How Did You Get Started In Mosaics????

susiewantsrosesMarch 24, 2009

I post mostly on the Garden Junk forum. I would like to start learning to mosaic. How did you start collecting the materials in enough quantity to do your first projects. I find that pieces purchased in mosaic departments are very expensive. susie

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Hello Susie,

I got started by going to the goodwill and finding items I wanted to mosaic. Then I ordered a mosaic tile starter kit from ebay and mosaiced my first tissue box. But then I was lucky enough to purchase two big boxes of scrap glass from a stained glass store that was going out of business and from there I mosaiced my first glass vase. Since I prefer using stained glass I would be love to share some of my tiles with you since I don't really use them (free of chareg of course :) ) to help you get started. Let me know if you'd like the tiles and I'll put them in the mail for you. Just remember, it's very addicting!!! :)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 10:32AM
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My Hubs and I busted up floor tiles to make a random mosaic sidewalk 13 yrs ago. But when I went to lowes & Hobby Lobby to get some of the precut pieces, I realized that Mosaic was a truely highly valued art form. I thought I might mosaic a small area behind my kitchen sink where water pools. However the small squares are pricey.

I will use old broken up brown ceramic floor tile and do our back porch this summer. I can use a hammer to smooth the edges. I dont mind being a caveman for outside. LOL

You are so generous to offer to send me pieces. I will not except unless you allow me to pay postage and reciprocate in some manner. That's the rules! (snicker) What is your most favored color of glass?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 11:58AM
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I was thinking about getting rid of the tiles since I have so much glass. They are not huge floor tiles but tessarae that are used in mosaics. There are different colors and some shapes. And it can give you a start. But I don't mind sharing b/c I have to much stuff!!! Don't worry about the postage or any fees. I have a friend who does all of my postage for me free of charge. Hee!hee! You can email me your address and I'll get some stuff together this weekend. I'd rather give someone the tiles who will get good use out of them rather than collecting dust in my kitchen. My favorite color of glass is purple and red. Just make sure you post whatever it is you make with the tiles. :)
My email is

Here are some of my mosaics

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 12:29PM
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i bought my nippers first and then bought glass coasters at the dollar store, painted the backs of them and cut them up into whatever shapes i wanted. painting clear glass to get the colour i want is still my fallback position if i can't find what i want in stained glass. usually, i tend to buy small sheets of stained glass and scrap (which i love b/c it's sold by the pound/kg so i get a huge variety of stuff without having to pay a fortune).

another thing you could try if you don't want to put out a lot of $$$ right away is to try found object mosaic. you can use almost anything as long as it won't get wrecked by moisture - coins, keys, chain, old jewellery, stones and pebbles - just anything.

enjoy! it's addictive! :)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 1:23PM
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I did ceramics for 10 years which led me to this.
I think my love of jigsaw puzzles as a child was a clue!
It might help you to decide what it is you want to do.
Then start searching the internet for photos of mosaic art.
I spent, and still do, time looking all over the net at mosaic art. It is so inspiring.
It will help with basic what to do stuff as well.
You will get great ideas for your tessarae (aka tessy stuff), then from there you can seek out your material.
I would reccomend taking a look at Sonja King's Mosaic Technique and Tradition I think it is. There are lots of other wonderful artists publications that are great.
Hope you share your work with us.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 1:53PM
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I started by embedding pebbles in paving slabs that I was casting for my lawn. Simple but looked good. Then I tried to graduate to making a Roman style slab, using natural stone for tesserae - not very successful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Roman Mosaics

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 5:50PM
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I started with some from GW and GS. I ordered a few things off line, then I advertised on Craigs list and found a gal near that has stained glass scraps

