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★ How to Mosaic DIY Tutorials | Project Roundup | Creative Tiling Ideas ★

Updated on February 17, 2016
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Artistic Inspiration For Your New Hobby!

Mosaic is a brilliant craft to master and the results are very long lasting - both indoors and outdoors. Your projects can be small or you can really let your imagination go wild!

On this page you will find the information you need to start making your own mosaic patterns and projects, with links to beginner's instructions and ideas to inspire you to give this addictive art a go. Mosaics are a 4-step process; designing the mosaic pattern, gluing the tiles to the base, grouting and sealing, and you will find step-by-step tutorials listed below that will walk you through every stage.

I hope you find lots of inspiration here :)

Mosaic Art Map

Beautiful colors.
Beautiful colors. | Source

Mosaic Making Supplies

Jennifer's Mosaics Tile Nippers
Jennifer's Mosaics Tile Nippers

Quality tool for nipping and cutting glass tiles into smaller pieces. A must-have for this craft.

 
Jennifer's Mosaics Variety 3/8-Inch Venetian Style Glass Mosaic Tile, Assorted Colors, 3-Pound
Jennifer's Mosaics Variety 3/8-Inch Venetian Style Glass Mosaic Tile, Assorted Colors, 3-Pound

A large assortment of square glass tiles in various attractive colors.

 

An Introduction To Mosaic

A Summary Of The Craft Process

The very first things to decide before you make your mosaic are whether the mosaic will live indoors or outdoors, and also what the size and design of the piece will be. It's best to start small as a beginner, such as adding broken ceramic plate pieces to a flower pot. Once you have the basics sorted, you can get creative with your designs.

There are 4 things you need to create a mosaic:

- Tesserae; the pieces which form the patterned surface of the mosaic. These pieces can be made with so many materials from stained glass to shell, and pebbles to broken plates. To cut ceramic tiles you use specially designed nippers; for cutting glass you use glass nippers and cutters.

- Substrate/base; the solid non-porous surface onto which the tesserae will be attached. Outdoor projects usually have a base of cement/concrete, ceramic, glass or stone, whilst indoor projects can have a base of wood instead if preferred (although porous surfaces should still be sealed before having mosaic applied on top.)

- Adhesive; The glue which sticks the tesserae onto the base.

- Grout; This looks like a paste and is used to fill the gaps in between the tesserae after they have been stuck onto the base. You can buy unsanded or sanded grout. Unsanded grout is finer and is used to fill gaps of only a few millimeters, whereas sanded grout is for wider gaps. Grout comes in powder form (unless it's pre-mixed), and you mix it with water in order to use it. After applying to the mosaic, the excess is removed (with a sponge usually) so that the top surfaces of the tesserae can be entirely seen. When the grout has dried slightly, you can use a cloth to further clean the surface. A few days after grouting you should then add a grout sealer to protect your grout from dirt and to keep it looking good.

Have fun!

The Steps of Creating a Mosaic

mosaic-step-by-step
mosaic-step-by-step

1) Prepare the rigid base you are using for your mosaic.

To do this, first clean the surface. Then, if necessary, sand the material to roughen it up and make it easier for the next layer to adhere strongly to it. You only need to do this for very smooth surfaces.

If you are using wood (such as MDF or plywood) for the base you should seal the surface of it as part of this preparation step.

2) Plan your design and draw the position of the basic outlines onto the base.

3) Use tile cutters, nippers and other cutting tools to create tesserae in the sizes you require. Then lay the tesserae/tiles out in the design you want on the base so that you can see what it will look like and make any alterations before permanently attaching the pieces.

4) Apply the adhesive.

Many different adhesives can be used to stick the tiles/tesserae to the base material, including PVA, epoxy, tile mastic and cement/mortar-based adhesives such as thin-set. It is important to use an adhesive suited to it's environment; if your mosaic will be outdoors, the adhesive will need to be strong and waterproof.

Apply the adhesive with a spatula or other spreading tool, then position the tesserae on top and press down into the adhesive. Do this bit by bit; don't cover the whole base with adhesive first but instead cover the base one small section at a time.

