Steph (not my sister) asked how we made the mosaic fireplace. It's exactly the same process as tiling but much more fun.
- Prepare the surface by cleaning it and removing any loose material.
- Smash some old plates, cups, ceramic tiles or whatever into small pieces (it's all fun and games until somebody loses as eye, so do wear safety goggles).
- Our design was random, but if you want to make a pattern mark it out on the surface before you start.
- Using a grout spreader, spread readymixed multipurpose grout over part of the area to be tiled. We didn't grout the whole area in case some of it dried out, so we just did a square foot or so at a time. If you're making a pattern, mark it into the grout by dragging the edge of your spreading tool, to make a line so you can see what you're doing. (At this point I should say that grout is very caustic so wear gloves. But we didn't.)
- Press bits of crockery into the grout. Ours slid about a bit but they didn't fall off so we just kept going. Keep the spaces between them about 1/8 - 1/2 inch or so. You need some space to get grout in, but you don't want big white areas.
- Let your design dry overnight. We found at this stage there were some big lumps of grout sticking up but they rubbed off fairly easily with our fingers after only a day. They'd probably have gone harder if we left them longer.
- Rub more grout into the spaces between the tiles. Work it in well taking care not to leave air gaps. Rub the grout more-or-less smooth with your fingers, and don't worry about getting it on the surface of your tiles. you can wipe it off in the next step.
- With a moist sponge, wipe over the surface of your mosaic to remove excess grout and smooth the grout lines. Allow the grout to harden overnight, then give it a final clean up with an old toothbrush.
Bear in mind that the end result is more decorative than practical. You can't make it level and smooth no matter what you do, so it's not really suitable for tables, trays etc. You can't easily clean it because stuff tends to get stuck in the grout recesses so it's not really suitable for bathrooms or kitchens. Suitable projects include house number plaques, garden ornaments, mirror and picture frames, "sculptural forms" etc. Or you could mosaic entire buildings, cathedrals and public parks if you are an insane genius.