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What I really love about home education is the ability to focus on things that will help the boys in their life – rather than things they will just memorise and either forget or never use. Being able to do things yourself is not only good for your self-esteem but also can save you a lot of money. An example of this is most definitely when my husband redesigned our bathroom, and has since used some of those skills again when restyling our kitchen. I thought that being creative with mosaics would be a really good introduction to the skills of planning and tiling.
20mm Glass Mosaics Standard Pack
The 20mm Glass Mosaics Standard Pack from Home Crafts seemed like a great kit to begin with. It contains an all-important instruction booklet (there is nothing I hate more when trying to teach the boys a new skill than there being nothing to explain the method!); 670 20mm Venetian mosaic tiles (and the suggestion of other things you can use such as shells from the beach – which I thought was a really nice idea), 1 kg tile cement (and an explanation of different types of adhesive and what they are good for in terms of mosaic tiles and surfaces); 1 kg grouting mix, Pincers, Sponge (to clean off the grout), Squeegee, Palette knife, Gloves, Tweezers, Gloves, Apron and Goggles. Other items of use which are not included are a waffle board and a bucket (for mixing the grout). Of course you also need something to decorate with your tiles.
Our First attempt at a Mosaics Craft
As it was our first attempt at mosaics I didn’t really fancy doing anything extravagant like a wall so instead we went for a little wooden tray that we could store bits in (or even the equipment for further mosaic projects, we haven’t yet decided).
Step 1: Think about the materials you want to use – that is the colours and shapes too. The booklet explains all about the types of tiles and how you can add sea shells, stones, pebbles, glass nuggets or millifiore.
Step 2: Get together everything you will need for your mosaic – including all the tools and tiles.
Step 3: Decided on the method you will use. We opted for the direct method as it was described as the simplest one, ideal for beginners.
Step 4: Design your mosaic. Draw it out mapping out the colours and shapes on paper before using a soft pencil or crayon to draw the outline of the design onto the base of where you will tile. We found that we knew our tiles weren’t going to fit properly but decided to see if them being overlapped would work.
Step 5: If you wish to break the tiles into smaller pieces using the nippers then ensure that you are wearing protection (gloves/goggles/mask) and use the tweezers to position them on your design. We struggled to get them to cut as we wanted so figure this is going to take more practise.
Step 6: Place the tiles on to the base leaving a gap between them. When happy move the pieces to one side.
Step 7: Apply the adhesive evenly but not too much or it will squeeze through the tiles.
Step 8: Press the tiles firmly and evenly into the adhesive. We discovered that we had actually originally placed the tiles on upside-down and had to start again – so make sure you know about your tiles.
Step 9: Let the adhesive dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions. We then had to remove the backing paper with warm water and some tiles fell off and needed reapplying – this is apparently not unusual.
Step 10: Wearing gloves mix and apply the grout with the palette knife; pushing it into the gaps between the tiles. Once the design is completely covered in grout then use a damp sponge and clean cold water to wipe away the excess. The sponge needs to be continuously rinsed but also well squeezed as too much water will ruin the grout.
Step 11: Leave the grout to dry completely – for at least 24 hours.
Step 12: Remove excess grout with a clean sponge and warm water.