them in numerous ways, the different finishes and textures play against each other for contrast, and the wide color selection inspires many different effects.

1. Drawing the Scale Plan

Draw a scale plan of the area you're planning on tiling. To do this, measure the dimensions of the area in inches, then select a piece of graph paper which allows you to use at least one square of the grid on the paper per inch of real-life space. For example, if you're covering a table that's 36 inches by 24 inches, you'll need paper that is at least 36 squares by 24 squares in size. If your paper is bigger than this, then you can use more than one square to represent each tile -- just be sure to draw the correct gridlines. Draw the shape of your tiling area to scale on the graph paper and write the measurements alongside each edge. If you plan to use a repetitive pattern across a large area, then you need only do a scale plan for the actual tiling pattern.

2. Geometric Designs

Stripes and checkerboards provide simple yet visually stunning design elements. For small areas, choose narrow stripes and small squares, just a few 1-inch tiles wide or square. Draw the outlines of your geometric design on the graph paper, using a pencil in case you change your mind. Stripes of the same width give uniformity to the design, while varying the widths adds a sense of energy and movement. Using colored pencils, color in the design. Restricting your color selection to a few colors close to each other on the color wheel produces a calm effect, while using more colors or colors with more contrast gives a brighter look to your tile design.

3. Mosaic Designs

One-inch glass tiles are frequently used to create mosaic designs, either of repeating patterns, scenes, pictures, or abstract designs. If you can draw well, draw your pattern or picture freehand onto your scale graph paper; otherwise, print or draw a scale grid on tracing paper, place it over the picture you want to use, and then trace the parts you're interested in. Color in your design to match the tile colors in your color scheme. One-inch glass tiles come in a wide variety of colors, so you can achieve shading and highlighting effects by using subtle variations of color.

4. Contrast to Other Tiles

Designs made with glass tiles stand out in contrast when placed against materials with contrasting textures. Highlight part of your design by setting 1-inch glass tiles against 1-inch ceramic mosaic tiles in the same color, as the difference in texture and reflectivity provides contrast in both geometric and mosaic patterns. Alternatively, use mirror 1-inch glass tiles as a border around your design.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images