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Sunday, 12 April 2015

How to Make a Mosaic Flower Coaster

How to make a mosaic flower coaster

I've been asked for instructions on how to make a mosaic, so here it is. This technique is the same for any shape or design that you choose to do.

For children or beginners, choose a simple shape and make sure that it's small. If you choose a placemat or a box then it'll take longer to do and it would require a more intricate or detailed design, which would be more suitable for older and experienced students.

Materials:

-plywood craft coaster
-mosaic tiles
-pva glue
-grout
-paintbrush
-cloth

What to do:

Step 1. Select a coaster shape. The best shape for beginners would be the square. A super mosaic to make would be the Ka'bah (see this post for an image).

Step 2. Use the paintbrush to apply the glue onto the back of the mosaic tiles and place them onto the coaster shape. If children are using the square shape, they can arrange the tiles to be the initial for their names. See here for examples.
It's best to leave the pva glue to harden so that the tiles will be strongly bonded to the plywood. You don't want the tiles to be dislodged when you apply the grout. To speed it up, use a hairdyer on the cold setting.

Step 3. Add water to the grout to make a paste (not so thick that you can't spread it and not so thin that it runs and drips off the tiles).

Dollop the grout onto the tiles and spread them all over. Make sure you fill in all the gaps and there are no air bubbles (tap the coaster onto the table to burst any). Scrap off the excess grout and leave to dry for 24 hours.

Tips:
-When I teach, we don't have 24 hours so I use a mini hairdryer on the cold setting to dry out the grout. Don't use hot air because it will crack the grout.
-Another tip is, instead of using the grout powder and mixing it, you can buy the ready-made ones that the hardware store sells for doing touchups for tiles in the bathrooms and kitchens. It comes in a range of colours and in a small bottle. I've tried them once. It's not bad. It's more convenient.

Step 4. When the grout is dried, wipe over the tiles with the damp cloth to clean off any traces of grout.
It's now ready to be used or to be given away as a gift. I've included a photo of the heart-shaped mosaic for you to see the difference when you apply different grout colours. For the heart-shaped one, I used a grey grout whereas for the flower, I used an offf-white.

Usually, if you choose dark coloured tiles then you'd use a light coloured grout and vice versa. This is so that the tiles will stand out. For the ones above, I used the same mix of coloured tiles but because it was a mix of dark and light colours, it was hard to decide which colour grout to use.

By the way, the heart-shaped item is a trinket box. I made a mosiac for the top of the lid and painted the sides of the box and lid a purple colour. You can use this same technique for any flat surface.

Have fun with mosaics! If you've made any mosaics following these instructions, please provide a link in the comments section below as I'd love to see it.

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