I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making a mosaic for some time now, so when I saw a box filled with tea saucers for sale at A Vintage Affair I knew it was time.
I scouted out 12 saucers that had similar shades, but it wasn’t difficult because most china patterns seem to favor the same pinks and greens, lavender and blues. The tools were readily available at Michael’s, they even had pre-made white grout.. more on that later.
Tea Saucer Mosaic
1 small 12″x12″ square ArtMinds Basswood Canvas
6 small saucers (plus a few extra just in case), try to pick those that have flowers in the centers as well
double wheeled glass cutter
1 4 fl oz bottle Mercantile Mosaic Tile Adhesive
ArtsMind Mosaic Applicator Set
1 16 fl oz premixed white Mercantile Mosaid Grout
green painter’s tape
1 medium plastic mixing bowl or bucket
1 metal spoon (tablespoon size)
plastic sheet/newspapers if you wish to cover your table
1 or 2 rags
I think this little wood canvas was meant to be turned over, but decided it would make a pretty square tray for my mosaic. I thought I should start small and I’m glad that I did. I considered painting it white ahead of time, but decided that I liked the natural look better.
1. Cutting up the china, while fun, is not as easy as I thought. It does take some practice to apply the right pressure and get an accurate cut. I was hoping to split the sides and take out the center piece, but that was next to impossible for an amateur. You need to move the tile cutter just inside the outer edge, a bare few millimeters then squeeze very gently. As I went along, I discovered you really don’t need much pressure at all before it cracks. Here is a video on You Tube that helped me. I think the important thing is to enjoy and not get hung up on being “perfect” on your first project! You’ll still love the results anyway!
I’ve also seen some absolutely lovely mosaic pieces done by Jan Lefevre on Home Talk. You should definitely check out her work, it’s inspirational and stunning. I left her a little compliment and she immediately replied and offered to send me her instructions she uses when she’s teaching. Now that I’ve tried my hand at this, I can honestly say she is such a talented artist and her notes were invaluable! You should also check out CeCe’s gorgeous mosaic mailbox.. so very pretty!!
2. Anyway, once you’ve had fun breaking your china into lovely bits, you need to arrange them in a pleasing pattern on your item/frame/tray. Try to keep as little space as possible between the pieces. It does take more time, but as Jan says, the results are worth it. Think of this as pieces to a puzzle.
3. Once you like your finished product, you can use Mercantile Mosaic Tile Adhesive, which worked just like white glue. It gives you a little time to push things back in order, but held quite quickly after a few minutes.
4. After waiting overnight, tape off the area where you wouldn’t want grouted.
5. Then you need to apply the grout. Unfortunately the Mercantile Mosaic grout I had was separated and needed plenty of heavy duty stirring. So I scooped it all into a much larger kitchen bowl and used a metal spoon to smash, chop and smear/stir it into a consistent grout texture. Think organic, unwhipped peanut butter and you get the idea.
Once you like the consistency, use the spreader from the Art Minds Applicator Set to smear the grout on. You may have a grout tool in your tool box already, so you wouldn’t need to buy this kit.
Because the tea saucers have so much curve in their edges, I needed more grout than most projects would. Next time I’ll use dinner sized plates that lay flatter. The cool thing about this particular grout, is that it is already white and when it starts to set, it looks shiny and smooth. If you think of the consistency of white glue or cornstarch thinned a bit with water, you’ll know what I mean. As it settles, it begins to shine again.
6. Once it set for 5 minutes (read the back of your own jar of grout in case those instructions differ for set time), you can begin to rub, scrape and drag the grout off of individual tile pieces. I used good old paper towel (lots of them!) and discarded it as I went. I think I had so much grout, a cloth would have required rinsing and drying between and I wasn’t comfortable getting that grout wet. I almost missed some of the tiniest little pieces, so make sure you find them all and expose them!
7. This particular grout then sets for an additional 25 minutes. That’s when you can go back with a slightly damp rag and shine up each tile piece.
8. In one week, you can polishing each tile with a vinegar water solution (equal parts) if you need to remove any remaining glaze. Jan recommends spraying your project with a Silicone Sealer to keep the grout clean and protected. I’ll be doing that after I’ve done cleaning with vinegar and it’s dried.
So here is the finished project. I think it’s better as “art” because it would be much to bumpy for a tray:)
I hope I’ve inspired you all to give this a try, it’s not difficult at all and takes very little time.
There are premade tile bits at Michael’s, or probably any Hobby Shop, that would make this really easy for kids to do as a project too. I imagine the part they’d love best would be hunting for the tile pieces when scrubbing off the grout. There are also so many other containers and objects to mosaic.. I’m thinking about attacking my rusty old birdbath next. I think it may need a different grout since it would be outside in the rain. I’ll let you know if I take that project on!
Thank you so much for stopping by… have an awesome day!! xx