DIY – How to create a mosaic

DIY – How to create a mosaic

When we were traveling through Spain in 2011 we went to the most delightful city I have ever visited – Seville. While wandering the streets I was struck by the immaculate buildings and mosaic foyers and pots. After we arrived home I decided to try my hand at creating a mosaic. A little area in our backyard is now affectionately known as the Seville hut. I wrote and article sometime back sharing photos (see The Seville Hut). But here’s another photo of my first ever mosaic (well I made two of them).

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I recently decided to make a cute sign for the vegetable garden so I thought I’d share the process of mosaicing. Here’s how I to get started.

Step One – You need a large tile or piece of gyp rock, a range of coloured tiles, tile glue, coloured grout, an old towel, a sponge and a hammer. If you intend to create the mosaic on a large tile, make sure the surface is rough so the tile glue adheres to it. Draw a basic outline of what you are hoping to create on the surface with either pencil or permanent marker.

What you need

Here’s what my first mosaic looked like at this stage because it was bigger and more detailed it required more planning.

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Step Two – Place the tiles inside an old towel and smash them with a hammer. Then place the tiles onto the area starting with the most intricate sections and build out around them. I usually break all of the tiles and arrange them before I start gluing them.

Smashing tiles

Layout

Step Three – mix the tile glue in an unused ice-cream container. Don’t add too much water at once. Gradually add the water and mix until it’s the consistency of toothpaste. You don’t want it to be too runny, and if the mix is too dry the tiles won’t adhere.

Tile glue

Step Four – Glue the most prominent tiles down first using the tile glue. Try to avoid the having the glue squeeze out too far because it will make it difficult to get the tile pieces close once the glue is dried. Once the main tiles are glued you can start gluing the background coloured tiles around it. In his case I did the words, the fruit and the border first, then did the white background.

Adding tiles

Step Five – Once all of the tiles have been glued down, wait 24 hours for the glue to dry before grouting. Check for any loose tiles and glue the loose ones back in place.

Step Six – There are a lot of different grout colours you can use and the colour of the grout can dramatically change the look of the mosaic. If you refer back to my previous mosaic above, I used 7 different coloured grouts to accentuate the different tile colours. But for this mosaic I used two – blue and white. Follow the same procedure when mixing the grout as for mixing the tile glue. Add the water sparingly and mix to a toothpaste consistency. Then using an old sponge or your finger work the grout into the gaps. I did the blue grout around the border first, then the white in the middle. Wait for the grout to dry slightly then rub off the excess from the tiles with an old towel. Tip – don’t let it dry too much or it will get a little tricky to remove.

In the photo below, you can see a hole, that was for us to drill the mosaic onto the wall, if you are going to drill a tile onto the wall you will need  special drill bit. I usually use liquid nails with tiles instead of drilling it in place. If you decide to use screws, once the mosaic is in place you can fill over the hole with grout.

Grouting

Here’s the finished product taking pride of place on the shed we just painted (see Splashing some colour on a rusted old shed). Miss Molly decided she wanted to be in the shot but she got bored and started chewing a stick.

The finished product

Happy mosaicing.

Billie

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