New to mosaics & questions

kboatJuly 3, 2008

This is my first post, though I have been doing a lot of research, reading, and looking at your wonderful project pics on the forum. I'm so impressed with the talent and creativity of this group! You all have really inspired me to get busy with some projects.

20+ years ago, I dabbled in stained glass, but due to kids, life, etc., set it aside. I saw some mosaic pieces, and decided to dust off my supplies and give it a try. I had a round window cut out that was the perfect size to turn into a birdbath using a 16" terracotta saucer. I just replaced the clear rippled background with some sky blue opaque glass for tessarae, cut in various shapes, and now have the bottom of the birdbath complete.

I hope you all don't mind some questions as I go through this process? The questions that I have (so far!) are:

1. Tips on tile cutting: I bought some 3/4" italian mosaic tiles that I want to use for the inner sides and top edge of the birdbath. I have the wheeled nippers, but am having difficulty cutting these tiles in half and keeping a uniform even size. Any tips on this, or should I just not worry about them being "the same"?

2. Tips on choosing grout color: Any tips on selecting grout color? Since this piece has a light blue "sky" background, I don't think I want to go with black (but maybe I do?)? I worry that with the soft colors in the glass, the piece will "wash out" if I use a light color. I read on a mosaic site that a "silver" (I'm assuming a medium grey) works with just about anything. This panel has blue sky, green hummingbird with red chest, soft purplish flowers and dark green leaves. Any thoughts?

3. Grout: Does anyone have any experience with the keracolor sanded grout from Lowe's? If not, any favorite?

4. Caulk: I used the GE II clear caulk to apply the glass. In some places, there is a little caulk on the bottom of the terra cotta saucer (I cleaned off the top and any that ws between the glass with a razorblade. How about little spots where I got it on the saucer? Will the grout stick okay, or does every little bit of caulk need to be removed?

5. Any particular type of sealer that people like the best?

6. Do you all typically mosaic the outside of the rim and outside of the saucer, or just leave it terra cotta?

7. Any suggested "stands" for the 16" saucer? I don't think I'm ready to mosaic a pedestal, so if you have any ideas for metal stands or bases that the saucer would fit into, that would be great.

Thanks, and sorry for all my dumb questions! Look forward to sharing posts with you all in the future!


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Well, here's my take on your ??s
1. those are fairly thick tiles,either embrace the "not the same look" or you'll probably need a wet saw to get them alike.
2 Med greay usually works, charcoal or black gives your colors more POP. But grout color is always the big question around here

3 The keracolor sanded from Lowe's is good.

4 clean or scrape as much of the GEII as you can, then it should be fine

5 There are a few and hopefully someone will post the names. make sure it's non-toxic to wildlife

6 Mosaicing the outside is a personal preference, You can leave it or paint it, too

7 Stands..sometimes you can buy them separate or stack terracotta pots...I'm sure more ideas will follow

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 12:12PM
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You'll find lots of help here!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 12:42PM
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I have nothing to add to Shrty's great advice...I just want to whine about wanting to see a picture!!
Oh, and're gonna like it here!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 3:06PM
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no dumb questions here, I am just getting started and I think all of us learn new things all the time.

I'd suggest picking up a mosaic book at the library or buying one and then just research like you said by going through this website and the many other mosaic sites out there for ideas and information.

we want pix!!!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 7:19PM
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I'm adding coin in with a 3/4" tile mosaic (direct on a premade step stone for the garden). The coin is much lower of course. Can I add grout under the coins after I have weldbonded the tiles and press the coin into it to raise the level of the coin to the level of the tile - will it stay put? I would then add the grout between the tiles 2nd. What do you think

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 1:45PM
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Yes, but I wouldn't be using weldbond in any outside application. it re-hydrates and your tiles will pop loose

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 1:48PM
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what glue would you suggest?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 2:01PM
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steph, I would suggest thinset and then use it as your grout too. Grout really has no adhesive qualities so pressing something into it is a hit or miss. But thinset will work great.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 2:32PM
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Thinset would be best for outside. You should also be able to build up your coins with the thinset

Below is a thread with some good advice

Here is a link that might be useful: outside

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 2:35PM
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Stick to the thinset, once you get the hang of it it is wonderful
I repaied a vintage birdbath for a friend with a layer of thinset, let it dry, then thinset set the tessy stuff on top of that. So far it has held up for 5 years.
Thinset is great to keep your tessy stuff level.
Ok, now for the pictures?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 4:30PM
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Thanks you guys - I definitely will post a picture when I'm done. I'm a music teacher who loves to garden and is trying to add some step stones. I've always loved the mosaic ones so instead of buying premade ones or even a kit - I've set out on a creative goes.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 6:13PM
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