Mosaic Crafts for Beginners

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Mosaic Crafts for Beginners

The ancient Romans used mosaic craft as spectacular floor decoration. The Byzantine era had cathedrals with brilliant, glowing mosaic icons. Now, you too can try your hand at this age old craft. It’s fun, fairly easy and gives surprisingly good results even if you don’t have an artistic bone in your body!

Sounds far fetched? The truth is, mosaic art is not so much a rigid technique as it is a style that’s eminently flexible in terms of the materials used and the surfaces on which it can be created. Create a picture that you have in mind or conjure up a pattern as you go along, giving free rein to your imagination. However you go about it, the fundamental objective is to create a pattern out of small tiles or blocks that are embedded with adhesive onto a base, with the result of forming an aesthetic, durable and if required, functional design.

What you need
Supplies vary depending on your mosaic project, but the four essentials are:

The base: The hard, flat surface on which you create a mosaic. Start with something small like a trivet (hot plate) or tray and move on to bigger surfaces like tabletops or wall plaques.
Tessarae: The Roman name for the small pieces that constitute a mosaic. Typically, they include coloured glass or marble, pottery shards or broken tiles. Think up your own or simply choose some from a craft store.

Adhesive: Used to glue the tessarae on to the base.
Grout: Used to fill up spaces between tessarae. There are several types of grout available; pick one that’s suited to your project.

You will need tools like tile nippers to cleanly break off small tile pieces, work gloves, a mixing can/bucket and stick to stir the grout, a craft stick/rubber spatula to spread grout and cloth/sponge for wiping off excess grout.

Get going!
There’s more than one way to create a mosaic. Make a freehand drawing on the base, trace one with carbon paper or make up a design as you go along. You can dab adhesive on each tessarae and fix it on to a base primed with a bonding agent. Leave spaces between the tessarae; after drying overnight, fill the gaps with grout. Quickly wipe excess grout and dry the mosaic overnight.

Alternatively, apply an even coat of grout, about half-inch thick, over the primed base, gently embed the tessarae and wipe off excess grout. Use a grout sealer if your mosaic will be frequently used or left outdoors.

Ideally, start off with a mosaic craft kit that comes with complete instructions. Once you’ve mastered the basics, your inner artist will take you places!

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