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 6:09PM
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I started working with stained glass about 10 years ago, working in both copper foil and lead came techniques.
About 3 years ago I discovered mosaics and it seemed to fit right in with what I wanted to convey to women who are trapped in the horrible cycle of domestic violence and abuse. As I work with broken pieces of pottery, shards of stained glass, or discarded trinkets, I envision the broken lives of people struggling with violence and abuse at the hand of one who claims to love them. As I see these broken, discarded pieces come together to form something beautiful or pleasing to the senses I am reminded of the hope and the promise that is available for those women, children and families, if we will but work to reach them.
My hope, is that through my outreach ministry with the S.O.S. Mission at St. Paul's Church in Asheville, NC, that I will reach these families and help equip them with the tools necessary to put the pieces of their lives back together to make something beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 7:32PM
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Crazymosaics- Saw your photobucket!!! I am in love with the duck project!!!! You must be a freehand artist too. (I'll email you)

joyy- I'm starting with my Hub's old nippers. I harvested some ceramic and china roses from some chipped vessels last week. (Shead a little blood from glass slivers too.) So I have formally met the nipper clippers.

texasfern- I am in Aubrey TX area zone7b. I will jump on google and check out Sonja King!!!!

african- I went to the Roman Mosaic site you gave and searched around on the entire site (I took two pages of notes)!

Hey Kat girl!!!! I am supposed to know all about Craigslist and such. I had not thought to check.

rchovey- I grew up in domestic violence. I'm 50 yrs old and it seems like yesterday. Luckily I was able to repair enough to be blessed with a wonderful husband who loves me, cracks, grout, and all. What a beautiful imagery to put into your art.

Thanks to you all for your responses. I've got a lot to learn. Sometimes I look in the background of your mosaic pics and see plastic boxes full of different colored tiles and I am amazed. I wanted to know if ya'll had a secret outlet to find your tiles.

Yes indeed I will show you what I produce. I'm serious about my back porch and my kitchen sink area. The porch will be caveman hammer mosaic but I love abstract as well as the refined.

Susie/Ahh Cha Cha Texas : )

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 8:05PM
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Mine's pretty easy. Three winters ago a friend in New Mexico taught me how to "mosaic" a birdhouse by using broken Southwest pottery, stones and wood that we just put on with a premixed Adhesive and Grout. This is what we did that first day...mine's on the left.

I took it from there, and when I couldn't find broken pottery, started breaking up plates for my houses. Hense was born my birdhouse business.

But my first "real" grouted piece was done last summer with the huge help of Flagtruk here who took me under her wing and mentored me through. I'll be forever grateful to her for that!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 1:30PM
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daisy- Your birdhouse is just so artistic!!!! I really think you had a flare to begin with. Love the way you choose the curved wood for around the door. Excellent!

When you buy a plate to cut up and use do you just nip it to pieces??? Do you use a water saw to cut it in pieces?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 1:36PM
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Hey Susie!

I started mosaics when I learned how to do stained glass and ended up with tons of scrap glass. I needed to start using it up because it was taking over. I still have tons of scrap but hope to get around to making a table for the garden and also doing something on the kitchen and diningroom floors to use it up this summer (Much to my kids dismay! I make them help some...LOL)


    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 1:47PM
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Hey Micki!!!!!

Your home will be a priceless masterpiece if you do more work this summer. I can never forget your bathroom project.

Under what circumstanses do you sand the edges with that tiny belt sander machine? Is it for glass or ceramics? Do I need one to do a porch floor or kitchen backsplash?

Flagtruck- I have just spent hours looking at your art. I am so stunned by everything you have done. I imagine a tiny army of fairies working all night while you work on it all day. Good Gracious!!!!! I am ignited.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 3:37PM
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I haven't worked much with tile but I grind every piece when I do a floor. That way if there are any edges that are even slightly exposed, there is no chance of sharp edges. I would rather be safe than sorry.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 5:29PM
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Susie, the one I showed there was just done with a hammer witht the pottery in a bath towel since we didn't have anything else. While I still resort to that sometimes, I usually use a Lipponit nipper now.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 9:57AM
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Susie - Don't know if you get down to Denton very often, but there are several thrift stores there that usually have some pretty cool stuff to use as tess....I haven't been there in a year or so, but pretty plates seemed to be abundant there. Check the on line before you go - if I remember correctly there are 5-6 pretty nice ones. Another really good resource in the Metro area is the GW in Garland. Last time I was there, they had a 12' gondola piled high and with stacks on the floor in front of it the whole length.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 2:48PM
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