I’ve been wanting to give mosaic a try for a while now. The area around where I live has seen a lot of construction take place and a great variety of tiles is to be found in the piles of rumbles here and there.
Thus I set out on a scavenger hunt to bring back colored tiles and started thinking about a project to put them to good use. While traveling I always enjoyed the fact the some people find a name for their home, and usually display it with a nice sign next to their door. So I thought that it was time I made my own!
Transferring the design onto the wooden board
The wooden board itself was picked up from one of those rumble piles I was mentioning.
I used Inkscape to come up with a design that I liked. I didn’t have to look too far for inspiration: there’s a lighthouse 500m from my place and I there’s not a day when I watch the sailing boats passing-by.
The design was printed and traced on the board, first with a knife and then highlighted with a black pencil.
Breaking the tiles into little pieces
I quickly realized that I did not have the proper tools to do this. But still, a decent amount of hammering later I had little piles of different colors to start working with.
Gluing the pieces to the board
I used tile adhesive to fill-up the areas of the drawings with the pieces of tile.
It took a very, very long time. It’s like making a puzzle except you have to wait until for the glue to dry and hold some pieces in place to move on to the next.
Filling-in the gaps with plaster
Here I used regular plaster to fill in the gaps between the pieces of tile.
I’ve never done this before, and I thought that it would be better if the plaster-water mix was quite liquid to fill in the gaps easily. That was a mistake for two reasons:
- The water from the mix re-hydrated the tile adhesive so some pieces moved during the filling process.
- When the water evaporates while the plaster dries, it shrinks and reveals some cracks and hollow areas so I had to do a second pass of filler to even everything out.
Final work on the background
Finally I applied a layer of diluted plaster with a brush on the the board and on the sides of the tiles.
I wasn’t really happy by the uniformity of the all white background so I sanded some areas to achieve a more interesting effect.
All in all I’m very happy about the result. It was a long process but definitely something I will try again, with the right tool this time to cut the pieces less randomly.
The following online content provided some assistance and/or inspiration during the making of this project: