When I was editing the photos for my CJM Inspiring Mom series featuring Roberta Rose's work and home, it occurred to me that a great follow up to the original post would be some posts describing how to do some of the projects in her home! Good idea right?
And since we've been on a bit of a mosaic binge here on the blog lately, I'll just continue the trend for one more day or so! And in any case, wouldn't you like to know how she did this tiny dresser? A project of this size is a good one for starters, attempting to do a huge chest of drawers when you've never attempted to mosaic furniture, might just be a bit too ambitious! And do take into consideration that this type of work isn't exactly quick— it's the type of thing to realistically work on over a period of a few weeks or so, in a spot where you can make a mess and are not near any food preparation. (Read Health Precautions For Mosaic Projects that Roberta helped me out with here.)
This chest looks just lovely set againg her blue color washed walls and works well with the pastel colored scheme Roberta has established in her home. Though beautiful here, this chest would look totally out of place in my "Moroccan meets Farmhouse in the 60's" style home, because it's just to cheerful and delicate! But that doesn't mean I couldn't use this technique to do something that would look great. I would need to use either earth toned dishes with bold ethnic patterns, combined with lots of beige or go for a totally shiny gold Moroccan palace look!
My point is, that before embarking on a project of this size, one definitely needs to take into consideration what will work in their home! Enough said.
- a piece of furniture: a small table, cabinet, stool, chair etc.
- broken dishes, tiles, glass pieces, mirror, smooth stones, even shells
- "tile mastic" ceramic tile adhesive use to install tiles on a backsplash
- sanded grout (one can use regular grout for flat surfaces such as table tops)
- hammer, old towels, thick plastic bags
- tile nippers (optional)
- protective eye wear
- grout sealer (optional)
- a disposable plastic floor cover, such as an old shower curtain to cover the work surface
- Read Health Precautions For Mosaic Projects, here, don't panic just be informed!
- Sand piece of furniture all over with medium grade sand paper. New unfinished furniture should be sealed, though it's not mandatory.
- Begin by planning your design. If you'd like to incorporate patterns into your work, so you need to plan them ahead of time. If you'd like to cover the furniture in a seemingly random sea of broken dishes that needs a bit of planning too as far as what works together, and quantities of each color.
- Take into consideration whether to leave drawer hardware and hinges intact or to remove. If you remove the hardware mark the exact area that needs to be left empty for re-attachment.
- If you will be using a pattern, draw it onto your furniture with a permanent marker.
- To break dishes or tiles, place them in plastic bags, wrap them in an old towel, and put on your goggles. Using your hammer, break the ceramic into pieces. To create specific shapes or sizes, use tile nippers.
- It is best to lay mosaic pieces on a horizontal surface, namely turn a chest on it's side to do the side panel, etc. Each section of work should be given ample time to dry (according to manufacturer's instructions) before turning the piece, so plan accordingly. Don't feel you must follow this advice, if you want to work on the whole piece while it is standing up, go for it—after all kitchen back-splash tile is certainly installed vertically.
- Start working on laying the mosaic pieces. It is generally recommended to do the outside edges first and then fill in the rest, this applies to a top or drawer front as well as a shape.
- Apply tile adhesive to the area you will be working on and press pieces into the adhesive. Or you can opt to apply the adhesive to the piece of ceramic and then press onto the piece of furniture. Some mosaic artists lay a bed of adhesive on the surface and apply adhesive to the tile. I would recommend doing this in tricky areas such as legs or thin edges.
- Lay pieces close together but not butting for a finer look, and for a more rustic look, make spaces between mosaic pieces larger. Cut small slivers to fill in any large holes, and make sure there are no rough or sharp edges sticking out. If there are, remove potentially dangerous pieces.
- When you have covered the entire piece of furniture with mosaic double check to make sure you are happy with the placement. You can still pry off pieces with a screw driver and replace them with something else if desired.
- When entire piece is dry start applying sanded grout using a spatula or a gloved hand. The grout should cover the entire surface, such that the mosaic tiles are hidden. Check to make sure all holes are filled.
- After grout has set (check manufacturer's instructions) use a damp cloth to rub grout off the tiles. Use a toothpick to reveal tiny corners where necessary.
- Allow grout to dry completely, at least 24 hours, and apply grout sealer if desired. Definitely recommended on a tabletop surface to protect from oil stains etc.
- Throw a party or go to sleep, whichever seems more necessary!
- Send photos of your new creation to firstname.lastname@example.org (greatly appreciated!)