How To Create Beautiful Mosaics On a Budget

Mosaics are coming back into style, of course for some people they never went out of style. They’ve always loved the look and had pieces around their homes. But, more and more today you see mosaic art being used on all sorts of items for the home and garden.

If you’ve ever shopped for mosaic pieces, you know that most can be pretty expensive. But, why pay the high prices for beautiful mosaic accessories when you can easily make your own? And, making your own will allow you to create the perfect design that you want or need to match the rooms decor.

Mosaics can literally be made from almost anything. You can use china, tiles or any type of glass as well as stones, sea shells and other natural materials. When choosing the type of material that you want to use, consider whether it’s important for the surface to be level. If you’re applying mosaics to a table, you’ll want to be able to set glasses or vases on the table without them tipping over.

If you decide to use a material such as china, the pieces don’t all have to match, but they should be of uniform thickness. While you can certainly purchase mosaic pieces and kits, you can make your own from items that you have around the home. It’s a great way to recycle some old dishes or other pieces of glass or tile that you don’t need.

Freestyle designs can be made from just shattering glass pieces and then arranging them into a shape. But, if you want a more geometric look, you can purchase tile cutters to cut straight squares, rectangles or triangle shapes.

Once you know what you want to apply mosaics to, decide on the pattern you want to achieve. For a really casual, fun look, you can just place the pieces together the way that they fit the best. But, you can create designs like frogs, flowers, leaves or anything else that you need to blend in with the rest of the room.

Draw the design out on paper that is the same size as the item you are going to tile. For larger items like tables, gift wrap makes a great paper for designing or you can simply tape sheets of paper together to get the correct size. Any type of paper will work, but you need one that is plain so that you can see your design.

If the surface of the item is a light color, you can use tracing paper to apply the design directly to the piece. You can also create the mosaic on clear acrylic sheets and then glue them to the surface. The choice is really up to you and how confident you feel in the project.

If you decide to use the acrylic sheets, it’s really helpful if you draw out two separate designs. One will be used to get the correct placement of the pieces, then you can use the other one to place under the acrylic so that you can see the actual pattern.

After your design is drawn out, you’ll want to get an idea of the color scheme. Lay the mosaic pieces out on the pattern, start in the middle and work your way out to the edges. This will give you the chance to switch pieces and find the ones that are the best fit for the area. There should be at least a 1/8″ gap in between each piece for the grout, but the space can be larger if you want it to be.

Creating mosaic patterns is like working a jigsaw puzzle, just keep working with it until you get the perfect fit and look. To make sure that you’re happy with the design before doing all the work of making it, walk around and look at it for a bit. Getting an idea of how the piece is going to look from a distance and look in the room will help ensure that you really enjoy the creation.

No matter what you’re going to apply the mosaics to, the surface should be thoroughly cleaned so that the adhesive can adhere properly. You will also want to make sure that you purchase your tile adhesive according to the material that you will be using. Some adhesives work better with certain materials such as wood or glass.

When you start attaching your pieces to the item, work from the center out just as you did when you placed them on the pattern. Apply some tile adhesive to the back of each piece and lay it into place on the surface. Some adhesives dry rather quickly, so try not to take too long in placing the piece where it needs to be.

Follow the directions of the tile adhesive label for the proper drying time and let the mosaic completely dry. Once it has dried, you will need to apply grout. You can purchase grout that is pre-mixed or in powder form that you mix yourself. Either will work fine, but there’s no guess work with grout that is already ready to use.

Apply the grout to the mosaic making sure to press it down into the gaps around each piece. Don’t worry about getting it on top of the pieces, it can easily be wiped off with a damp rag. After you’ve gotten all the gaps filled, create a edging with the grout. You can apply it with a damp finger and smooth it down to the edges of the table or whatever your using.

After all the grout is applied, wipe the surface with a damp rag to remove any excess. You can use special tools to smooth the grout, but it’s easy to do with just a damp finger. Once your satisfied with the surface of the grout, place the item out of the way and allow it to dry for about a week before using the piece.