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Handy Tips to Help with Your Projects

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  • Grout can make or break your mosaic. But it's fun wiping it off watching the beauty of your art unfold. Choosing the color is critical. Grout color should pull everything together and not interfere with the design. 
     Sanded grout with polymers will strengthen your mosaic.
     White is great for areas that you want to keep bright.
     Black works well when you use lots of bright colors.
     Gray is always a safe choice.
     Wet grout will dry back to the original color it started out as, so don't panic when your wet grout looks darker.
     If you are unsure, sprinkle some dry grout powder into your mosaicAfter you decide, you can then brush it out. — Mixing grout:  Start with a tiny amount of water in the bottom of your container, slowly add the powder. A little water goes a long way! Keep adding both until you obtain a "peanut butter" consistency. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes so the chemicals will have time to work.

  • Delicate pieces, such as jewels, seeds, etc. can add a special dimension to mosaics, but they can be difficult to grout. One solution is to grout the major pieces or sections first, and then add the the delicate elements.

  • Specialty tiles and colored mirrors can be difficult to find. We recommend ShiningEyeArts via Etsy. They offer a variety of materials and excellent customer service. (Free shipping for orders $35 or more.)

  • ​Use nippers for complex shapes — Here's a link to a helpful video (from IC Mosaics).

  • Clear bags or containers that seal are super handy for storing tesserae so you can see what's in them.

  • Never use your hands to push away shards, a small dust pan and whisk broom will keep you from cutting yourself.

  • Step away from your mosaic occasionally to assess any mistakes and to see where you need to make changes.

  • Cutting your tesserae (small pieces of tile or glass) over a small bin helps catch those small fragments and save time on clean-up.

  • Small disposable cups are great for mixing small amounts of thinset and grou. And when you're done, just toss.

  • Record the grout color for each project in case you have to go back and do repairs.

  • Know how you will frame or hang your piece or how it will be installed — before you begin!

  • Wooden (craft) sticks are perfect for stirring small amounts of adhesive and grout, and for 'buttering' the backs of tiles; just use and toss!

  • When placing tiles along an edge, do the sides first, then overlap your top tiles just a little, for a finished look.

  • For grout haze removal, clean tops of tiles with white vinegar and water mix.

  • Don't use random small pieces to fill in gaps. These odd shapes draw your eye to these areas and look out of place.

  • Use a lazy-susan when you need to rotate your mosaic to avoid picking it up.

  • Glass grinder: Wear rubber finger tips to prevent cuts to your fingers.

  • Keep the name and item number of new tiles in your storage container so when it's time to reorder, you have that info handy.

  • Hold a tile over the space will help you "eye" the right way to cut it.

  • Take photos as you go. It’s easy to spot a badly placed piece or a perfect array in a photo.

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