Nicole’s DIY Daltile mosaic tile floor

“The meaning of insanity or dedication?”

midcentury tile patternNicole could not wait 10 weeks for Daltile to deliver the custom color mosaic tile that she designed using their Mosaic Tile Designer. So she took matters into her own hands — literally. She bought the pieces and made her own mosaic tile floor. 

Sure, it’s what we call “some therapy” to piece together a mosaic floor like this. But, the spaces that Nicole was having tiled were relatively small, so we surmise that the job was not … too mind boggling.

vintage tile

Nicole first created the pattern she wanted, using Daltile’s Mosaic Design Tool.

Nicole writes:

The meaning of insanity or dedication? I’m creating my own custom “random” pattern mosaic 12″ x 12″s because Daltile’s custom option takes 10 weeks. We’re redoing our family room. We wanted tile at the exterior door entry (3′ x 3′) and under the wood stove (4′ x 4′). Our contractor will be setting the tile into the floor and carpeting around it.


Basically the process to make each tile mosaic sheet is: Break apart the tiles; cut all the glue nubs off each tile; place and space (affiliate link) the design; criss-cross tape over the top of the tiles; remove spacers; repeat.

Our contractor has been sooo great. I’m impressed that he’s willing to let me do this experiment in custom tile, and he and his employee have given support and ideas along the way. Thanks for the interest in my project. 🙂

midcentury mosaic floor tile midcentury mosaic floor tile

A few days after our initial emails with Nicole, the project was done and she sent us a few photos of the finished floor. Kate tried to just count how many tiles were in each 12″ square of the pattern and her eyes crossed after counting to 60. Our hats are off to you, Nicol. For sure: We call it “dedication”!

Link: Daltile’s Mosaic Designer

dog-showerMore stories about designs using Daltile’s Mosaic Designer:


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  1. Mary Elizabeth says

    Wonderful, creative job, Nicole! The most I ever did was cut strips off three sheets of tiles to rearrange the design for my kitchen backsplash. And that was hard enough for me. Hats off to you!

    • Nicole says

      Thanks! Cutting apart the tile and taking off the glue tabs was painful work. Blisters were made. All worth it though!

      • Joe Felice says

        And guess what! That’s how they did it back in the day. We didn’t have ready-made stuff for decorating.

  2. midmichigan says

    It looks great; nice work!! I’m sure you’ll get many years of use and satisfaction every time you look at the floor there. I love that MCM pattern.

    • Nicole says

      We wanted a little carry-over from our beloved 1959 ranch rental in our first home. That inspired using the pattern for the entryway, and we decided to use it for the wood stove too.
      I don’t think of the hours I spent when I see it. I just feel satisfied with a job done my way, as you mentioned.

  3. Jay says

    Well sheer insanity yielded to utter satisfaction for you; coordinates nicely with the wood stove. Also an inspiration to others who have to fast track their projects.

    • Nicole says

      Thank you! I’m one of those people that finds repetitive work soothing. It would have been more fun without such a tight deadline.

  4. ineffablespace says

    Can you still get to the Daltile Mosaic Tile Designer from their own site?
    I was able to find if for about two days through a direct link and then it seemed to disappear. Sometimes you can find something that alludes to it in their Search but it leads you circularly back to a page that you can’t get to it from.

    I like Daltile, and I think a lot of people overlook a lot of their offerings when searching for tile, but I find their online site to be a strange and labyrinthine place where information on the website differs from information in the online catalogue, and both of these can vary in terms of what is actually available.

    I wanted a specific cove piece from the line of tile used by Nicole and was told by both the staff and the regional rep that the piece was no longer manufactured, so I order the Nex Best Thing.

    In bath #2 I wanted this same trim piece so I order the Next Best Thing piece. So what did they deliver? The piece that they said they no longer manufactured. No one had an explanation.

    The staff and rep both told me that custom design was not available in the tile options that I wanted (such as above in this thread) and when I showed them on the page where it said so, they said it was for limited things. When I linked to the page that showed that it was available for the product I wanted, the rep said “Oh wow, look at that. I don’t know if that’s correct though.”.

    I’m finding it a kind of bizarre parallel universe kind of experience where it seems to be in alternate universe B but not in alternate universe A.

    Anyway if you can tell me how to link to it from their own site that would be great.

    • pam kueber says

      I hear ya. I was frustrated when preparing the story because links in our previous stories were broken. I persevered and found the link to tile designer via google — I figured it must be there, because Nicole had a screen shot. I cannot find it using the Search box on the daltile site per se. My hotlink is in the first paragraph of the story.

      We may be the only ones who know about the Custom Mosaic Designer (they have changed the title over the years, too, I think.)

