Little Tile Steps

So my base finished drying out overnight and I could start on the fun bits.

Trivet In Progress
Trivet in Progress

First thing was to brush the entire surface with the adhesive and then let it get a little tacky (which didn’t take much time) before adding a bit of glue to each tile and arranging them on the plaster base.

I went with a pretty basic pattern and then just filled in the edges because I didn’t exactly center the design. But perfection isn’t what I’m going for, here, it’s an experiment.

The heart shape, well, that’s a project for another post, we’re going to stick with the square for now.

Next is the grout. It’s a good thing I bought an extra packet because I mixed the powder with the recommended amount of water and it was way too thin. So, learn from my mistake: mix a little at a time (the package describes it as oatmeal consistency).

Then you have to glop it all over everything. Gloves are suggested and I don’t think it’s because it’s harmful to your skin (though your manicure might suffer) but more because you can’t just wash this stuff off in the sink. Gloves make it easy to clean-up quickly.

After you mush the grout into all the spaces you let it set for about 10 minutes and then take a damp sponge and wipe away the extra from the tops of the tiles or whatever. Here’s some things the package didn’t tell me that I learned by trial and error:

  1. Use an almost dry sponge (seriously, squeeze almost all the water out) and use a disposable foil pan for your water. If you want to do more than one project you can reuse it or you can ditch it without clogging drains, etc.
  2. Work from one end to the other to avoid smearing damp grout onto the area you’ve already cleared.
  3. Rinse the sponge after every pass.
  4. You can mold edges and at this stage by using a little more water to shape the not-quite-hardened grout.
  5. Leaving some grout on the edges or in crevices within the tiles gives a neat beachy look.
  6. Worried that your tiles are too many, too bright, too whatever? Don’t: the grout tones down the look of the piece.

More pictures this weekend of the finished trivet.

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Looking for something a little more advanced? A while back I wrote an article on Beaded Card Embroidery with a funky art-deco example. It’s a lot like a mosaic but without the grout and other messy stuff. Check it out and give it a try!

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