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Curving Mosaic Backers: The Beauty of Epiphanies

Have you seen Robyn Dreer Abrams' beautiful mosaic fans? If so, it's easy to believe that a lot of time researching and experimenting was invested by her to create the 3-D substrate she used to make them. Freely, she shared with me that one morning she "sat straight up in bed" when she got her "ah-ha" moment!

Amazingly, Robyn's fans are made using a foam core backer as her substrate. Her fans are 3 dimensional, so how did she do it? As you probably know, foam-core boards are a flat, super lightweight, moisture-proof substrate that has styrofoam in the middle with a membrane on both sides. It is primarily used for floors, walls, bathrooms… until now. Robyn introduces us to a new way to shape them and use them in 3-D substrates. Here's what she so graciously shared about her process:

  1. Start with a piece of 1/4" foam core board. Then score it alternatively on the front and on the back, being very careful not to score all the way through; just enough to create folds for the fans
  2. Press on the score lines to open up the folds
  3. To strengthen the substrate, use wire and glue on both sides; then after it is dry, coat it with thinset
  4. Be sure to install a flat piece of foam core board to the back so you can affix a hanging system and give extra strength to your mosaic
  5. After everything is dry, you can mosaic your fan substrate, using either glue or thinset as your adhesive.

What is so exciting about this method using foam core board is that you can use your imagination to make many things with this folded-fan substrate, such as a skirt of a dress or similar shapes. My mind is reeling with possibilities!

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