Category Archives: Mosaic Tile Projects

DIY Mosaic Tile Light Switch Covers

Custom Switch Plate Cover
Creating a mosaic tile switch plate cover @ tilegypsy.com

DIY Light Switch Covers:

  • Start with a HARD plastic light switch cover … found at home improvement and hardware stores. If the plastic is bendy … pass.
  • You can use wood and metal light switch covers too. Makes no never mind. 😉
  • Coat the light switch cover with Weldbond adhesive and let dry. You don’t have to coat the switch plate but … it really helps things stick better.
  • Glue color fast beads and/or tile around the light switch opening with Weldbond.
  • Now I glue from the outside in to establish how much room I have left to work with.
  • Continue to glue the rest of your design and let the glue set up for 30 minutes.
  • Now glue the color fast beads around the edges of the light switch cover and let it dry for for a minimum of 24 hours before grouting.
  • Before grouting … cover delicate items (jewels etc) with painter’s tape before grouting.
  • After the light switch cover is completely dry … mix sanded grout (color of choice) with liquid grout additive, instead of water, for more flexibility.
  • Grout on fill the cracks. Grout off.
  • Let dry for 24 hours the seal grout not delicates.
  • Again … let it dry overnight and install.
  • Depending on the height of the pieces surrounding the light switch holes … you may need to purchase longer screws for ease in use.
Custom switchplate covers sold.
Custom Mosaic Tile Switch Plate Covers • SOLD. © mara lee

MATERIALS:

  • Switch plate covers of your choice. Plastic, wood or metal
  • Weldbond Adhesive
  • Painters Tape
  • Wheeled Nipper
  • Bits and pieces of ceramic tile, china, jewels etc.
  • Foam Brush
  • Painters Tape
  • Wooden Skewer
  • Paper Towel
  • Sanded Grout, Grout Additive and Grout Sealer
  • Longer Screws, if needed
Mosaic Tile Switchplates
Private Collection.
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Through the Looking Glass

The vintage window was a gift from my sister friend, Tilly Evan Jones … it sat around for a couple of years waiting and wanting. Finally glued a bunch of my vintage glass collection to it.

All you need is a sturdy window (or frame) with good glass, wheeled glass nippers, small hammer, hand towel, safety glasses, random glass objects and e6000 adhesive.  This project must be glued in a well ventilated area … without the kids and pets.

glass-window-project

Break glass dishes under a dish towel with a small hammer and gentle hand or use wheeled glass nippers to break up glass objects.

FYI … There are glass plates that will shatter into a BAZILLION PIECES without warning so … don’t be … going to use the word stupid – because it really is … ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GLASSES when cutting glass or tile and do a different project with the kids.

glass-on-glass window © mara lee

mosaic tile gazing balls

Garden Gazing BallsVal, a cherished tile gypsy, was sharing her recent gluing frenzy with bowling balls.  It immediately brought back fond memories of battling a 15 pound bowling ball while trying to glue things to it.

Truth be told … the hardest part of mosaic tiling a bowling ball is … finding the bowling ball.

Now that she’s got me going … anyone have an old bowling ball that they want to get rid of ? 🙂

Mosaic tiled bowling balls or … mosaic tiled gazing balls … are pretty easy to create by preparing the surface properly and using the right adhesive.

mosaic tile balls
balls in half moon bay © mara lee

MOSAIC TILE BOWLING BALL SUPPLIES 

  1. Bowling Ball
  2. Flat Mosaic Tile Materials … Ceramic Tile, stained glass, vintage china, mirror and glass gems
  3. Weatherproof/Waterproof Adhesive … Best choices – GE II Silicone • E6000 • Clear Liquid Nails
  4. Sandpaper medium grade is fine
  5. Sanded grout – FYI … darker shades won’t show the wear that lighter shades of grout will
  6. Grout Additive (Used to mix grout instead of using water. Makes the grout more flexible and can help prevent cracking)
  7. Grout or Masonry clear sealant

