how to make a mosaic
- Beginning your mosaic project: terminology and design
- Types of tesserae
- Tips on mosaic materials
- Step-by-step guide to techniques: direct and indirect methods
- Outdoor mosaics: How to site a mosaic in an architectural space
- List of books and references
- Making a mosaic: Health & Safety Advice
Click on Contents chapter headings for further details
5. outdoor mosaics: siting your work
This process applies to the indirect mesh technique of mosaic making.
TOOL KIT AND MATERIALS
Stanley knife, scissors, notched trough, mixing trowel, bucket, rags, small hammer, 20cm x 20 cm board wire brush/metholated spirit, plastic covering if appropriate, surgical gloves cement based tile adhesive (see tips on materials), waterproof unibond glue
- Trim all excess mesh or brown paper from edges of work.
- Carefully cut mosaic with a scalpel into manageable size sections: approx. 50cm x 50cm. Tip: cut along strong design lines rather than into squares this will help prevent any join lines being visible.
- Number each section of your mosaic as you stack it flat for transportation and make a small sketch plan of where each number goes to prevent any confusion on site.
For brick walls, concrete floors, plywood, ceramic tiled surfaces Balcem Goldstar cement-based tile adhesive is ideal. It has a two-hour working tile therefore you can take your time. It is very forgiving and elastic and it is tried and tested for excellent durability indoors and outdoors.
STEP BY STEP
- Ensure surface is grease and dust free. Use metholated spirits on tiled surfaces, wire brush on a brick wall.
- Lay mosaic out to ensure that it fits, if not make your adjustments now. For walls take each piece, place it on wall and draw round it.
- Prime surface to seal it with waterproof unibond glue and water 3:1 and leave to dry.
- Apply a thin coat of Goldstar cement mixed with water to a single cream consistency. Leave to dry. Your surface is now rendered.
- Remember your working time of cement and mix to a buttery consistency enough to cover an area that is reasonable for you to site in one go. If the cement is too wet it will fill your grout gaps and the work will slide down the wall. Keep it buttery.
- If siting onto a wall start at the top in one corner and work across and down. If onto floor start in the far corner, work across and out.
- Apply the cement to the surface with a notched trowel ensuring that the coat is even and just thick enough so you can almost feel the surface through the notches.
- Now gently place your mosaic sections onto cemented surface. You can carefully adjust at this stage.
- When you are happy with the alignment tamper with a piece of board and small hammer to ensure all tesserae has been secured to cement and that the surface is flat. If you are working on a non-even effect where you have different height tiles you may need to press some pieces in individually.
- When all sections are laid and any necessary filling in finished leave for 24hours ensuring that work will not get wet.
- Grout the next day. If it is a floor kneel onto a board to protect mosaic and work from far end out. If a wall from top to bottom. Don't forget grout is the final process and actually helps to strengthen the mosaic.