White craft glue (PVA) or a clear silicone adhesive, or specialist indoor-outdoor mosaic glue. This is used to hold the tesserae in place on the surface.
A foam brush, bristle paint brush or artist’s paint brush can be used to paint trim and backgrounds for mosaic designs. When the grout has begun to dry, use a stiff bristle brush to brush away the excess.
CERAMICS and CEMENT
Glazed ceramics and China can be used as a base for mosaic designs.
Terra cotta pots and planters are excellent surfaces for mosaics.
Cement pots, planters, stepping stones and statues decorated with mosaics add a personal touch to any garden or patio area.
A craft stick is used as a glue and adhesive spreader. (Do NOT use your fingers!)
GLASS and MIRROR
Glass and mirror tesserae can be used on all types of mosaic work.
Mosaics can also be created on glass and mirror as a base, although ensure that it is sturdy and thick.
A grout file is a tool for breaking out loose or old grout from a mosaic piece (or tiling joint), in order for the grout to be repaired or replaced.
A rubber mallet to break plates or large numbers of tiles into irregular pieces and shapes. A hammer can also be used, although it does cause more shattering.
Metal trays, bowls and pitchers make great surfaces for mosaics.
PATTERN DRAWING SUPPLIES
To draw your own designs, use graph paper, brown craft paper, and transfer paper. You will also need a rule or circular template, a pencil and a permanent black marker.
Mosaic material can break into tiny, sharp pieces and can have sharp edges. Protect your eyes when cutting and breaking tiles, glass, mirror and China by wearing protective goggles. Wear latex gloves when grouting.
Sandpaper is used to remove any rough edges and/or residual grout.
Use craft sticks or plastic spreaders to spread adhesives on the surface or to apply adhesives to individual tiles. They can also be used to fill grout into tight places or used to smooth out grout on the edges of finished projects.
To spread grout over the glued tesserae, use a rubber spatula, a squeegee or a plastic putty knife.
A squeegee is a tool for spreading grout. The spreader has a rubber blade on one edge which helps to force the grout into all the spaces.
SURFACE or SURFACES
The surface refers to the base or background on which tesserae is placed. It can be made of wood, cement, terra cotta, metal, glass etc.
Wooden surfaces such as unfinished furniture and accessories such as frames can be bought at craft, furniture, hardware and department stores. Usable items such as tables, chairs and wooden accessories can be found at garage and yard sales, auctions, second-hand stores and opportunity shops.
Wooden surfaces need to be sealed with a clear acrylic sealer and allowed to dry before tesserae is applied.
Tesserae are the tiles, seashells, broken China, mirror and glass pieces, terra cotta or pebbles that are pieced together on a surface to create the design.
A tile cutter is used to score and break precise, straight cuts on flat tiles, particularly pieces thicker than a centimetre.
TILE NIPPERS (GLASS NIPPERS)
Tile or glass nippers are used for holding, cutting or breaking tiles, glass, China and the like. They look and are used much like pliers, with some having round disks and others having sharp blades, and they have spring-action handles. To use them, grasp the material you wish to break or cut with the nippers. When the disks or blades are pressed together they crack and break the material.
*ALWAYS wear goggles when nipping pieces of tile, glass or ceramic.
Long-handled tweezers can be of help when placing small pieces.