Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fun with mosaics

I'm on a knitting hiatus while I experiment with other forms of artistic expression. First up, mosaics. I was inspired years ago at my sister's wedding by these beautiful mosaics that the owner of her wedding site created all over the place. They were massive and breathtaking, with butterflies and flowers. It looked insanely fun to do, so I thought I'd give it a try. I had some tiles left over from some stepping stones made for a friend a few years back, so I busted them out and got to work.
Step one was really creating the design. I had these little cork shelves lying in my closet, so I used that as the base. Once I got the image exactly as I wanted, I used a mosaic glue to stick em on. This process took forever, but with a little help from Doctor Who, it didn't seem so tedious. End product of step one.

A few days later, I attempted the hard part. Grouting. Since this was my first try, I thought it'd be easier and more convenient to use a pre-mixed grout that came in this tube. You just sort of squeeze it out over the work and push it between the tiles. Huge mistake. The grout was very thick, and it was like squeezing cement out of a tube of toothpaste. When I finished (this whole process took nearly 45 minutes b/c of the thickness), I tried to smooth it out as nicely as I could. However, due to the thickness of the grout, this ended up basically covering the entirety of the tiles with the thick goop. According to the directions, I was supposed to wait 30 minutes and then wipe off the tiles. Well, the grout had dried so much at that point, that I had to scrape it off the tiles. This process took over an hour, leaving gouges in the grout in between the tiles that were difficult to smooth. The end result is that the grout is not level with the tiles nor is it smooth. It's rather crumbly and uneven.

It's not terrible for a first try, but definitely not the result I was hoping for. Next time I will mix the grout myself and actually use the proper grout spreading tool to get the pretty mosaic I'm aiming for.