Collection: All About Thinset

woman applying thinset to mosaic backer

 

I get a lot of questions about thinset – what it is, how do you use it, when do you use it, etc. Some artists are intimidated by it and some just don’t like having to mix up powders and having that mess, and I agree, it is messy but it provides great results for our mosaics.

The first thing you need to know about thinset is it is an adhesive – it is not a type of grout. Many confuse the two and they are totally different. Thinset is one of the best adhesives for outdoor mosaics in that it is waterproof and very stable in many environmental conditions and you can use it indoors too.

Thinset, (according to Wikipedia) is also referred to as mortar, and is made of cement, fine sand and a water retaining agent such as an alkyl derivative of cellulose.

Its name, thinset, came about because it is designed to adhere well in a thin layer, which is perfect for mosaics. For larger projects, it is common to use a 3/8” notch trowel to produce a 3/16th inch thick coating of thinset – still a thin layer, just spread over a larger surface.

Mixing and applying thinset is easy to do, you just need to know how to obtain the right consistencies and then have the right tools for the mosaic project you are working on. Mixing small batches of thinset is very different from mixing large batches that you would use for big installations. In addition, applying thinset can be done many ways and there are different tools you can use for different situations as well.

Thinset is very versatile. I have used it as both my adhesive and my grout when I wanted to make a groutless mosaic. You can also color your thinset with pigments to get all manner of different effects with it. I enjoy working with it and highly recommend you give it a try too; but always be safe and wear goggles and dust masks and gloves.

We have assembled a collection of 8 Mosaic Technique Videos that will give you the knowledge to ultimately do almost anything you can think of with thinset - regardless of your current skill level. Even better, save 30% when you purchase all 8 of them. Use the coupon code CUT30% at checkout. As always, chat with me if you have questions before or after you buy.

 

8 products
  • How to Create a Silhouette Style Background for Mosaics
    Artist holding a mosaic of a macaw that use the silhouette style technique
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  • How to Prepare Styrofoam for a Mosaic
    Mosaic artist showing mosaics done on styrofoam
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  • How to Make Textiles into Rigid Mosaic Backers
    Mosaic Artist holding cloth hat next to mosaic hat
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  • How to Make a Groutless Mosaic
    Glass bottle with a sea shell mosaic
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  • How to Apply Thinset on Large Areas
    Mosaic artist spreading thinset with a trowel
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  • How to Mix a Large Batch of Thinset
    View of a large bucket of thin set mortar and a paddle mixer
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  • How to Apply Thinset to Small Areas
    applying thinset to a mosaic
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  • How to Mix Small Batches of Thinset
    Small amounts of gray and white thinset  about to be mixed
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