The history of mosaics is a long and interesting one. Although the decorative mosaics created by the Greeks, and subsequently the Romans, are among the most well known pieces, the art form is thought to have originated in Iraq, as early as 3000 BCE. Although once the premise of elaborate ceilings, murals and floors, modern artists use mosaic glass to create all manner of unique works of art.
These pieces can be as simple or as intricate as desired, and contrary to widely held belief, the technique is relatively easy to learn. From simple mosaic picture frames and vases to detailed table tops and splash backs, there are many ways to use mosaic glass to create unique and colourful items for the home and garden.
Creating Mosaic Glass Art: A Step by Step Guide
Designing a Mosaic
The first stage in creating a piece of mosaic glass art is to choose the piece to be mosaiced and decide upon the design. It’s useful to sketch the design out on paper. Spending time on this stage will make the following stages simpler. Artists can find inspiration anywhere. A walk through the park or through the city centre may uncover a stunning landscape that can be interpreted through mosaic. Inspiration can also be found in children’s picture books, on craft websites and in mosaic books. For newcomers, the key is to start small. Elaborate pieces can be attempted once the basic techniques are understood and mastered.
Preparing the Surface
Preparation will depend on a number of factors. If the finished piece is to be displayed outside, pre-sealing the surface with PVA or Weldbond glue is advised. Indoor pieces, with the exception of those to be displayed in humid bathrooms or kitchens, typically do not require pre-sealing of any kind. The next step in the preparation stage is to copy the chosen design onto the surface to be mosaiced. This can be drawn on with marker. This will make the tiling stage considerably easier – and the marks will not be seen on the finished piece.
Applying the Mosaic Glass
When the surface of the piece has been sealed (if required) and the design laid out, it is time to start tiling. The design stage will have determined how many pieces of tile are required, and in which colour. Using a spatula or fingertip, apply tile adhesive to the back of each mosaic glass tile or fragment before pressing it firmly onto the surface. Always work from the inside out. If required, tiles can be smashed using a hammer, although if a particular shape is needed, this can be better achieved with a tile nipper. Always take steps to protect the eyes by using safety goggles. Continue applying tiles until the design is complete, and then leave to set for at least a few hours, or according to the adhesive instructions.
Finishing the Piece
The final – and messiest – stage in creating a piece of mosaic artwork is applying the grout. Tile grout comes in several different colours. The colour chosen will depend on individual preference and on which colours have been used in the design. White grout is considered the default option, although black and coloured grout can be incredibly effective. Since grout is essentially a kind of cement, it is useful to grout the piece in sections to avoid it drying out.
Apply the grout using a spatula or fingertip, working the product over and between the tiles to ensure a uniform finish. Immediately after application, wipe with a wet sponge to remove the grout from the tile surface. Repeat until the surface looks even and all sections are complete, remembering to smooth the edges of the design as a final stage. When the piece is dry, a good polish with a soft cloth will make the design shine. Sealant – which will ensure the piece lasts as long as possible – can be applied after three days.
How to Buy Mosaic Glass and Mosaic Tools on eBay
eBay has a wide variety of craft items and doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the items required to create mosaic glass art. To browse appropriate listings, visit the craft category, then choose mosaics from the menu. Alternatively, finding specific items can be accomplished simply by entering a product description into the search bar. In addition to finding mosaic glass tiles and fragments in a variety of colours, consumers can also source all of the basic tools required for mosaicing.
Mosaic glass art pieces make a wonderful addition to any home or garden, and the art of designing, creating and displaying these pieces can quickly become an enjoyable new hobby.