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Materials:
IKEA Groland birch kitchen island (item# 401.574.85)

Here’s a stone mosaic hack I performed on an IKEA kitchen island back in 2008.

IKEA GROLAND birch kitchen island

IKEA GROLAND Mosaic Kitchen Island

I started with the Groland birch kitchen island (item# 401.574.85), which is a very sturdy and admirable solid wood kitchen island. It isn’t particle board, plywood, or veneer. However, it comes unfinished, so many people probably stain or paint it. I went quite a bit further as you will see.

(1) First I stained the whole thing, although I didn’t bother staining the top since the whole idea was to cover the top with a stone mosaic.

(2) Then I put a frame around the top which extended above the top by the height of mosaic pieces. You can see how the frame extends above the top in the second photo. Mosaicing requires filling in the entire area with liquid grout, so the entire area to be mosaiced must be a shallow framed “bowl”.

(3) At some point, I also added some decorative copper nails to the frame, as you can see in the later photos.

(4) Once framed, I drew a square grid onto the top and manually transferred the outline of the design from the computer to the top of the island, using the grid as a guide. You can see the grid and design outline in the second photo. The design itself, which some viewers might find rather curious, is from my PhD research on an obscure area of mathematics known as “surface topology”. You can read more about it on my website.

(5) I purchased 12″ x 1/2″ floor tiles from Home Depot in three materials and colors: black marble, while marble, and brown granite. I then smashed the tiles with a hammer to create mosaic pieces.

(6) I dry fit the pieces into the mosaic pattern, which took a long time and consisted of arduously hunting for just the right piece to fill any given location. You can see this process in the second photo.

Finding the right piece

(7) I finally glued the stone pieces to the island top (if I recall correctly, I simply used standard wood glue). You can see the result in the third photo, which shows the pieces glued down but with gaps between them, to soon be grouted to depth.

Glue on the mosaic pieces

Grouting the mosaic pieces

(8) Finally, I grouted the whole thing (probably also purchased from Home Depot; I don’t really remember). You can see the final result, including zoomed detail in the last photos.

That’s it. Enjoy.

~ Keith Wiley