MOSAIC TILE GAZING BALL PROJECT

  • Clean the bowling ball. Let it dry.
  • Seal the finger holes, if you don’t want to use them. Again, a MacGyver thing.
  • Rough up the ball using the sandpaper … or you can cover the ball with tile mesh before gluing … ask me.
  • Always wear safety glasses when cutting tile or glass.
  • Organize mosaic tile materials by choosing pieces that are close to the same thickness, for uniformity.
  • Using a wheeled tile nipper, mosaic tile cutter or glass cutter … cut the tile, glass or china pieces before you start gluing.
  • Prop the bowling bowl on a large weighted coffee can … or something comparable.
  • Grab your adhesive and start gluing. (FYI…Adhesives for this project are TOXIC. Best to do this in a very well ventilated area or outside.)
  • A little patience is needed. It’s round!
  • If pieces don’t lie flat … cut them smaller.
  • This project takes multiple days. Glue one side of the bowling ball. Let it dry for at least 24 hours. Longer is always better!
  • Glue the other side of the bowling ball and let that dry for at least 24 hours. Again, longer is better.
  • Grout. Read the directions.
  • Remove grout and clean.
  • Cover with a dry cleaning bag (or something comparable) to allow the grout to dry slower and hopefully prevent cracking.
  • Wait at least 24 hours.
  • Uncover and polish.
  • Let it cure for a few more days, polishing everyday.
  • Seal finished piece with grout or masonry clear sealant. Read the directions.
  • Gaze.

FYI … Mosaic Tiled Gazing Balls and handmade mosaic tile garden art should be brought in during colder months and resealed each season.

garden-mosaic
go outside. let it dry. © mara lee

all rights reserved copyright © mara lee. please do not copy, distribute, duplicate or create derivative works using my original designs and photography. thank you very much!

 

Decoupage and Mosaic Tile

Easy Mosaic Tile Glass Collage – Crash Glass-Decoupage

Decoupage was my first love and after attending a crash glass class using a 2-part epoxy … it got me thinking … why go to all the trouble of working with a toxic adhesives when you can do pretty much the same thing using a Weldbond. (sold)

decoupage-crash-glass
Settled on a wooden trivet that was laying around.

Always amazed at how the items for my craft projects magically appear … most of the time anyway.

decoupage
Feeling it!

While it’s wonderful that you can use watered down Elmer’s white glue for Decoupage … you need a stronger adhesive in this case to guarantee that the glass and tile will withstand grouting and just plain being a trivet.

crash glass project
laying out the design

After painting the trivet and letting it completely dry, I laid out the design so the quote showed through the glass properly and glued the papers directly onto the trivet. Don’t get carried away with the glue. Just brush on enough glue to attach the images. Let it dry and brush on a few more layers of glue, letting it dry each time.

When the papers were dry and perfectly sealed from layers of glue … I glued the tile border first, applying Weldbond to each tile piece and applied the glass by smearing Weldbond onto the back of each glass piece so it wouldn’t puddle and refuse to dry clear.

decoupage-crash-glass
the secret is to let stuff dry

Once the piece is glued and completely dry, grout it to finish off the piece.

A great non-toxic glass collage and decoupage project, that anyone can do!

decoupage-crash-glass
kinda wish I hadn’t sold this

Beautiful results with less mess than other epoxy crash glass methods.

crash-glass-decoupage
surprise’s are good! (sold)

Wait For It

I’m in awe of artists that can create everyday.

If I could find that daily inspiration, I’m pretty sure I would too.

Problem is … I can’t force the artist within, I have to coax her, like a lost dog on the street.

For me … there has to be a catalyst and that catalyst has to have friends that want to play nice together.

When they do … Oh, what a feeling 😉 … it has to be better than a runner’s high!

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to run far enough to get inspiration to kick in … it’ll come to me when it’s time and still learning that the joy is in the journey;)

“There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.”
― Lemony Snicket

Go Glue Something

Looking Back

Here are a few mosaic tile light switch covers and incense burners from a year long phase.

Some pieces have sold, while others are sold on simply-sugar.com

Glass on glass tomorrow!

Happy New Year!

The HeART of Handmade Gifts II

It takes more time to come up with a mosaic tile design than it does to glue it down.

Problem is the materials (go through your junk drawers and jewelry boxes) change as you go along … some pieces make the cut … others will not. This is not the time to get discouraged.

If I’m on a roll and the pieces are falling into place … it takes me about an hour to glue a single light switch cover.

If I’m not on a roll … I’ve already started gluing something else.

Gluing at Alice's - all rights reserved © 2013 Mara Lee
Gluing at Alice’s – all rights reserved © 2013 Mara Lee

The gypsy quote is a pendant that I’ve had since high school … and it went from there.

all rights reserved © 2013 Mara Lee
Deep with Dreams – all rights reserved © 2013 Mara Lee

added a little iridescent tile and a purple glass heart …

Gypsy Soul - all rights reserved Mara Lee
Deep with Dreams – all rights reserved Mara Lee

Going to glue ball and chain to the outer edge, after the grout dries.

Maybe you should too.

All you need is …

  • Heavy plastic light switch cover 69¢
  • Family Mementoes, Vintage China and Treasures that are lurking in drawers, cupboards and closets
  • Buy some fun #tiles and glass shapes
  • Weldbond or E6000 Adhesive
  • Tile Nipper and Safety Glasses

Losing My Marbles

A full jar of glass marbles literally jumped off the shelf.