      • ineffablespace says

        But do you think it’s actually “active” as in available to use, or do you think it’s one of those things that’s just floating around in cyberspace? The way the rest of their site is set up I can totally imaging their IT breaking the links from the catalog to “get rid” of it without actually undoing the page itself.

        You can’t link back to anything important like the homepage from the link in the article, so I am a big skeptical that the designer is still an truly viable option. If you can’t get to it from their own site is anybody supposed to be able to use it?

        • ineffablespace says

          Sorry for the typos: “imagine” and “bit” skeptical.

          But maybe big skeptical is more descriptive.

        • pam kueber says

          me no know. Nicole said it was gonna take 10 weeks, so it sounds like you can get it. I think this has long been an issue with this Tile Designer. Folks in the stores don’t even know it exists. But you can get it.

          • ineffablespace says

            I dunno either, because maybe three months ago I could still find it on the site, and then it disappeared, so the disappearance has been recent. I will probably end up using a solid color anyway.

            • Nicole says

              I had the same loop problem as you getting to the designer and was getting super frustrated (it’s the only way to get any idea of how the tiles will look next to each other since the samples are glued down to the board). I gave up and my husband found it for me. I had to bookmark the link because it just doesn’t connect right through the daltile website. The ten week (25 square foot minim without a set up fee) requirements were given to me by an employee at the Daltile store here in Portland. Flore stores carrying the tile retail had no idea about the designer option for Keystone tile.

        • Janice says

          The designer is there! I just played with it yesterday. It’s at . I had to type in the address.

  5. Panzyzz says

    We did the same thing in our bathroom! Since our main bathroom is tiny, we didn’t need much and our “tile guy” was accommodating, he actually pulled pieces out and put others in to create the mosaic I was looking for. Gotta love mosaic tile – so many possibilities!

  6. valvashon says

    Imagine getting up this morning and finding our tile pattern (or something very close) on RetroRenovation! Our house was put up in 1961, so that’s an accurate date for this type of pattern. This (if it works) is a shot of the Master Bathroom shower; this same tile/pattern is in the bathroom itself and the pattern and grey/white tiles are in the main bathroom. The grout all needs replacing- imagine how crazy making using the grout remover tool is going to be on this pattern!

  7. mikey Renn says

    Beautiful! I usually don’t care for neutrals, but the way this is set up and that new darker carpet around the tiles is outstanding and very pleasing to the eye. I now wish we could see the entire room along with the new tile in front of the door- I try to imagine it compared to the first “before” pic. Bet it’s wonderful!

    • Nicole says

      Thank you for the specific compliment! I wish I snapped a shot: we also have a nook for records in the room with a great Marmoleum from the Graphite line. The room isn’t all “put away” yet; makes photos difficult. 😉

  8. says

    Excellent tiling job. I am a mosaic artist and have done quite a bit of tiling in our home. There are several tricks Mosaic artists use to get things square but you did a fabulous job here and it looks perfect. Later on – if Pam and readers would like – I can list several products and give tips on how to do this. The mesh mount paper is one of several good products. I may even have a copy of the design software on one of my product cds. (I use to collect everything I could at trade shows and mosaic conferences). I am a bit under the weather at the moment but would be happy to do this next week when feeling better.

    • Nicole says

      I’m so accustomed to the masterful quality of tile work in our mid century home that it’s hard for me to call this perfect. But I do appreciate a compliment from someone who knows how to do it. This was an emergency hack, I’m so glad there are other (easier) ways to make unique and custom choices.

  9. Scott says

    I can’t even imagine attempting this but then to have it come out so perfectly too! The doggie shower (and photo of) are just priceless.

    Somehow I missed the Daltile Mosiac Tile Designer before so I can’t wait to play around with that.

  10. Anne says

    Hi –

    So I might be doing something like this – breaking up sheets of hex tile to make my own pattern – I will not be showing the talent Nicole displayed – I’m not getting down to single tile, more strips of tile (doing a modified grey and white hex pattern in a large scale in a bathroom). Doing that, can I leave it on the back mesh in those strips?

    I would use spacers between the separate strips.



  11. says

    One of these days I’ll send more info on how to make this process easier. (making a template) But I think your readers are doing a fabulous job. There is a product “SimpleMat Adhesive Tile Setting Mat.” It eliminates having to put thinset on the wall or counter top. I believe the tile has to be at least 1 inch square but it might work on smaller tile if you are leaving it on the mesh.

  12. sam says

    Wow, this looks exactly like my 1970 bathroom floor! I’m renovating my bathroom and plan on keeping it, looking at doing a niche in the same colour / pattern to tie the new look of the bathroom with the old floor

  13. chad sullivan says

    LOVE IT….. gonna do the same thing for a shower wall mosaic i,m installing…. thats for all the info…

    question for you… what was the tape you used? do you think that your technique would work on a wall application and not just on the floor?
    thanks again and keep up the great tips…

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