You can mosaic onto many things as long as it's rigid (that's not meaning your father-in-law who's asleep in his recliner), just be sure to check how suitable the surface is to have tiling glue adhere to it.

old man

Another thing to contemplate is where the mosaic will be displayed. If you are thinking of creating a nice mosaic framed mirror to go in the bathroom, consider how well ventilated the room is and how much moisture will be in the air.

 

Materials and Tools

Object that you wish to mosaic

Tiles

hammer or tile cutter

old towel (optional)

tile glue

grout

containers to mix glue and grout

gloves (optional)

sponge

old newspapers to work on

 

Step 1

The first step is to decide what it is you are going to mosaic. In the photos at the bottom of this page, you can see a few examples that we have created. The love heart shapes we cut out of MDF with a jigsaw, while the round mirrors are in fact acrylic mirrors CNC cut (by a local factory for not much $) glued on to round MDF. You can also mosaic table tops, house numbers to go by the front door, clay flower pots, you name it. Cement board is an ideal product to mosaic as well, however is quite difficult to cut into complex shapes.

You don't have to limit your mosaics to just tiles either. How about using mirror tiles? Or sea shells, or pebbles? If you are cutting out a shape to go on the wall, remember that you will need to be able to hang it up. Drill some holes and loop some string or wire through so you have something to hook it onto. It's probably advisable to use something quite strong, as mosaics can get a little heavy and you don't want the string to break. In the examples below, we used offcuts of electrical wire. The other alternative is to see if your local hardware store has some hoops you could screw onto the back.

mosaic 01

Step 2

Prepare the surface. If you are using timber, particularly MDF, it is advisable to prime/seal the surface. You can use primer undercoat house paint, or tile shops will usually sell primer specific to tiling as well.

mosaic 02

Step 3

Choose what coloured tiles you'd like to use. Smash them up with a hammer- a good idea is to cover them with an old towel when doing this so as to avoid small bits of tile going everywhere. It's also a good idea to do this in the garage rather than the kitchen bench. You can also cut tiles using you guessed it, a tile cutter, which can be purchased from a hardware store or tile shop. Once all the tiles are smashed or cut up to the desired sizes, start planning out how you'd like it all to look. This is recommended to do before you start glueing them down. Remember not to place tiles too close to the edges, as this will make it a bit more difficult later when you start grouting. Likewise, don't place the tile pieces too close to each other. You'll need a nice gap for the grout to go in to.

mosaic 03

Step 4

Once you are happy with your design and layout, you can now mix up some tile glue and start glueing down the tiles. Ensure you get a good amount of glue on each tile as you don't want them ever lifting off. When you think you have finished, do the 'upside-down test'. Pick up your mosaic and turn it upside-down. Any tiles you have forgotten to glue will fall off!

mosaic 04

Step 5

Leave your mosaic to dry.

mosaic 05

Step 6

Once the glue has fully dried and set, you can now begin applying grout to your mosaic. Mix up the grout. Apply liberally over the tiles, working it in to the gaps and around the edges. Any excess grout wipe off with a wet sponge. As the grout begins to dry, buff up the surface of the tiles with a dry cloth. Once you are happy with how it is looking, leave it to dry. If you are not happy with the end result, mosaics make great presents for the grandparents at Christmas.

mosaic 06

The process

How to mosaic

The finished product

Mosaic

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