Inspiration granted.

The vintage window was purchased in Orange, California with my sista friend, Alice.  A fun day was had by all.

Lovin’ the glass heart porthole!

glass-on-glass-window
“Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.” ― Jim Carroll

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t “try” to do things. You simply “must” do things.” — Ray Bradbury

Glass on Glass
Glass on Glass

“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.” — Pearl S. Buck

Do You Have Any Fairies Lying Around?

That was an actual question that was posed to me this past week.

Scary thing is … I think I do have a fairy or two lying around …

I just can’t find the little buggers … they must be hiding;) Fairies do that, you know.

plastic-figurines

So, Alice … the fairies are indisposed but I do have a colony of plastic rabbits, drive thru plastic toys and the Three Stooges minus Moe … maybe he’s with the fairies.

I’ll keep looking!

Wait for it … wait for it …

The thrift store mirror just sat there (like many of my found objects) but this piece was like having a thousand pound elephant in the room and it taunted me. I suppose I could of hung it up but that would have meant attaching a really strong wire to the back and I never saw that item make the list.

After moving it onto the tile table (and off again) a dozen times, I surrendered to the zero inspiration but hope.  At least I hadn’t broken it yet.

Then two dear friends coaxed me along by gifting me broken remains of their lives … Terri, a one armed porcelain figurine of a woman (Matilda) and Tilly, a box full of heirloom birds that flew out of her hands during a move. Amazed how that inspired me to let go of the death grip that I had on my sacred box of porcelain flowers.

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The pieces magically (as they always do) found their place onto the border and were given 9 months to dry:)

Made a pact with myself that this piece needed to be grouted and hung before Thanksgiving 2011.

Decided on charcoal grout, instead of something much lighter. Prayed about my choice.

Took a handful of the black mud and pressed it into way, way, way to many places to turn back.  Needed a second to compose myself after immediately getting that sick “OMG I picked the wrong grout color!”

Kept telling myself to just “Keep Calm & Carry On.”

Five hours, a roll of paper towel, box of Q-Tips and 250 pounds later (not me the mirror🙂 …

“Paint the frame black” chimed in from the peanut gallery … appreciated the final collaboration that included the much needed help in moving this beast to its rest stop.

Love the standing back part …

mosaic tile mirror
yes ... I could have taken a better picture but this post has overstayed its welcome.

Loving Tuesday!

Cheers!

You Can Take It With You

Took a few mosaic tile minutes today and found a really cool blog called  My Boho Life & their funky 9 foot Mosaic Tile Backsplash.  

I find myself dreaming about having a mosaic tiled backsplash one day:)

Then I ran across this Lowe’s mosaic tile video. Short, sweet and easy to follow …

but …

Did you know that if you measure the backsplash area and cut a piece of 1/2″ concrete backer board into workable sections, you can arrange unique mosaic tile designs, glue the pieces, grout and seal the entire project on a FLAT surface. Wouldn’t recommend a 9 foot section but 3 foot will work.

Then all you have to do is attach the finished pieces, to the backsplash area, using the holes that you’ve pre-drilled and kept free from grout.

Easier on your back plus you can remove it and take it with you, if you choose.

Happy Gluing!

How To Mosaic Tile Revisited

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler. – Albert Einstein

Basic instruction for indoor mosaic tile construction:

  • Cut pieces to size – wear safety glasses.
  • Glue pieces to the a prepared surface like this one with Mastic (it’s not concrete)
  • Let the glued pieces dry for at least 24 hours
  • Prepare grout according to instructions – put on gloves
  • Grout the piece filling in all the gaps but avoiding delicate objects
  • Then clean off the wet grout until it’s shiny
  • Dispose of unused grout properly … meaning NOT DOWN THE DRAIN – you’ll be sorry.
  • Let the cleaned piece dry for another 24 hours and polish with a soft cloth as needed
  • Seal with grout sealer found at any tile or home improvement store

First You Don’t Succeed

bird mirror
Layed it out three times. Put it away three times.

If things don’t seem to fit together the first time … try again … and again … and then again.

Many of the porcelain flowers that I’ve collected over the years are embedded in this piece, along a cherished porcelain bird collection that was gifted to me by my dear friend, Tilly.

While moving into a new home, Tilly accidentally dropped the box of her mother’s glass bird collection.  I feel honored that she thought of me when deciding what to do with their remains:)

Should take me forever to grout this … sure hope the courage to finish the piece is fast in coming.

Thinking charcoal.

Woo hoo for me!

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