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Creating Mosaics Can Be Very Rewarding!...

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Mosaics today are used in so many different ways, both in the home and in garden designs and outdoor projects. In other words, they are back in fashion even though they date back to Roman times.

So, what tools do we need? Mosaic tiles, grout, pencil or chalk, brown paper, goggles, face mask, a squeegee, nippers or hammer and hardie, plus of course something to decorate. You will also need a water soluble or PVA glue according to which method you adopt.

There are so many choices of items available to you to use for this. You could use broken crockery, beach pebbles, glass beads, marbles, shells, glass nuggets or mosaic ties. You can buy mirrored tiles or even end up painting blank ones with a paint for porcelain.

Tiles, if bought, have a brown paper backing. So, to remove the paper, you need to let the tiles soak in warm water. Then wash over the tiles and leave them to dry. You can start using your tiles directly from the paper, using an indirect method.

So, to do it this way, you glue your tiles upside down onto a sheet of brown paper with your water soluble adhesive creating an even, smooth, surface.

You then need to prepare your item with a tile cement that is quick drying and then put your tiles on to the wet cement. Leave the brown paper on at this stage. Once it has dried, all you need to do, is to soak the paper with a wet sponge to remove it.

This is only the same as you would do if you were tiling a kitchen or bathroom. Use the squeegee to be certain all the cracks and crevices are filled in. Cleaning the grouting off with a wet sponge. It has to dry before you may start polishing it and finish the surface you have been creating.

And designs, what about those? It is better to start with something relatively simple, like geometrics, and move on to curves and circles, for example, if you are more proficient. Then, to cut your tiles to fit your pattern, you have two choices. Try the direct method.

The first method is not so easy and needs some practice with a few spare tiles. This is the old hammer and hardie method, whereby the hardie is held over your tile. Then you tap the hammer so that it cuts into your tile, therefore it moves the tile to get the required shape.

Or you could use nippers, which is by far the easiest method. This lets you cut tiles in to quarters and halves by nibbling away, as it were, to give you curves or whatever you may need. Practice with some spare tiles first, until you are satisfied with the result. It doesn't really matter if you have some weird shapes, you should be able to incorporate them into your design.

From the safety angle I would recommend that you wear the face mask and goggles. Use a hoover or dustpan and a brush to clear up any fragments of glass, crockery etc. It is quite a good idea to prepare your tiles in a clear polythene bag as this will keep any fragments and dust contained.

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