How Much Adhesive Does it Take?

white glue coming from a tube onto a piec of stained glass

As a part of designing Skeew's Project in a Box, we had to learn about the quantities of adhesives that are needed for a mosaic. What we learned will help you plan your projects whether it is for one piece of art, a class, or a community project.

We carefully measured the amount of glue and thinset that are required to adhere 1 square foot (0.09 square meters) of tesserae to a substrate. Here's what we learned:

First we measured how much glue it takes per square foot of a mosaic. The result is 2-1/2 oz (71 grams). The technique we used for this is my dippin' and butterin'. If you or the group you are working with are squeezing glue directly from the bottle to either the substrate or the back of the tesserae, we know the usage of glue will be a lot greater.

We also learned that if you are sealing a wood backer, the mosaic will consume another .5 oz of glue per square foot if you are using a 50/50 mix of glue and water.

Then we measured the use of thinset and found that 1 square foot of mosaic using thinset as an adhesive needs 8 oz. in its powder form, if you are using my dippin' and butterin' techniques. For this test, we were using flat tesserae. So if your project is using stones, shells, and very curvy china, we estimate that you may use twice as much.

Since we couldn't stop there, we asked ourselves how much grout is required. And surprisingly, we learned that the same amount of grout is required as thinset - 8 oz. of powdered, sanded grout for 1 square foot of a mosaic. The test used grout lines that were not more than 1/8th of an inch.

A couple of weeks after having done this test, it occurred to us that glue and thinset costs can be greatly reduced by first putting the tesserae on QuikStik Mosaic Mesh. The adhesive is built in. It also reduces the amount of clean up and gives more flexibility for removing and replacing tesserae without damaging tesserae or your substrate.


Dippin' and Butterin' video

QuikStik Mosaic Mesh

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