CREATING A MOSAIC TILE PROJECT
HOW TO BUILD A FRAMED MIRROR
by Carrie Payne
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For the mirror featured in this article, the following supplies were
2" wooden circle
glue that adheres to both wood and ceramic tile
When choosing a base for mosaic tile work, artists have two
options--plaster or wood. This project utilizes wooden bases. The
wooden base you select should be large enough to hold the desired
tiles and mirror and have a raised edge to provide a frame around the
project. The two bases that I found were actually labeled "candle
holders" at the craft store but they are perfect for this project.
To begin with, nail the picture hanger to the back of the base. It's
best to complete this step before any gluing or grouting occurs. The
rough blows of the hammer could prove jarring enough to dislodge tiles
or crack grout.
Once the hanger is in place, glue the 2" wooden circle in the exact
spot the mirror should be. This circle simply serves to elevate the
mirror above the level of the grout.
After the wooden circle is in place, practice arranging the tiles
until the perfect design is found. Glue the tiles in place, using a
glue that will adhere to wood and ceramic material. (School glue seems
to work just fine.)
Now be prepared to get a little messy with the grout. In a disposable
dish, add water slowly to the grout mix, stirring continuously with a
disposable spoon. The appropriate ratio of grout mix to water should
be between 3:1 and 2:1. I found that thin grout is easier to smooth
out beause of its liquid-like consistency, and I recommend that the
grout mix resemble thin pancake batter.
As you grout around the tiles, don't worry about making a mess. In
fact, expect your tiles to be covered by the end, as grout is very
easily removed before it dries. Spoon the grout into larger spots and
use your fingers to press grout into smaller areas. Fingers can also
be used to smooth grout and *** gloves are suggested to protect
your skin from the drying grout. After the grouting is finished, use
cotton swabs to clean the frame and shine the tiles. Allow the grout
to dry for about 24 hours before proceeding.
Next, paint the wooden frame. I chose an acrylic water-based paint,
but almost any paint can be used. Be sure to give your project two
coats to ensure an even color, and avoid accidentally getting paint on
the grouted area. Paint on grout is very difficult to remove.
After the paint has dried, glue the mirror to the wooden circle.
Detail the frame using contrasting colors. For this step, I chose to
use a gold enamel paint, but again, almost any type of paint will
work. When the detailing has dried, coat the entire frame with lacquer
or clear gloss to give the project a finished look.