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!

Walk-through


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:

  1. The water from the mix re-hydrated the tile adhesive so some pieces moved during the filling process.
  2. 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.

Wrapping-up


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.

Footnotes


The following online content provided some assistance and/or inspiration during the making of this project:


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