You don't want to use so much adhesive that it fills the gaps in between the tesserae, as this will prevent the grout from filling the gaps. Therefore make sure to remove excess adhesive from in between the mosaic pieces.

Leave the adhesive to dry.

5) Add the grout.

You will most likely be using sanded grout as this can be used for any size of gap between the tesserae, however unsanded can be used if the gaps are very narrow. You can buy the grout pre-mixed but most people opt to mix their own from powder. You can choose the colour of grout to best suit your mosaic design.

Spread the grout over the tesserae, pressing it into the gaps, until the whole piece is covered. It's easier to manipulate the grout if you are using your hands for this step - although remember to wear disposable gloves.

6) Clean the mosaic.

After the grout has been in place for about 5-10 minutes (or whatever length of time your grout instructions recommend), use a damp sponge to start wiping the excess grout off the mosaic, until the tesserae surfaces are clean. Keep rinsing the sponge regularly to clean the grout off it. It's best to have a bucket of clean water to rinse your sponge in; grout shouldn't be put down the drain.

7) Leave to dry.

Leave the grout for the recommended time for it to set completely. You may want to spray a fine mist of water onto the grout every 30 minutes or so to stop it drying too fast and perhaps cracking.

8) Seal the grout.

Applying grout sealer protects it from liquids, so is an especially important step if you wish to keep your mosaic outside.

That's it!

Patterned Bench

The mosaic was created by Gabi and Luke on the 'Kirstie's Homemade Home' TV programme.
The mosaic was created by Gabi and Luke on the 'Kirstie's Homemade Home' TV programme. | Source

Mosaic Garden Chair

This chair started life as just a regular metal garden chair and was built up with chicken wire and concrete before mosaic pieces were attached all over.

Photo and chair by Frances Green - CLICK HERE for the tutorial.

Best Mosaic Books

For expert tips and advice, these mosaic guides are hard to beat:

Garden Mosaics: 25 Step-by-step Projects for Your Outdoor Room
Garden Mosaics: 25 Step-by-step Projects for Your Outdoor Room

Excellent for beginners, 25 simple but impressive projects are explained step-by-step in this book, including a mosaic tabletop, birdbath, suncatcher and a variety of planters. Plenty of photos to help you too.

 
The Mosaic Artist's Bible of Techniques: The Go-To Source for Homes and Gardens: Complete, In-Depth Instructions and Creative Designs
The Mosaic Artist's Bible of Techniques: The Go-To Source for Homes and Gardens: Complete, In-Depth Instructions and Creative Designs

This book is a very useful resource for beginners and more advanced crafters, and is helpful to refer to whenever help is needed. Every part of the mosaic process is covered so that you will feel confident having a go at the techniques.

 

Shabby Chic Mosaic Table

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Day Of The Dead Tray

Mosaic by Beth Silverman.
Mosaic by Beth Silverman. | Source

House Number Sign

Numbers by Wayne Stratz, mosaic by Margaret Almon.
Numbers by Wayne Stratz, mosaic by Margaret Almon. | Source

Coronation Street Portraits

I love this mosaic tribute depicting some of the most popular characters in the UK TV program Coronation Street.
I love this mosaic tribute depicting some of the most popular characters in the UK TV program Coronation Street. | Source

Stove Backsplash

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Mosaic Pizza Oven

This is what you call an epic project!
This is what you call an epic project! | Source

Tiled 'Sun' Staircase

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Broken China Flower Pots

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Mosaic Video Tutorials

Have you ever made a mosaic?

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Please Leave a Comment!

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    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 3 years ago

      I started a mosaic once. It is a lot of work, but very beautiful and relaxing work.

    • teelover profile image

      teelover 3 years ago

      Wow, this is incredible!!!

    • profile image

      marcelovg 3 years ago

      We live in Miami, Florida. We want to do mosaics but the problem is where to find the broken tiles or china pieces for free! Any idea?

      Thanks, Marcelo

    • wellingtonboot profile image
      Author

      wellingtonboot 3 years ago from U.K.

      @marcelovg: Hmm, I'm not sure, I usually buy them online. You could ask people who do tiling for a living as I'm sure they'd have a few bits and pieces left over after each job? Good luck!

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