Reverse mosaic--my new love

loribee2October 10, 2010

I gave reverse mosaic a try with some stepping stones. I think I'm in love! Sooo much fun to make and an easy little one-day project. I discovered a few things I'd do differently, but isn't that always the case?

The pics are on my blog linked below if you're interested in checking them out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lori's Blog

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What fun! I've made two stepping stones like that, using Diamondcrete, but I haven't mixed my own concrete -- yet. This makes me want to. Isn't it nice the way they come out so flat and smooth? And NO grouting!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 4:11PM
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I think that's my favorite part about it--how beautifully smooth the top turns out. That and the fact that you don't have to cover the whole stone. You can place a design in the center and let the concrete fill in the rest. I'm crazy about how the see-through glass blocks give it really cool depth. I'm going to have to scour the internet for more glass blocks.

I would love to see the ones you've made if you've got photos of them hanging around.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 4:35PM
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How beautiful - fabulous job. I'll have to try that method some day.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 5:16PM
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Those look great !!!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 8:58PM
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Those turned out really well! Like your blog too :)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 11:24PM
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They are so pretty Lori!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 11:31PM
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I too love your blog, and those projects you have been doing! Way to Go, Keep it up!!!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 12:30PM
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Because I've been wanting to try mosaic this sounds very interesting. I have a question. How do you get thinset smooth and even between the mosaics> Do you wipe with a damp cloth before it's dry....or later? Details for a novice, please.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 4:28PM
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Thanks everyone! It sure is fun to have a place where I can share projects with like minds. You are all the greatest!

Laura, there's no thinset with these. You put the design face down in the bottom of your stepping stone mold and fill with concrete behind it. Thus, no adhesive or grouting.

To do it, I placed the tiles top side down on sticky shelving paper. Make sure they're good and stuck as best you can as that's what will hold them in place as you fill the form with concrete. Place that in the bottom of your form using something like double-sided tape under the paper to make sure it doesn't move around when you're working with it.

I mix my own concrete: 3 parts sand to 1 part cement. Figure out how much you need first by filling your form with the sand (the cement and water don't add much volume). Mix it up with approx 1 part water. I like mine rather stiff, so I add only enough water so that it's no longer crumbly and will hold together if you squeeze it in a ball. They say the less water the stronger the concrete.

Take about 1/4-1/3 of your concrete and add some extra water so that it's more the consistency of heavy muffin batter. Use that to fill the bottom of your form to cover the area around the tiles. I work the mixture around the tiles with my hands much like I would if I were grouting. When you've got enough to cover the tiles, fill the rest of the form with your stiffer concrete. You'll want to stop half way and place a disc of reinforcement mesh in between, like chicken wire or screen, cut about 1" smaller than your form. Then finish filling the form.

I covered it with plastic and let it sit overnight. The next day, I popped them out of the form (carefully because they aren't cured and prone to cracking). I used a regular household scrub brush and water to scrub off any remnant concrete that seeped around my tiles. This is also the point where you could mix up a small bit of concrete to go over the top if you need to fill in gaps. I had that problem with one of the stones where the mixture didn't get all the way down through a few of the tiles.

Leave the whole thing good and wet then recover with plastic and let it sit and cure for several days.

I love this for making designs using tiles of uneven thickness. Because you're working bottom side up, some can be thicker than others and they'll end up smooth and even on the top.

If you decide to try it, I'd love to see what you came up with!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 8:41PM
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OF COURSE, Lori. I know about that. I was thinking about another thread where someone had mosaiced an urn using thinset and used push/squish method. Thanks for the info anyway. Love your blog.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 10:49PM
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Great instructions, loribee2. You know what I've been thinking about for awhile -- you know how mosaic artists wind up with lots and lots of miscellaneous tess that they never seem to use? Stuff that is thicker than normal, etc. We could just use up all that stuff with stepping stones.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 9:08AM
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LOL, Silvamae, that was exactly my thought when I unveiled these first three. My mind immediately scoured through my inventory of miscellaneous tiles. It could be a good way to use up those old tiles you *know* you're never going to use but just can't seem to part with regardless!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 9:19AM
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