Now place your mesh over your layout and trace the image onto your mesh. I like to use a regular black permanent marker. I save my layouts, you never know when you can use it again!
Here is a close up of the mesh. I purchase mine at a local upholstery fabric store, but you might be able to find it where you are for less $ somewhere else. Just make sure it is strong enough. If you can tear it.....don't use it. Make your sections no larger than 3ft. x 3ft. if possible. You will have to lift the sections later and they can get heavy.
Place wax or parchment paper under your mesh. This is to prevent your mesh from sticking to your work table. Now start adhering your mosaic to the mesh. At this time I would like to discuss your adhesive. Remember, the adhesive that we will be using at this point is only to adhere the mosaic to the mesh. The mosaic as a whole will later be adhered with thinset and grout. I LOVE to use a hot glue gun. Many mosaic artists are surprised at this, but I swear by it for this method. It is fast, clean and leaves a nice small bead that allows alot of thinset to seep through the mesh. I have used hot glue for this method for over 10 years with no problem. (Note: we will be switching to another project for the following sequence of this tutorial)
When you are finished mounting your mosaic, trim away any excess mesh. Trim as close to the tile as possible, even trying to "under cut" the mesh. You will be tempted to dissect your project now, but wait until the next step. (Note: we have switched over to another project, you are not going crazy!)
Now that you have finished mounting your mosaic on the mesh, it is time to turn it over to remove the wax/parchment paper. If it is a large project you will need help. You might have the urge to cut any large project into sections now, don't. It is much easier after you have turned it over, removed the wax/parchment paper, and then use a box cutter to cut through the mesh.
It is very important to remove ALL of the wax/parchment paper. Note the little beads that are left behind when I use the glue gun. This allows maximum seepage of the thinset through the mesh.
Now we are mounting the actual mosaic. Use a float to "slap" it good.......don't worry it likes it! Do not be surprised when some pieces fall off. About 10% of the pieces will, that is normal. I just go behind my helpers and put a little thin set on the piece and stick it back in place.
Here I am starting the last panel. I had to re-do the layout due to a change in the electrical outlet. Also Notice how I changed the direction of the stem for the center flower. I want it to "tie-in" to the last panel so the last flower doesn't seem so isolated.
Well the customer picked brown.A tip for solid circles.......draw a circle in the circle to make sure that you are staying true to the curve. It will be a great guideline and you will see if you go off center right away.
I sent a progress photo to my customer and she wants more red, so I say let there be RED! I have flagged which petals will be changed and I think that will give her the effect she wants. Thank goodness for this modern day technology. We are about 2,000 miles apart....that would have been an expensive re-do!
Well it's time to get back to work. I have accomplished quite a bit, just haven't had time to post photos. So here you are, some progress photos. I've got the blue background down and have started the "cross over" to the next panel.
I use 4mm windowpane strips, that measure 1" x 12". I have my glass guy cut them in the strips. They run 2 strips for one cent. There is thinner glass, but I use 4mm because it is the same thickness as mirror. What ever thickness you decide, make sure you ALWAYS get the same thickness, so you can mix the leftovers of one project with another. Sometimes there is an oil on the glass that must be wiped off with a paper towel before you paint.
We are going to be putting 3 layers of paint on each strip of glass, so remember LESS IS MORE. The first coat I call Press and Swirl. Use a little dollop and hold the glass strip firmly. Press down hard and swirl the paint down the strip. You will have to get more painton your finger about 4 more times for each strip. Don't get lazy and put a lot of paint on your finger, it won't work. Always go in one direction and don't go back over your work. the paint dries fast and you will just wipe it off. I can't stress enough how you must embrace the irregularities of this process. One strip will be cut into 48 pieces and each one needs to look different. NO UNIFORMITY!
Now We Tap and Drag. After the first step of Press and Swirl has dried completely, get another dollop of another color of paint. Tap a spot on the glass and turn your finger to the side and drag the paint back and forth. Lightly now, this is a wet on wet process and you do not want to wipe off the paint underneath. This is the most difficult step, so be patient. The metallic paints seem to move easier and I strongly suggest you use metallic paint for this Tap and Drag step.The secret to this step is to put the glass right on the edge of your work surface. It will keep your fist out of the way.
After you Tap and Drag about an inch down the strip of glass, stop pick up the glass and turn it over. Hold your hand under the glass to get a true read of what the colors will look like and make sure there is enough contrast between the two colors. If not, change to another color and continue on to finish the strip of glass.
Here are two photos of the finished Tap and Drag. First from the painted side, and then from the glass side. Please accept my apologies for the photos.Glass is REALLY hard to photograph, especially with a flash.
The most important thing here is to make sure you put on the second coat shear enough to be able to still see through it and the third coat can be seen.............Continued
Finally the third step which is The Flood. Here we put on the last coat. Just rub on a solid coat of the third color. Don't go overboard and make it two thick or it will never dry. Again after the first inch, turn it over and make sure you like it. If not it is not too late to change the color. I have used 4 different Flood Coat Colors to show you how you can change the effects.
Now I have finished painting my strips. Next turn them over and mark off 1" intervals. It is important to mark on the glass side and not on the painted side. The marks will come off during the grouting process.
I use regular tile nippers to cut my glass. First cut the strip in half, it is easier to handle.Then cut them down to the 1" pieces and stack them.This will prevent them from picking up shards on the back. Keep a brush ready to sweep up shards in between each strip.
Here are the finished pieces. They look like little jewels don't they?I hope you can see the different effects with the 4 different flood coats that I used. I have tried using brushes, sponges and feathers to get different effects, but always return to my fingers. Mostly because the "tools" make the pieces look too uniform and the cut pieces all turn out the same. The last piece of green painted glass is a sample of the Press and Swirl pattern I use when I keep the pieces in the large 1" size. You have to mix it up a little more. If you are going to apply the glass onto a mirror surface, just use step 1 & 2 so you can see through to the mirror. I use regular white Elmer's glue to adhere. Then grout when the piece is dry. Remember if you are in a hurry, use a hand held hair dryer to dry the layers of paint. Don't get to close, or the paint will blister.HAVE FUN!
I want to welcome both Rachel and Beth as new followers!
I took the day off and spent it on the computer. It is AMAZING how time flies when you are glued to that tiny screen! I looked up different blogs and organizations and here's a couple you have to check out:
And some Yahoo Groups I checked into where great too, like mosaicaddicts group.
Here is another photo of Garisol, it's coming along!
I am a proffessional mosaic artist and live in a one room palapa on the beach in a small town near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico called Bucerias. I have renovated a residential plaza that was located around the corner into an art center with 4 galleries, mosaic school, painting and cooking schools also. I founded a local art walk for all the galleries in town and now it just sounds like I am bragging! The summer of 2009 is going to be all about experimenting for me. First this blog, then I took some kite surfing lessons and next painting lessons!