How to Do Mosaics
Mosaics are works of art created by using glass or ceramic tiles and grout to make a picture. They date as far back as 1500 BC and are all over the world. Mosaics adorn the ceilings in cathedrals with elaborate details or they can be found in a simple pattern on the coffee table in your home. With practice, you can create a custom mosaic all your own.
Preparing to Create Your Mosaic Art
Select the material you wish to use.Pieces of material used in a mosaic art are called tesserae. They can be glass, stones, porcelain, seashells, or anything else you can find. You will also want to gather together any objects you might want to include.
Pick the foundation to adhere the mosaic tiles on.Tables, planters, birdbaths, or walking stones are just a few ideas to use.
Find a pattern you wish to make into a mosaic.
Transfer the design to your base.Lay it on a flat surface and rough lay the tesserae. Use glass or tile cutting tools to cut pieces to the desired size. You can also use a hammer to break pieces as well. Make sure the pieces are clean of any dirt or debris before laying them out.
Mix mortar per manufacturer recommendations.Apply it to the foundation using a trowel or spatula. While still wet, gently affix the mosaic tiles by pushing them into the mixture. Apply tiles starting in one corner of the design and work across in rows. Make sure you leave enough space between pieces for grout. You may also choose to put the mortar directly on the tile as if you are buttering it like a piece of toast. Apply the buttered piece directly to the foundation and press down to affix it in place.
Let the mortar set.Time varies depending on usage, so follow manufacturer recommendations. For pieces in your home, the timing is roughly 24 hours. Outdoor mosaics will need to set for 72 hours. Clean the mosaic tiles once more to clear away any extra mortar that may have risen to the top.
Prepare the grout mixture.Grout comes in many colors and there are colors you can add to the grout to change the coloring. Choose a color that accents your mosaic. Mix the grout by following the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Apply the grout using a spatula.Fill in the creases between the tiles. The grout should cover the mosaic enough to fill the gaps.
Let the grout set for 20 minutes, or the time advised by the manufacturer.Wipe the mosaic with a clean sponge and warm water. Rinse out the sponge regularly as you wipe away grout from the surface of the tiles.
Seal the mosaic with varnish.This will coat the tiles and safeguard against damage, especially for outdoor mosaics subjected to fluctuating temperatures and adverse weather conditions. It also will give a high gloss shine that will make the colors stand out.
QuestionCan I use only glue to do mosaic?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can use glue or caulk to affix pieces, but you will still want to use grout to smooth over the top and fill in the spaces between the pieces.Thanks!
QuestionCan I mosaic on glass windows?Kate WeaverCommunity AnswerYes. You can create a glass-on-glass mosaic by gluing stained glass on clear glass. Use a clear bonding agent though. Then, grout it as shown in this post.Thanks!
QuestionDo I need a special kind of mortar or varnish for outdoor mosaics?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSeal with marine-grade polyurethane (matte, not shiny).Thanks!
QuestionCan I make a mosaic on heavy paper board?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe paper would probably absorb most of the mortar water (which would cause it to dissolve). If you want to make a mosaic on paper, use some silicone-based glue.Thanks!
QuestionDo I have to remove old paint from a project before putting a mosaic on it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf your mosaic is smaller than the old paint behind it, it is better to remove it. Also, your mosaic glue or mortar will work better if the wall is smoothed, rather than old peeling paint and an uneven surface.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I make the grout?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou don't make it. You buy it. To properly use it, read the instructions on the container.Thanks!
QuestionI have a large concrete bowl. Can I put mosaic on it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can!Thanks!
QuestionCan I use only glue without using mortar?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, but depending on your surface material or your tesserae, mortar may be a better choice than glue.Thanks!
QuestionWhat kind of adhesive do you recommend using to adhere the mosaic tiles to a bowling ball?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerLoctite Power Grab Construction Adhesive. You can find it at any hardware store. It works great on vertical surfaces for a quick bond.Thanks!
QuestionWill mosaic adhere to stainless steel?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou would need a special glue. Test it first, and see if you find the right adhesive. Do this before you start your project so you do not waste your time.Thanks!
How do I create a level table if I have various thicknesses in my tiles?
What is the best backing material to use to make mosaics last longer?
How can I mosaic a cast iron tub for outdoor use?
I have a birdbath made of resin. Can I mosaic it for outdoor use? I'm thinking of using glass stones bought at a craft store.
Can I apply grout on foam when smoothing the surface?
- When selecting the mortar or grout, get products that will last a long time in the environment that will house your mosaic. This is especially true for mosaics that are outside.
- Wear safety glasses and use gloves while working on this project. The tile pieces can have sharp edges and, if you are breaking or cutting them, you want to reduce the risk of damaging your eyes or cutting yourself.
Things You'll Need
Foundation for mosaic
Glass or tile cutting tools
Bucket of warm water
Sources and Citations
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Video: The Quick Basics - Getting Started in Mosaics
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