Tips and Tricks for Making Mosaics

 

Did you know? Here is an assortment of tips that I have collected over the years when working in mosaics, working with mosaic teachers and students. There might be some you haven't heard of.

    1. Clear bags or clear containers that seal are super handy for storing tesserae so you can see what's in them.
    2. Never use your hands to push away shards, a small dust pan and whisk broom will keep you from cutting yourself.
    3. Step away from your mosaic occasionally to assess any mistakes and to see where you need to make changes.
    4. Cutting your tesserae over a small bin helps catch those small fragments and save time on clean-up.
    5. Small disposable cups are great for mixing small amounts of thinset and grout in and when you're done, just toss away with no cleanup.
    6. Record the grout color you use for each mosaic project in case you have to go back and do repairs, then there's no guess-work.
    7. Before you begin your mosaic project, always know how you will frame or hang your piece or how it will be installed.
    8. Wooden (craft) sticks are perfect for stirring up small amounts of adhesive and grout - even for 'buttering' the backs of tiles; just use and toss!
    9. When putting tiles on the edges of your mosaic, do the sides first, then overlap your top tiles just a little, for a finished look.
    10. For grout haze removal, clean tops of tiles with white vinegar and water mix.
    11. Don't just use random small pieces to fill in gaps in your mosaic as these odd shapes draw your eye to these areas and look out of place.
    12. A lazy-susan can be a helpful "hand" when you need to rotate your mosaic and don't want to keep picking it up.
    13. If you use a glass grinder, wear rubber finger tips to prevent cuts to your fingers.
    14. Wet grout will dry back to the original color it started out as, so don't panic when your wet grout looks darker.
    15. Cut the name and item number off that new bag of tiles and put in your storage container so when it's time to reorder, you have that info handy.
    16. Holding a tile over the space it needs to fit into can help you "eye" the right way to cut it.
    17. Always be safe and wear safety glasses, gloves and other safety equipment when necessary.
    18. Take phone photos as you go. It’s easy to spot a badly placed piece or a perfect array in a photo.

 These are just a few tips and tricks – I encourage you to share your tips and tricks with other mosaic artists. That's how we all learn!

13 comments

  • If you’ve got a piece of glass in your finger, use duct tape to remove it. It works great!

    Gail Smith
  • I am a retired art/studio craft teacher and taught mosaic design and construction for years. To prevent shards from flying around the classroom, I always had my students cut/nip their tiles into clear, zip-type plastic bags – quart size works well. Not only does this contain the small pieces and save on clean up later, but the bags also act as see-through storage containers for the tesserae. Additionally, you don’t have to wear goggles.

    Marilyn R George
  • I am a retired art and studio craft teacher and have taught mosaic design and construction for many years. I always had my students cut/nip their tiles into clear zip-type plastic bags, quart size works well. The shards don’t fly so you don’t need goggles, and you have automatic, see-through storage containers for your tesserae.

    Marilyn R George
  • Great tips I know most of them but can always new ones. Best regards Tony in Florida

    Tony Ferlazzo
  • Gr8 tips. ThanX.
    Am into concrete n floor tiles to create small terraces for my garden. Got loads of tesserae n some smalti stash. Hope to get back to it. Have done some restoration with killer white glue for the internal wire rust peaking out.
    Am a broken retired nat gas engineer n with 3 cats am an official cat herder.

    Polly Bushings

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