Looking for something creative and diverting to do with your lockdown hours, that results in a beautiful piece for your home? This simple, at-home jesmonite terrazzo guide might just hit the spot. You can buy everything you need online, and a small project will take a morning or afternoon, with a couple of coffee breaks built-in while you wait for materials to set – perfect!
What is terrazzo made from?
Terrazzo is simply a poured or cast material that’s full of separate chips. Sometimes those chips are marble, quartz, granite, glass or even precious metals, with cement poured over.
Can you make terrazzo at home?
Yes! Rather than worrying about cement, to make easy DIY terrazzo at home, we’re going to use jesmonite.
Jesmonite terrazzo is…
- easy to get hold of online
Now, I made my terrazzo using a handy kit from Katie Gillies. I can’t recommend Katie’s kits and video workshop enough. But the demand for these boxes is huge and unless you’re there refreshing the page on a drop day (as I was!) you’ll struggle to pick one up.
You could also try one of these kits:
Makers Gonna Make Kit
Round Or Square Kit
Terrazzo Coaster Kit
But don’t worry if you can’t get hold of a kit – you can source what you need online. So if you aren’t working from a kit, here’s everything you need.
What do you need to make homemade terrazzo?
- Jesmonite – make sure you get a two-part product, with base and liquid!
- A mould for round coasters, or a variety of shapes
- Plastic sheeting to spread your chips and protect your work surface
- Cups or bowls for mixing
- Wooden lolly sticks for stirring and spreading your chips thinly
- A dab of beeswax to seal
- A selection of sandpaper in various grits
Preparing to make your homemade terrazzo
Clear a workspace. You’ll need plenty of space – a dining table is ideal. Ensure you wear old clothes and carefully cover your work surface with the plastic sheeting. Jesmonite mixture does wash out, but spilled pigment is difficult to remove – so work carefully!
How to make your homemade DIY terrazzo coasters
1. Decide on your colour scheme and design
When making terrazzo, we start with the chips first, so you’ll want to know what colour your base (or background) will be so that you can ensure you have enough contrast. Then decide how many different colours you want in your chips – it could be just one, or it could be a dozen. If in doubt, use a white or black base the first time you work with terrazzo – any colour chips will look great with these.
2. Now make the chips to fill your terrazzo design
For each different colour chip, measure out 25g powder and 10g of liquid. This is the magic ratio of jesmonite terrazzo chips – 2.5 parts dry to 1 part wet. Mix quickly with a wooden stirrer until smooth.
3. Add your pigment
Start small! Pigments are very strong. I suggest dipping a cocktail stick into your pigment, then adding that to your jesmonite. You’ll be surprised how quickly it builds up. The more pigment you use, the stronger your colour will be. Experiment – this is the really fun part!
3. Spread the mixture out thinly
Once you’re happy with your colour, spread the chip mixture out onto your plastic sheeting – use the side of a lolly stick to keep it thin, smooth and even.
4. Repeat steps 2 – 4 with all other coloured chips you want
You can mix pigments to create deeper, more interesting colours. But be careful not to add so much liquid pigment that you change the ratio of wet-to-dry ingredients. Too much pigment will make it harder for the terrazzo to set properly.
5. Leave for 10 minutes to set
Once ready, the surface will be matte and the texture brittle. Give it a test break – if it doesn’t snap cleanly, leave it a few more minutes.
6. Crush your chips!
Break up the thin terrazzo shards with your hands – the finer you crush them, the smaller your coloured pieces will be. Keep the shards to one side while we make the base.
7. Mix up your base
Use 300g of powder and 120g liquid (the ratio here is a little dryer as we want our coaster base to be less brittle than the chips).
8. Add in your chips and stir well
Don’t take too long over this stage as your jesmonite will already start to set
9. Pour your combined mixture into your moulds
Level off with a lolly stick and leave for 30 minutes to an hour. Your moulds might get slightly warm as jesmonite setting is an exothermic reaction, but it won’t get hot
9. Once set, gently ease your coasters from their moulds
Don’t panic if they don’t look like much yet! You probably won’t be able to see many chips, but we’re going to sand away the excess to reveal the magic…
10. Wet your coaster and sand
Start with a course grit sandpaper and move gradually finer until you’re buffing the surface smooth. Sand until you reveal the desired amount of chips. The next shot shows one coaster before sanding and one after – see how much of the chips is revealed below a millimetre of base mixture?
11. Seal with beeswax
Add a dab of beeswax or other clear-finish sealant and rub into the surface of your coasters to finish them.
Voila! You made your own beautiful terrazzo coasters.