Use What You Have Crafting

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I hate throwing things out. Not in a hoarder kind of way, I almost obsessively use whatever I save as quickly as possible. But if something looks like it may have another life, I just can’t waste it. There’s fodder for therapy in there someplace, but that’s a different blog.

Anyway, last week I acquired some samples from an architect I work with. Architects receive TONS of samples of really cool building materials in every crazy color imaginable… and most of it gets thrown away. Ask an architect, they’ll probably be thrilled to let you take this stuff off their hands.

Anyway, I came home a few weeks ago with binders full of carpet and tile samples.  Amelia was intrigued.These take a little work to remove each sample from the card, but with a spatula and a little muscle, they popped free.


So, what can you do with tile samples and little carpet squares?  First we redecorated Amelia’s dollhouse, of course – but we had some tiles left.


I recently read a mosaic paver idea that looked really cool, but it required plaster of paris, which we didn’t have.  So with the pavers in mind, I remembered a salt dough project we did a few months ago and thought it just might work. 

 Salt dough is really simple to make:

  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup warm water

Mix it all together and knead it until it forms a smooth ball. That’s it!  You can shape it with your hands, roll it, use cookie cutters, stamp, punch, whatever.  It is really easy to use, edible (blech!) and not sticky.

I didn’t find any information online about using salt dough for a mosaic, so we just pressed the tiles into the dough.  When all the tiles were gone, we started looking around the house for other small materials…we added rocks, glass marbles, and considered seashells. 


Salt dough can air-harden over several days, but it dries much faster in an oven on low heat.  We popped them into the oven and left them there for a good three or four hours to let them dry.  The dough doesn’t brown or burn, I think we could have left them even longer.


So, was it a success?  I think so!  A few of the round glass circles have popped off and we glued them back on, but the tiles with corners have stayed nestled in the dough.  Amelia proudly presented a few mosaics to Daddy for his birthday, and she’s saving the rest for future deserving recipients.  Or maybe she’s hoarding them…that’s my Girl!

 A few tips about salt dough:

  • If you are going to dry your creations in the oven, remember to use materials that won’t melt!
  • I lined the baking sheet with parchment paper just in case, but sticking didn’t seem to be a problem.
  • You can smooth rough edges on the hardened dough with sandpaper or an emery board.
  • Hardened dough can be painted or colored with markers.  You can also add food coloring to the soft dough.
  • I haven’t tried to put these outside so I don’t know for sure, but I suspect they may soften in wet or humid weather.

Want more mess? Check out Melanie’s blog!