I knew that I wasn't going to be able to live with the first attempt at my encaustic tile floor for the Willowcrest kitchen. I did such a poor job, and this project deserves better! My next attempt still isn't exactly perfect, but I think the second try is going to be the charm. The four year old is very happy!
My wood did not arrive as I'd hoped. In fact, it was supposed to be here by today (at the latest). It has a UPS label, but as far as I can tell from the tracking, at the time of this writing, it hasn't even left the seller's shop yet. So, Plan B was to cut the 3/4" x 3/4" main body tiles from illustration art board using the Cricut Maker. Unlike me and the mini table saw, it did an amazing job! I had room to cleanly cut 99 tiles from one 9" x 12" board. I took that as a sign that we were about to embark on a very pleasant journey. In our optimism, the four year old and I sang "99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall" as we worked.
TIP: I like to use my old Cricut mats to cut heavier materials. Once they lose their stickiness, I use dots (every few inches) of Aleen's Tack It Over & Over to help hold the material in place. Any material that I have to use the knife blade for, I automatically use masking tape on the edges, as well. The Aleen's adhesive removes easily by simply rubbing your finger across it. It comes off like a sticky booger, so have something handy to wipe it onto. There is nothing worse, in the middle of a cut, than having the Cricut stop because the knife blade jammed. This step prevents that.
|First tile is set exactly in the middle of the floor template.|
|Main kitchen body tiles.|
Here, I am beginning to lay the first border tile. I had the wood on hand for this part of the floor design. It is 1/16" x 1/8" basswood. On my first floor, I cut and laid each individual tile. This caused the tile line to wonder a bit. In this floor, after I had laid the strip, I scribed in a tile line, using my Xacto blade. I began in the center and scribed each consecutive line every 3/4". The next row of tiles were offset to the middle of the tile above it. It looks much more consistent and you can't tell the the tiles aren't individually laid.
Here I have added a red border with the same 1/16" x 1/8" basswood, scribing the tiles in the same way.
And the final border tile is green but in 1/16" x 1/4" basswood. The area where the tile pattern is laid straight will be under the cabinets. You will see a bit of it under the stove, but I hoped, being different, it might add interest.
I had an idea to use wood floor paste wax to seal the floor. I thought it would be fun to do and would create a very shiny, smooth surface. Unfortunately, my test piece didn't turn out like I'd hoped. Warning bells were sounding, and unlike with the first floor, I listened to them. It may have turned out fine with many, many coats and much buffing, but I didn't want to take the chance, end up ruining it, then have to make a third floor. Ultimately, I used several coats of Krylon Colormaxx clear satin spray varnish.
Look ma! No gaps!
Finally, it was time for the finished floor's test fit. It is so exciting to reach this point, at last!
I had to load in some of the cabinets for a dress rehearsal. You can see the straight tiles under the stove. The border tiles and edges seem to be lining up pretty well...
How about the sink cabinets? Those seem good, too! By golly! I think it might be time to start installing all of the elements of this kitchen!