Mosaic Tips

Glass Nipping Techniques

  • Always wear protective eye glasses when nipping. Use Jennifer's Mosaics Wheeled Glass Nippers for best results. They are specially designed for nipping glass. Place the glass or tile piece between the wheels. If you are right handed the wheels should face left. If you are left handed the wheels should face right.
  • Position the glass piece so the edge of the glass is between the wheels (FIG. 1). This gives you more leverage when making your nip.
  • To make triangles, place the glass or tile on a diagonal and nip (FIG. 2). Make smaller triangles by nipping the triangles in half again.
  • To make rectangles nip the glass or tile in a straight line. To make small squares nip the glass or tile in half into two rectangles and nip the rectangles in half to form squares (FIG. 3).
  • Nip glass or tile over a box or over newspaper on the work surface to catch shards. Continually sweep the surface to keep it clean and to prevent shard splinters and cuts. Be sure to use a brush and dust pan; not your hands.

Outline Shapes

  • A popular technique in mosaics is to outline the shape of a subject with tile. When working in mosaics create your main subject first, then fill in the background. Outline the shape by placing glass in a row inside the pattern outline (FIG. 4). Leave approximately 1/8"–1/16" space between tiles and the outer surface edge for grout. To fill in the shape place additional rows until you reach the center or nip various shaped and sized pieces to fill in the pattern outline.

Mosaics on Curved Objects

  • To make a piece of flat glass fit against a curved surface, nip the glass or tile into small pieces to conform to the curve. By using this technique you can apply glass or tile to almost any object, flat or curved.
  • Use a rice bag or dried beans to rest rounded objects on to prevent rolling during the mosaic process.
  • Use tacky or quick dry glue and work on small areas at a time when adding tesserae to a curved surface.

Bevel a Grout Edge

  • When grouting a project that has an open edge (top and/or bottom), bevel the edge to create a finished look. To do so, mix the grout and completely cover the edge of the glass or tile covering all sharp edges. Place a finger along the edge on the project at an 45° angle. Move finger along the grout edge pushing away excess grout and leaving an angled edge to a smooth finish (FIG. 5).

Personalizing Projects

  • When working in the mosaic indirect method, remember that the finished side of the project is face down. Therefore, place the colorful side of the tesserae face down onto the contact paper.
  • If you are personalizing your project with words or numbers, both will need to be reversed on your pattern. To do so, write the word on a piece of paper with a dark marker. Flip the paper over and trace over the words or numbers with a pen or marker (FIG. 6). Use a lightbox if available or hold paper near a lamp or window pane. To check how the reversed words or numbers look, hold the sheet up to a mirror. If it reads correctly the image has been reversed. Trim and tape the reversed writing on your pattern and mosaic.

Grouting Mosaic Projects

  • Diamond Tech always recommends wearing rubber gloves during the grouting process. However, if you choose to apply grout with your bare hands, return the pH balance by rinsing your hands in vinegar.