STEP TWO – Choose the Design & Tesserae
Plan your Design:
Since the aim here is to make something easy and attractive choose simple forms and shapes, such as butterflies, hearts, geometric patterns, etc. Use a design that allows you to use pre-cut tesserae.
Choose tesserae that are easy to work with. Be aware that small tesserae can be difficult to manipulate and place without knocking other tesserae out of place.
Draw your design on paper. Lay out your tesserae to test out your design for placement and fit. Try several design ideas. First outline the edges of the design, and then fill in the center. If you want to accent the interior of the design, place those pieces after the outline, and then fill on the rest. Depending on your design you may want to use grout feathered around the edges, rather than filling the entire top of the substrate with tile and ending with a tile border.
Cut out your design and trace or copy it onto your chosen substrate.
When selecting your tesserae remember that the tesserae need to be water-proof and weather-resistant. Read labels to determine if any particular item is appropriate for outdoor use.
- Ceramic tile
- Vitreous glass tile
- Stained glass
- Marble – requires sealing
- Stone – some require sealing
- Shells – some require sealing or filling
- Beach glass
- Old Jewelry or Buttons
- What else can you think of?
Use the following links to view specific suggested products. Continue to browse the complete sites to find other pre-cut tesserae to use in your mosaic. Remember, with pre-cut tesserae you can make a mosaic quickly and easily without investing in additional equipment. You can move on to nipping, nibbling, and cutting tiles at any time.
If you are looking for pattern or design ideas browse Glass Sorcery’s Free Patterns. We have an extensive collection of free patterns on this site. While these patterns were originally intended for use as stained glass patterns, they can also be used for mosaic work.
Some of the simpler patterns can be made using pre-cut tiles and other tesserae that do not require cutting or reshaping. The more complex designs may require nipping, nibbling, or cutting. If you are ready for the next step in your mosaic adventure I highly recommend that you buy the best tool for this purpose – Leponitt Mosaic Tile Cutters. These wheeled tile cutters are far superior to the cheaper imitations and they do not cost that much more – just a few dollars, so go ahead and buy the BEST. If you buy the slightly cheaper imitations you will end up wanting Leponitt tile cutters, anyway. Leponitt Wheeled Tile Cutters cut glass, ceramic, china, smalti, shells, and more, easily and neatly.
This post is part of a series on Mosaics on the Rocks: