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The Green Life: Eco Athlete Tip: Get Creative

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June 19, 2008

Eco Athlete Tip: Get Creative

Tara Kirk | Swimming

Breaststroke champion Tara Kirk lives green in affordable, DIY ways. When it came time for new dishes in her Palo Alto, California, apartment, she glued the old ones together to make a colorful tabletop. And rather than replacing her couch when she wanted a fresh look, she covered it with $100 of faux suede. "I had serious doubters," Kirk says, "but it worked."

Learn how to make a tabletop like this one by Tara Kirk


Have you found creative ways to reuse household items? Tell us about your projects!

You'll need:

3-4 old ceramic dishes of different patterns and colors
2-3 heavy paper grocery bags
Safety glasses
1 small side table (try secondhand shops, Craigslist, or Freecycle if you don't have one)
Ceramic-tile adhesive
Black grout
Tile sealant


  1. Put 2-3 dishes in a grocery bag and roll the top shut.
  2. Wearing the safety glasses, hit the bagged dishes several times with a hammer until broken into 1-3 inch wide pieces.
  3. Empty the bag into a tub or bucket and carefully set aside the flatter pieces (you'll use these on the table). Put larger curved pieces back in the bag and use the hammer to break them into smaller and flatter pieces about 2 or 3 inches wide.
  4. Arrange the flat ceramic pieces ("tiles") in a pattern on the tabletop.
  5. Using the adhesive, glue the tiles in place one at a time.
  6. When the glue dries, fill the spaces between the tiles with black grout. Kirk suggests spreading the grout over the entire design, and then wiping it off the tiles with a damp cloth.
  7. Allow the grout to dry and seal with a tile sealant.      

Refer to packages for drying times.


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