Friday, July 19, 2013

Making Mosaics . . . a fun and easy craft to try.

Okay, I am going to do a simple step by step tutorial for how you make mosaics. I love mosaics and I love that they almost always turn out pretty cool with little effort.  That is what makes them a perfect craft to do with kids and a great idea if you are looking for a fun craft to create this Ramadan.

  We translated this project into a religious themed wall hanging last year.
   Above are a couple of examples of stepping stones my daughter and I made. This is one of my favorite mosaic projects because they are inexpensive and quick and easy to complete and look wonderful in the yard . . . plus you get to think of a happy memory every time you see them and all of their pretty bright colors :).

   Okey dokey. First you need to pick out the item you want to decorate. I always go with a flat surface since it is the easiest. Plus you want something sufficiently hard and solid that can stand getting wet and can take the weight of the cement. I chose this metal basket.

You need to select the materials you are going to decorate your mosaic with. You can buy mosaic tiles but they are a bit more expensive. I tend to mix glass tiles with cheaper or free items such as seashells, glass bits, beads, mirror bits (I substituted upside down plastic rhinestones for mirrors today . . . super cheap) and whatever you can think of. But I will say that you should select things that have one flat side and things that aren't overly thin since you want things that are thick enough to form a good bond with the cement.

Next you start glueing your design down onto your flat surface. I just use school glue because it works pretty well and is cheap and convenient.

When you are finished with that let your work set some where and dry or if you are in a big hurry set it in the oven on your lowest setting for 20 minutes or so and BLAM you are ready to go to town.
Next you need to mix up some cement to about the texture of a loose mud. They also sell a mosaic mix stuff made specifically for doing mosaics but I think that is more expensive but I do think it gives you a bright crisp white colour. So it depends on your needs which one you choose. I just use concrete (make sure it is a finish concrete or mortar mix so it doesn't contain any stones) because it is cheap and easy to find at your local hardware store.

Next pour your cement mixture right on top of your project. Try not to put much more than you need to avoid the hassle of extra work in getting it off. Smooth it evenly over every part of your project and in between all of your decorations.

If you have a lot of excess cement you can start gently removing it with your hands. Then when it is pretty smooth get a sponge and keep wiping it of gently little by little until you start revealing your design. You can keep water nearby to rinse out your sponge. But be sure to wring it out very well each time so you don't keep adding water back to your design. Then you can even use an old paint brush if you like and gently brush away some of the cement crumbs. Be VERY gentle doing this. If you are a nerd like me you can even pretend you are an archeologist gently revealing some ancient treasure.

Once you have your design showing through like you want set it out in a sunny place to dry for several hours or set it out over night to dry. . . or set it in the oven on a low setting . Keep checking on it for an hour or so and wipe the stones down because sometimes the cement will leave a haze over them that you need to wipe off before it dries hard.

Once your project is totally dry you can spray it with a clear enamel spray to seal the cement and to give it a nice shine.

One other idea I have tried is if you want to do a mosaic on a glass or mirrored surface. Then follow the same steps but instead of using cement use a clear caulk. But try to spread it as thin as possible because it may take up to several days to dry.

So I hope some of you might try this and even share some of your pictures with me. :D

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