Piece by Piece

In case you haven’t noticed…

organizingI have been on a “mosaic roll” for awhile now. Awhile back I went outside to organize my “tesserae”. (Don’t you just love that word? It sounds so…well, artistic.) work stationYou’ve seen my outdoor mosaics and my “work station” on the patio. I can pretty much stay out here for hours if the weather is nice. Something about the idea of taking broken pieces (even if you broke them yourself) and putting them back together to make something pretty really appeals to me. It’s almost like doing a jigsaw puzzle when you are trying to find and/or cut the perfect piece for that one certain spot…work table outsideAs you know, it’s not art (to me, that is) if you don’t make a huge mess along the way. Notice the “gems on the sidewalk” in the background. pieces and bidI read on someone’s website (I don’t remember where) that they only use “Weldbond” glue for their mosaics, because Liquid Nails was bad for you if absorbed through the skin and it emitted noxious fumes. I myself had never noticed any odor to Liquid Nails, but goodness knows I do get enough of it on my hands… so I thought I would give Welbond a try. It is pretty good. But I still like Liquid Nails, so will probably continue to use both. So much for the commercial. Did I mention I do not receive a commission from any of these companies?

However, I should get a commission from the thrift stores for how many plates I buy there. I thought these flowered plates with the black borders were a great find. Almost didn’t want to cut them!

I got the idea for this little bird from Pinterest (left). The wood bird shape is from a craft store (don’t remember which…)square piecesI bought two of this one. I really like the way I was able to cut out the little squares. Goodwill had them taped together in sets of two for $1.99. That was pretty good, considering their prices are constantly going up. Probably should have gotten two sets…purple platesLove the purple!marblesOh, and as a side note, you can sometimes get marbles at the Dollar Store. But the main point of this post is that mosaics are not just for outside anymore.  table insideYep, that’s right, the kitchen table has been taken over by mosaic projects too!

I have to be extra careful with indoor mosaics because I don’t want my trusty assistant to eat glue or swallow any tiny pieces of glass. I guess it’s a good thing, because I now sweep my kitchen floor a lot more often than I used to! containersThis is before completely organizing the “indoor tesserae”.containers on counterHow long do you think the kitchen counter stayed like this? (Truth in blogging: You are not going to see what it looks like right this minute!) small tilesSo for smaller projects you are going to need smaller tesserae. These are some of the tiles I ordered from online. Some of them are too thin to cut with a wheeled tile nipper but I figured out a way around that.

The secret is to put a sort of thick piece of cardboard under your tile and then cut it with your nippers. This was a handy “hack” to discover,  because otherwise it would be really aggravating not being able to make triangles or other shapes.

Rather than giving you a play by play description of each of these projects, I’ll content myself with showing you the basics of each of them in progress. You’ll notice that just because you write down certain colors on your “substrate” doesn’t mean you have to stick to what you wrote. Yeah, “substrate” is another mosaic vocabulary word I came across; it’s the surface onto which you decide to glue your tiles. And choosing the correct substrate is more important than you might think. (Case in point, “The Great Gecko Fail”, which you can’t click on because it hasn’t been written yet, but stay tuned.) Update: It’s been written; the above link works now!

Second attempt at a heart.

This reindeer was at Target for $3 over Christmas. As an experiment, and also because I didn’t have enough brown tiles, I mixed different neutral colors on the body. The antlers are from the border of a “china” plate.

An attempt at a vase with flowers, along with a few other items…

An experiment in 3-D mosaic. The wooden tree came from the Salvation Army thrift store.  You can see it in its original form at the bottom right in the previous set of photos. I haven’t gotten up the courage to grout it yet. Sometimes grout can mess up your work. (See “The Amazing Chocolate Mosaic Vase” for details.)

I got the llama for $1.89 at the Salvation Army thrift store. I think this is my favorite “small project” so far. As you can see it was originally from Hobby Lobby, although the original price had been marked out. For size reference I photographed the (almost) finished product in front of a roll of paper towels. I probably should paint the edges with brown all the way around, I guess then it would really be finished.

So as you can see, one can never have too many mosaic projects going at one time. But you knew that, right?