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Here are a Few Pointers

  1. When cutting tiles, hold the tile over the space it is intended to go. Use your eye to visually work out the direction of the cut or a non-permanent marker to mark the cut.
  2. Don't use small random pieces of tiles to fill empty spaces as this may make your mosaic look disjointed and draw the eye to the area. You are better off spending time working out your tile placement or removing some tiles to correct it.
  3. When cutting your tiles or tesserae, use a plastic container to collect the shards. This will save on the clean up and help you to avoid nicks to your hands.
  4. Use clear plastic bags or containers to store your unused tiles & tesserae. This will help with your organisation for future projects.
  5. When making a mosaic with a few different grout colours, use masking tape when grouting to protect the other areas.
  6. When sealing your grout, don't forget to remove it from your tiles before it dries. Grout sealer will leave a film on the top of the tiles that can be difficult to remove.
  7. Lay the fiddly bits which fit into awkward spaces at the same time as the neighbouring tesserae so, if necessary, you can gently ease the neighbouring tesserae aside while the glue is still wet
  8. Backgrounds tend to look best if they are not one uniform colour. The use of slightly different hues in the background is called ‘peppering’ and serves to liven up the background design which is obviously a crucial part of the whole. Mark on the board in pencil where your accent pieces will be laid so that you don’t forget to add them during the laying process and end up with an uneven finish. Here is an example of a finished piece with the peppering effect showing in the slightly lighter tesserae in the background.
  9. Check your spacing as you work. You will have thought about this during the planning stage but it’s still important to keep it in mind as you work. The dark tessera at the front of the photo above marks the border of the piece. The bird design above (not shown) is complete and a layer of tesserae has been laid around it (see photo in Tip No 2). It’s important that the spacing between the border and the inner design is reasonably even so that you don’t end up with one thick line of tesserae and one thin one. In this photo you can see that there is space for two evenly sized tesserae between the border and the bird’s outline. Nip the tesserae to the correct size if need be.
  10. It might sound a bit like Blue Peter but… when laying out a larger mosaic and working on the layout and spacing, it helps to make cardboard cut outs of the key elements in the design so that you can move them around easily and see how they work in different positions.
  11. Take breaks and use an elastic resistance band. Mosaic making involves hours of concentrated work often spent sitting down hunched in the same position which puts an enormous strain on the back and upper body. So perhaps the most important of the mosaic tips is to make sure you take frequent breaks and do some quick stretches to avoid doing yourself any long term damage. I find one of these elastic resistance bands does just the trick.

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