Here is part three of our series on how to make mosaics.
Guest author, Marylou Newdigate, has been kind enough to write a series of articles on mosaic tiling. This article describes the grouting process. If you have missed parts one and two of the series on mosaic crafts, you will find links at the bottom of this article.
Once your pieces are glued down properly- and not able to be moved at all, you can begin grouting.
Make sure the mosaic is clean with no loose bits anywhere.
Mix the grout according to the instructions on the bag it came in. I add some bonding liquid - about 25ml to 250ml of water. This makes the grout waterproof and stronger. You can also experiment with water based paint and pigments to tint the grout (if you want color). Finally, add the grout powder - usually it is about 3 parts powder to one part water. I just go by feel now; it is fairly forgiving stuff. Just make sure your mixture is firm and gelled before using. (Definitely not sloppy, or dry and crumbly.)
Add more water or more powder until the consistency is correct and leave to stand for 15 mins before using.
Then get a sponge or spatula and just blob and smear the grout all over the mosaic. Wipe it into all the grooves.
Do NOT try and clean it too soon. BE PATIENT!! Wait 15 to 20 minutes and then clean off the excess grout with a DAMP sponge, not dripping wet. Try not to re-wet the grout.
Don't go crazy cleaning at this stage. Just take the excess off and leave it for another 15 minutes. At this stage, one is kind of desperate to see the finished results so ALL beginners clean the grout off too soon. Then you end up with valleys or as I call them "dongas" between your pieces where dirt will collect and make your mosaic look grubby very quickly. If this does happen- you can re grout and enjoy the process all over again.
Once the grout is level with all your mosaic pieces and dry, you can give it a final polish with a dry cloth and step back and admire your artwork.
If you have used ready mixed adhesive (not the cementy kind) you can use acetone to clean any remnants off the surface.
For part one of Marylou Newdigate's series on how to make mosaics, please see the article Mosaic Tiling.
Craig and Ruth Renwick of Renwick Tiles and guest author Marylou Newdigate of Earthmaid - A mosaic crafts blog work together sharing skills and ideas to create a platform for all ceramic artists, professional and amateur, to exhibit, hold workshops, purchase bisqueware and materials or design their own creations.
Our main business is handmade tiles, basins, platters, commissions. etc. Products include handmade tiles, mosaics, platters, bowls, bisqueware, and anything ceramic made to order in any colour. If we can't make it, we know someone who can.