Breaking Tile for Mosaics

There are two commonly used methods for breaking tile used in mosaics. Before you begin any method, be sure to wear safety glasses and gloves to protect your hands. Pieces of broken tile does fly and can hurt unprotected eyes and skin. Using protection will make your experience safe and enjoyable.

Nipper Method

Using tile nippers is the most accurate method to break mosaic tiles. Below are the instructions for using this method.

  1. Hold the nippers in one hand gripping towards the end of the handles for good leverage.
  2. Hold the mosaic tile with your other hand. Position the nippers on the tile where you'd like it to cut.
  3. Squeeze the handles of the nippers and the tile will easily break.
  4. Continue nipping in this manner until all your tiles are finished. Generally you'll get about 4 pieces out of a 3/4" tile.

Hammer Method

If you don't have any tile nipper, you can use a hammer to break the tiles. Below are the instructions for using this method.

  1. Place your tiles in a this plastic bag. A ziploc bag will work.
  2. Place the bag on a hard, flat surface that won't be damaged by using a hammer on it. Sidewalks or driveways work well for this.
  3. Tap each tile individually until it breaks into about 4 pieces. Don't pound them too hard or the tiles will shatter on you. If the tiles won't crack, pound them slightly harder.


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