Have you been on the hunt for some really dope DIY mosaic ideas? Are you as captivated as I am with the beauty of glass and tile chips that speaks of a bygone era? Well there’s no better way to level up your garden and backyard than by creating beautiful eye-catching decor with this technique in an intricate pattern.
These techniques I am going to share with you today will let you have the best of both worlds – all the depth and intricacy like you might find in an ancient fresco from antiquity, but using your own materials it will be so much cheaper, and lots of fun, too.
Mosaics have a long and varied history, going back to the Greco-Roman era. But this timeless craft is enjoying a resurgence. the biggest difference is that we have got lots of different materials available at our disposal.
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How to Create Mosaic Art That Will Look Great…and Look Modern, Too?
Although you most certainly can stick with traditional tile glass consider all the varied possibilities that can go into modern day mosaic art projects and ideas. Antiquity aside, I just love mosaic art; it’s only second favorite medium down from painting. I even started a Pinterest board around it too; to pay tribute to a technique that almost seems under-represented compared to others.
The first thing we have to do will be to determine the substrate …you can use canvas, masonite, or maybe even a three dimensional object to build your design on. Next will be choosing the tesserae – the objects that will be used to create the design, which we’ll get into shortly.
A tessera (plural – tesserae) is the Latin word that translates to “cube” and represents our materials.
In this post are some great diy mosaic ideas I want to share to get you thinking in the right direction: How easy or difficult they may be will depend on a few things…3d elements like vases, may be more challenging because you’ve got the issue of wrapping around your design across a non-linear surface.For DIY mosaics, think two-dimensional surfaces like wood and canvas.Click To Tweet
What Can You DIY Mosaic Art Out Of?
There are lots of cool materials (the “tesserae”) you should consider incorporating for your design. This list is not exhaustive: of course.
- Flatbed rhinestones and cabochons – The faceted kind and the non-faceted (smooth sides all around) cabochons can make for some great looking patterns. My favorite go-to craft tool I think.
- Cellophane or tissue paper
- Broken eggshells: Need something to do after the big Easter egg hunt with the kiddos? After all they are already in pretty colors, consider crunching them up into little pieces to use I have a myriad of hens and the shells of the eggs they lay are green, pink and tan.
- Seashells – Little bitty ones will work great.Ocean-motif themed artwork seems to develop a big following as who doesn’t love the beach and all it represents?
- Used CDs: Got any albums you don’t listen to anymore, or a bunch of those that came from a spindle that are more than you will need or use? (You have to be willing to take up a hammer and break them into little pieces.) Ideal material, after all they’re shiny and metallic looking
- Small mini-mirrors.…Great for putting a little glam in your work.
- Aquarium gravel….Lots of pretty colors, you can buy them in separate colors. or combinations.
- Uncooked rice -You could dye it various colors, when distributed it could look really spectacular.
You’re going to need waterproof glue regardless of your chosen substrate. or how detailed your proposed project is going to be.By the same token if you’re using paper, tissue, construction, etc., you want to use simple craft glue and not the stronger epoxy stuff.
Another common approach is to press pieces of glass into a plaster-based substrate. You can skip glue altogether if you want to use plaster instead but be mindful as you work to be sure it won’t set up before you’re finished.
What’s a Good Base to Work On?
Now as far as the surface you need, you are gonna love this part – Mosaic artwork opens the door for two-dimensional and three dimensional possibilities galore, since it can be incorporated into your own personal environment in the form of tabletops, stepping stones, etc. There’s a lot involved there, but I’m more into two-dimensional pieces. Here are some to consider:
Yes, you can employ art canvases for diy mosaic art; keep in mind the accumulation of objects will add some weight. I prefer to use small canvases (14″ and below) for mosaic effects. Check out what I did here: these are 2 small 8 x 10 canvases, I used paint samples (those you find at hardware stores) that I cut strategically to form a pattern – these are very lightweight and made a great effect.
Masonite can be good to use, these boards are slim (about an eighth of an inch thick) and have naturally smooth surfaces, and they allow object adherence very well.
Anything involving wood is great, of course, natural wood will have some weight to it.
Clay and plaster
Uncured clay or plaster can be a really excellent base because you won’t have to worry about gluing in the small objects – you could just press them in. If you’ve ever seen those stepping stone child’s handprint keepsake kits, you have an idea of how well this works. Be sure and work out your pattern beforehand, as it will be hard to un-situate them once they’ve been seated plus it will leave messy gaps.
Polymer clay can work fine if the tesserae can withstand oven heat and no-bake clay, (remember, it will shrink as it dries around it)
Using Mosaic Techniques to Embellish 3D Objects
Mosaic art can really bring out the pizazz in 3-D objects, but the tricky part is following the curvature of the object, which is why I suggest you start with a linear object first like the ones I mention in the earlier subsection if you’ve never done this before.
Popular three-dimensional objects include vases, flower pots, and empty jars. The shape may affect how easy or difficult it may be to adhere all the different pieces of substrate.
Here is a good example of a familiar three-dimensional object adorned with tile pieces – flower pots. Notice that different shapes are employed in the designs.
Another highly ambitious idea – this mirror gazing ball, which you can see, covered with dozens of broken shiny glass pieces. This level of intricacy probably took awhile, but I’ll bet was worth it…Also that little splash of pink really stands out against the backdrop.
Tips for Success (and less mess!)
When you’re handling individual pieces of objects and glueing them one by one it can seem tedious….in the case of very small objects like gravel, rice or eggshells you can work in segments and spread out a small patch of glue at a time; to make it easier on you and avoid the glue getting dry before you get a segment of objects arranged.
It will save you some time too. You can do this with the paper pieces too. but do be mindful of bubbles and pockets that may come up so be sure to spread them down smoothly. If you are using larger pieces of things like glass you may have to apply glue individually to each piece.
The aid of a tool like a pair of tweezers may be helpful for this step, too. Especially with something that may be sharp, like broken glass.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with big and little objects combined – no need to limit yourself to the classic equivalent sized square tiles. A combo of big, medium and little pieces can look really striking. The emphasis should be on creating depth.
Pay special attention to color transitions – reds, oranges, blues. In the examples above you can see how the gradations were established. It’ll give your work lots of great depth.
Here is a really good example of a mosaic work that incorporates paint (a coat of gold) and lots of random objects – I think she used eggshells as well as tiles and other things. The end result is really impressive, don’t you think?
Image credit: Image by FernMakes
Well this post is a blueprint for diy-ing mosaic art with paint,tiles, random objects – an ancient artform with a modern spin. I hope I gave you a lot of ideas for you to run with.When you get a chance, be sure to check out my follow-up post for some other cool ways to take your mosaic work up a notch. I think you’ll love it!