FFf Eclectic Red Barn: Moasic Shelf

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Moasic Shelf

mosaic shelf , vintage saucer picture frame
Mosaic Shelf with Vintage Saucer Picture Frame

Mosaics are one of my favorite projects. There are many materials that can be used to create mosaic pieces, it depends on what you are doing and what effect you want to create. You can use plates, which I use often. It is fun to collect vintage and old plates that can be broken* to create decorative designs. Sometimes you can find beautiful pieces that might have a chip in them, which would make them otherwise unuseable.

All the better, since we want to "smash" them anyway. No sense in breaking expensive, beautiful plates. I must admit that I have boxes of plates. Sometimes people even give me their plates when they chip. I like to spend an afternoon just breaking plates and then organizing them into colors so I am ready when I begin a project. You can also use glass beads or stained glass pieces. For this segment, I will be using plates.

The two shelves below were done with broken plates.
mosaic shelf with vintage saucer picture frame
Mosaic Shelf with Saucer Picture
mosaic shelf to hold cars keys
Mosaic Shelf to Hold Car Keys
Unfinished Shelf
For the shelves above, you can purchase a shelf from a craft store, but this is too expensive for me. I usually obtain my shelves from garage sales or flea markets. They can cost from 50 cents to up to two dollars. I paint them all over, even the part I am going to mosaic. I like a nice base for my design. I then decide what colors I want. In the shelves above, I used pink, green, yellow and some pale blue. The edges of the shelves are outlined in green. I had some white plates with green trim.

I used a special tool, called wheel glass nippers,  that I had from working with stained glass to make rather consistent cuts (give or take a little).  They cost about 13-17 dollars. I used glue that you can get from a craft store like Michaels or A.C. Moore. Some people use E-6000, but I find that on pieces that are curved, it doesn't dry fast enough, causing the pieces to slide off.  With a shelf, it is flat so that would not be a problem. I use several types of glue, the one in the picture is one example. (Mosaic Tile Adhesive)

Generally I lay out the pieces on the surface and glue only after I am satisfied with the design. However, other times, I glue as I design. If this is your first time, you may want to lay out your design first and then glue. See the image below for each of the items that I used.

mosaic tools, sealer, grout, snippers
Mosaic Tools

 Let the glued pieces dry; check your glue labels for drying time. I usually wait until the next day. Then I apply a non-sanded grout or sanded grout depending on the size of the spacing between the pieces. If you will be doing many mosaic projects, then buy a large bag of grout at a home improvement store like Home Depot or Lowe's. This is the most economical approach. If you just want to experiment with a small project, then you can buy a small package at your craft store. They also carry more color varieties than the home improvement stores. I generally use either white or ivory.  Be sure to mix the grout according to the manufacturer's directions.

Apply the grout over the glass pieces making sure to get in all the crevices. Be careful as the edges of the mosaic pieces will be sharp. As it begins to dry, use a sponge to wipe off the excess. You don't want to begin wiping off too soon, or you will wipe the grout off. Again, follow the manufacturer's directions. You will find that this process takes a little time, to make sure you have cleaned off the unwanted grout. It will not stick to the glass. When you are done wiping, take a clean cloth and wipe any residue that is left. The glass should be shinny at this point. The last step is to apply a grout sealer. Once again you can get a small package from the craft store or if you have any left over from a home project. I usually apply two coats. This helps to protect the project and makes it easy to clean.

* Caution, when breaking or smashing plates always wear safety glasses. I often begin the process by wrapping the plate in a towel so that the pieces don't fly everywhere when I smash them.

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