How Do You Tile Around Curves?

November 11, 2016 13 Comments

HOW DO YOU TILE AROUND CURVES? keystoning

Keystoning is a cutting technique in which your square tesserae goes around curves without leaving a large 'V' gap on the outside of the curve. When executed well your grout lines will run parallel and you won’t have a triangular space between the tiles. This technique has been practiced since ancient times, as you can see in the mosaic below.  

So why use keystoning? When you use this technique your tiles follow a continual curve, and fit together from top to bottom. The tiles maintain a parallel edge so the grout lines are all consistent.

 This is what you are trying to avoid:

Learn how to tile around curves

 

Here is a technique I developed when first practising keystoning, with a bit of practice however you will be able to get the correct angle just by sight.

  1. Find the centre of the circle or curve
  2. Position the tile so that the maximum surface area is against the edge of the circle or curve.
  3. Get a ruler and position it so that it runs from the centre of the circle or curve to the tile.
  4. Draw a line on the tile where the ruler runs, this is your cutting line. You are basically removing that part of the tile that doesn't follow the edge of the circle or curve.

       Keystoning technique picture 1      Keystoning technique picture 1

       Learn how to tile around curves

    Here are a few key points about keystoning:

    • The smaller the curve the sharper the angle.
    • You should find that your tiles are about the same size and shape when cutting tiles for a circle (you may need to make an adjustment to the last tile to fit the circle).
    • If you make an angle too sharp the next cut will have to be cut on the opposite angle, which will result in the circle or curve losing its flow.
    • If you find it difficult to achieve the right angle make small cuts and work the tesserae to the right shape slowly.

     


    13 Responses

    Sue Warwick
    Sue Warwick

    March 17, 2019

    Fantastic skill…thx

    Deb Ripley
    Deb Ripley

    March 17, 2019

    Thank you so much for these wonderful visual techniques and pictures!

    Judy Molder
    Judy Molder

    March 17, 2019

    Thank you so much! Makes it so much easier now that I know the technique

    Gayle C Rich-Boxman
    Gayle C Rich-Boxman

    March 17, 2019

    Thank you! I am self-taught and constantly perfecting my techniques. I’d love to see an actual video on this, if possible. Your online site is always helpful. Found you on Pinterest.
    Gayle

    Cheryl
    Cheryl

    March 17, 2019

    Just read your advice on cutting tiles on a curve. Great info thanks.

    MIchelle
    MIchelle

    November 12, 2018

    Very helpful – especially for a beginner like me. Thanks.

    Ali Casado
    Ali Casado

    November 12, 2018

    Thank you Martie for the pictures with the explanation. Pictures, as they, are worth a thousand words. I’m also a visual person. I am doing a celestial mosaic of the sun/moon and those pictures and instructions are priceless.

    FRancoise
    FRancoise

    November 13, 2018

    Thanks for the very effective technique

    TIna
    TIna

    November 13, 2018

    Thank you so much for this information. Never realized how to work it to be near perfect. Much appreciated!

    Patsy
    Patsy

    November 13, 2018

    Thank you so much for the instructions on the way to go around a circle with the tile.

    Marsha Lywandowsky
    Marsha Lywandowsky

    May 17, 2017

    Thank you so much for this info. I’m trying to teach myself how to work with mosaic tiles and your directions are very easy to follow. Can’t wait to try this technique!!

    Guest
    Guest

    March 15, 2015

    Thanks Mardie its good to see those pictures as it makes more sense to me.
    What is the best item to use to cut the tiles???

    Robyn Colling
    Robyn Colling

    March 15, 2015

    thanks Mardie sometimes you just need to see pictures of what to do, this version is so much easier to understand than the written explanation I willnever be afraid of a curved pattern again Regards Robyn Colling

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