How to mosaic stair risers using plexiglass
These mosaic stair risers on Plexiglass add color and interest to our home. Butterflies, dragonflies, snails, birds, and fairy faces peek from the forest. Fish leap in the stream.
Children love these stairs. When a two-year-old comes to visit, he is immediately drawn to the stairs and crawls up, pausing on each step to carefully trace the creatures with his finger as his mother hovers behind him. I ground, tumbled or otherwise smoothed each piece so that there are no sharp edges.
I used stained glass, broken plates, pieces of jewelry and glass globs. There are bits of costume jewelry throughout, along with special plate rims that feature faces that look like fairies and woodland elves. The colors are blue, purple, green, brown, cream, and a few bright accent colors. My best friend's broken earring, a link of another friend's grandmother's necklace, my mom's pendant; all these things and more are included in the forest.
There are 16 stair risers and they are not exactly the same size. Some are 7" in height, some are 6 3/4" and some are 6 1/4". Thank my lucky stars that I measured more than just one before I had the Plexiglass cut! I would advise you to measure each one, and check your measurements, and then check once more before you have the Plexiglass cut.
I had Lowes cut 1/4" Plexiglass in the size and shape of each riser, and I mosaiced each one sitting comfortably at the kitchen table.
I first drilled a hole on each end of each rectangle before I began to glue. I grouted and sealed before I installed each piece with small screws. Right after I grouted, I stuck a toothpick into the screw hole and cleaned out the grout. The screws were a pale brown color and just happened to blend perfectly with the grout, so I didn't even bother to cover or paint over the screw heads.
Alhough the 1/4" Plexiglass is hefty, it still has a tiny bit of flex and with grout, we don't want any flex in our substrate since that will cause cracks. I figured that I could repair them after installation; it would still be much easier than grouting in situ! Fortunately, there were no cracks. Over four years later, they are holding up perfectly; still no cracks.
These stair risers are removable; they are rectangle pieces of Plexiglass, mounted to the front of each stair riser with two screws. I could have used the method of mosaic onto mesh, but I would have had to grout in place, a daunting task, and they would not have been removable.
Use this same method to make a mosaic backsplash! So much easier than working directly on the wall behind the stove or sink -- and you can take it with you when you move if you wish; just repair two small holes in the wall -- or you can take it down and replace it with another if your décor changes. You can use Plexiglass, Wedi board, or other backer board.
If we moved away, we could unscrew the risers and take them with us. I can envision them installed on a wall as a piece of art. If you go to my blog,www.mosaicroad.blogspot.com, you can view the work in progress. Go to the oldest posts on the blog.
Sometimes it is more appropriate to mosaic onto mesh and I have written an article about that here: http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-mosaic-on-mesh
We purchased many books on the subject of mosaics, and one stands out, Elaine M. Goodwin's Classic Mosaic (see link below). It is a wonderful reference book to have.
These stairs add so much color and interest to our home.