Mosaics can seem daunting at first which is why we have put together this article on how to create indoor mosaics. To do outdoor mosaics you follow the same process but use a base, glue, and grout which is suitable for keeping items outdoors. Some glues and grouts are suitable for both indoor and outdoor work so make sure you check your products before buying new ones! From cutting the tiles to grouting, we have all of the basics covered here.
Recently I completed a course on indoor mosaics, there is much to learn but it is a very therapeutic and satisfying hobby. If you have the opportunity to take a class in mosaics I highly recommend doing so. While online tutorials make learning new skills easy it is still hard to beat learning alongside someone with loads of experience. One of the best things about mosaic is the ability to mosaic almost anything! If you love to upcycle then mosaicing is a great add on skill to have. Read on to find out all of the mosaic basics you need to create your own indoor mosaics and how I created this very simple beginner fish mosaic.
How To Create Indoor Mosaics
Where To Start
There are a few basic items that you will need before starting on your mosaic project. The very first thing you need to decide is what exactly you are going to mosaic. My first ever project was the wooden fish featured here today. While it is far from being an expertly done mosaic it shows that even if you have NO experience you can create something. This base of the fish was found in a homewares store and was originally a wooden rabbit for a child’s bedroom, flip it around and you get a fish! So have a look around your local stores and thrift shops as you may just stumble upon the base for your next mosaic.
I suggest that you start with a smaller first project which is why mosaicing a wooden shape is perfect. In saying that if the item you are mosaicing is too small it will get very fiddly. The fish featured here is 7 inches (18cm) long and was a great size for a first project. Large pebbles/ small rocks, a medium-sized tile for a wall hanging, a frame, or the inside of a tray would also make for a great first project.
If you have the tools at home cut wood into your desired shape. Any wood will do but something lightweight is optimal especially if you want to hang it on the wall. Wood is suitable for indoor use only. Amazon sells quite a variety of different wooden shapes. These are a few of our favorites and there is even a goldfish if you are wanting to create your own fish mosaic!
- Merchants Circle Mirror. This mirror would make an excellent gift.
- Goldfish Base.
- Wolf Base.
- Heart Shape.
Creating Your Mosaic
Now that you have your base sorted it is time to mosaic! A variety of different materials can be used which we cover in the following section.
Tiles, Glass, Crockery
One of the most important elements to mosaic are the tiles, glass or crockery used. This will give your mosaic the colorful look and style that you are after. Thrift/ opportunity stores are one of the best places to look for chipped and broken china plates. Often these stores will either sell these pieces for next to nothing or give them away for free so make sure to ask them if they have any broken crockery/ china that they want to be free of. It is also worthwhile looking in your local area for an art supply store that stocks tiles and other mosaic items. We love these items from Amazon.
- 1000 Pieces Mixed Color Mosaic Tiles Mosaic Glass Pieces.
- Mosaic Mercantile Sparkle Assorted Mosaic Tile. For a bit of sparkle.
- Color y Tradicion Broken Mexican Talavera Tiles Handmade Mix Designs.
- 50 Colorful Iridescent Mosaic Tiles.
How you lay your mosaic pieces is totally up to you. You can see from my fish above that I used a combination of china, small glass tiles and glass stones. It was incredible seeing how different the final fish were from everyone in the class, just by mosaicing different pieces.
If you are only using cut mosaic tiles you may not have the need to cut anything. If your tiles are larger, you are using old chipped crockery/ china or you are wanting a specific shape or size you will need some mosaic cutting tools. For plates that need breaking up, some people like to place the plate in a bag and smash into smaller pieces. This is a great way to break up larger pieces ready to be cut into the size needed for your project. Here are the cutters needed.
- ION TOOL Glass Cutting Mosaic 4 Piece Kit. The set pictured above. All of the cutting tools that you need for cutting tiles, glass and china.
- Mosaic Tools, 200mm Heavy Duty Glass Mosaic Cut Nippers Ceramic Tile Wheel Wheeled Cutter Pliers Tool for Glass Tile Ceramic Cutting.
To cut most tiles and crockery/ china the wheel cutters are fantastic. I did the entire fish mosaic using wheeled cutters and they were very easy to use. Make sure you wear safety glasses and cut into a bag or container to prevent piece flying around the room.
Small pieces of glass can also be cut using the wheel cutters however if you are wanting a particular shape or larger pieces of glass then the other cutters will be required. The process of cutting glass is a little more involved but this video below shows exactly how it is done.
Picking the correct adhesive or glue is a very important decision when starting a mosaic. This is the item that holds all of the pieces onto your base so if the wrong type of glue is used the mosaic may not last for as long as intended.
- Weldbond Multi-Purpose Adhesive Glue. A popular clear drying glue.
- Dap Weldwood Multi-Purpose Ceramic Tile Adhesive.
When gluing leave a small gap between tiles, this is where the grout will be. You can see in my fish the gaps are a little too spaced out. This skill develops with experience! Once everything has been glued leave it to dry for 24 hours. Check the glue instructions as some need longer than others to cure.
Now for the fun and messy part, grouting! Grout is applied over the entire mosaic before rubbing the top layer off using a soft cloth. This sounds tricky but it is really simple. The video below shows how to mix grout and how to apply it to the surface of your work. The consistency you are after is like a thick toothpaste.
In the above video, a brush is used to apply the grout but some people prefer to use a scraper, sponge or fingers to apply the grout. For smaller pieces fingers work perfectly well. Once the grout has been applied the excess is removed. The below video shows the process using a wet sponge. Grout can also be removed without water by simply rubbing a dry cloth over the surface of the item. Once most of the grout has been removed quickly go over the item again with a dry cloth to polish the tiles.
Grout comes in different colors which really makes a difference to the end piece. A medium gray color is a safe choice for most projects.
- Milltown Merchants 8 oz Pewter Grout.
- Jennifer’s Mosaics White Powdered Grout.
- Red Devil 0422 Pre-mixed Tile Grout.
Once your mosaic project is dry consider painting the sides and back of the piece. I used an acrylic test pot paint from our local hardware store. These paints give great coverage. Taping off the edge where you don’t want to paint is a great way to ensure your paintwork stays neat and tidy.
You can shop the full range of mosaic items needed here. We hope you have learned something from this how to create indoor mosaics guide. If you create your own mosaics be sure to send us a photo.
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