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Linoleum asphalt mosaics, also called Toynbee Tiles, are artworks permanently embedded in pavement. In this video I’ll show you how to construct your own from inexpensive materials. You can get real linoleum (don’t use vinyl flooring) for this project by ordering free samples online. By cutting out a mosaic design in the linoleum and sandwiching it between layers of paper, wood glue, and asphalt crack filler, you can affix the mosaic very permanently to an asphalt surface, such as your driveway. You may choose to use a heat gun to make the linoleum easier to cut, or even a laser cutter. The earliest examples of these tiles were found in the 70s and 80s on streets in Philadelphia, all bearing the same (or very similar) message: “Toynbee idea / in Kubrick’s 2001 / resurrect dead / on planet Jupiter.” They are speculated to have been created by the same person until they began to gain a following. There’s an active message board on the topic which shares sightings and other information. If you make one, please share your pictures in the CRAFT Flickr pool!

Subscribe to the CRAFT Podcast in iTunes, or download the mov, mp4, or iPhone/Android video.

Thanks to my pal Matt Mechtley for his help on this one. In this video I used this cc-licensed photo by Flickr user mojunk. The music is “Regurgitation Pumping Station” from the World of Goo soundtrack by Kyle Gabler; used with permission.


Becky Stern

Becky Stern is head of wearable electronics at Adafruit Industries. Her personal site: sternlab.org


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Comments

  1. tenax8.myopenid.com says:

    Great video.
    It looks like when you first glue the mosaic face down on the paper, you say it’s tar paper but it looks like two sheets of construction paper? I’d imagine the latter would be better because it might get exposed sooner, but does it matter?

  2. Rebecca Stern says:

    In the beginning I said that if you live in a climate where it doesn’t rain very much, you can get away with using construction paper. Since I live in Arizona, this is the case. If you use construction paper and it rains within the first couple of days, your tile is at risk of getting washed away or never adhering to the pavement.

  3. Sarahbean says:

    I think this video is very informative. Someday I will make one myself. Thanks for sharing your process.

  4. Anonymous says:

    you are diluting a movement that deserves more respect than this, don’t be one of “them”.. delete this video. first and only time I will ask.

  5. greg says:

    hi matt!
    sweet video, i’ve always loved these, the asphalt inserts inspire the most paranoid of theories =D I think i may try this when it warms up a bit.
    ps. nice world of goo music plug!

  6. Justin Duerr says:

    Thanks for helping this movement spread! YOU must make and glue tiles YOU!!!

  7. MOLLY says:

    i first saw one of these in chicago i think it was on the corner of michigan and uhh… jackson? i felt i had to know about it, but how? then i saw a few in philly and it really made me interested. so glad to finally know about it.

  8. Laser engraved tungsten rings says:

    Any recomendations on how to start a blog for teens?

  9. Matthew says:

    I went to home depot and bought all the materials but cannot find linoleum as apparently they stopped making it in the 70s. What can I use instead?

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