New to Mosaics

terrysalMay 26, 2009

Hi. I have saved up several plates,etc. that I will be using to make a mosaic and am wondering what is the best 'glue' to use? Can someone recommend a 'how to' on getting started? Thanks!

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Hi, Terry! How fun that you're ready to begin your first project! I too started with plates two years ago and got so much help and inspiration from my friends here.

First of all, what kind of project do you have in mind? Is it going to be used inside or outside? I use both thinset and GE Silicone II for both (both available at the major hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes, but also have bought Weldbond to use (for inside projects) now as it's a little easier to deal with (not so messy and in a smaller format).

For a first tip, while I still love to go out and break things up with a hammer, the first tool I bought for mosaicing is Lipponit Nippers. They're wonderful and everyone says they're the best out there. They're only 24.99 at Wits End Mosaics, and you'll love them for paring things down in a logical manner. Here's their website address.

I know others with a lot more experience will chime in too with more information. Have fun! And post your project! We'll be looking forward to seeing it!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 2:24PM
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Well, I'm back today and reread your message and see no one else has checked in, so I'll add a little more as you may be anxious to get started.

First of all, the thinset I mentioned is thinset mortar. If you use it, it's sticky and a cement product, so keep your hands free of it as much as possible, and keep it out of your drains. I always cover my workspace (I use an oil picnic tablecloth as it's easy to wipe up) and I try to always remember to put on some old clothes (I've found that medical scrubs are'll often find them at your local thrift store cheap). I have two wet washcloth type towels handy on my work table to wipe my hands, and for little cleanups. I also keep a little dish of water handy to drop pieces into that didn't work until I can clean them off properly (works with thinset and other water based adherents, not with Silicone etc.). Slow has recommended that you put some of your thinset in a ziplock bag and squeeze out what you need. I tried that and it's great, as otherwise, you're always having to close the tub of it that you're using to keep it from drying out.

I usually break plenty of pieces and lots of small ones as I like to pack my plate pieces in closely and I'm always looking for that little piece to work in. (For fun, here's a mosaic word for you: "tesserae". In mosaic anything that you mosaic on (like your plate parts) is called tesserae). I spread my tesserae on a large metal serving tray. This helps me pick a piece that is the correct size to work onto my project. I also have a brown paper bag handy at my feet for tossing things, as it's helpful to have a fairly clean table.

Some people recommend roughing up the surface of what you wish to mosaic. I understand this helps the adhesion, but I usally haven't done that myself.

Next, you take a piece of your tesserae and "butter" it well on it's underside with your thinset or what ever you're using for an adherent. I usually use craft sticks for spreading, as they're cheap and easy to toss when they're gummy. But when I'm working on some projects, like a birdhouse, I butter one whole side of the birdhouse and then place the pieces on. You can do that when you know you have enough time before the thinset (or other adherent) drys.

You can't go really wrong. Just have fun with your first piece! When things are on in a design you like, let the adherent dry well. Someone may be able to give you the dry-time guidelines here, but I usually wait a couple of days.

Next is grouting, which other than to say we all recommend using sanded grout, I'll leave for now. When you get ready (or close to) that grouting, post a note here and we'll help you. There's lots of great information to share!

Have fun setting up and getting started!

Daisy (me!)

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 6:18PM
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Looks like Daisy gave you some great info. Once you start, you will become a member of the mosaic addict club!! LOL. if you check on the FAQ section on this site, you will find a ton of basic information. I would also start reading and searching things you want to find out about.

There is so much helpful information out there but the best thing is just to dig in and start playing.

Here is a link that might be useful: mosaic instructions

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 9:48PM
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Great info from DAISEY, and a very good site from MERMAID, TERRY. I'm always too tired in the evenings to check the forum, so here's my addition to the above. CACBEARY posted a link to her blog on the "Cutting Diamonds" thread. Check it out too. Lots of good info on there. As well as many tutorials on the internet, check your local library for books on mosaic basics. It's very easy, and once you read a bit, you'll be experimenting, and all of a sudden you'll be so hooked, you won't know what hit you. Here's CAC's website.
The Mosaic Obsession

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 8:27AM
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I know you already got alot of help, But here's a site if you wanted some additional help/Ideas...

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 2:29PM
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Thank you all for all your comments. I've had other things in life get in the way lately, but WILL get this going soon. Again, thank you all!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 6:24PM
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It's fun to see you back. We hope we'll see you here soon!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 8:11PM
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