The Mesh Method of Mosaics Demonstrated

October 13, 2013 8 Comments

THE MESH METHOD OF MOSAICS DEMONSTRATED

I'm often asked by customers what's the easiest way to create a mosaic in a hard to reach place and how do I use fibreglass mesh to create a mosaic? So here it is, the mosaic mesh method demonstrated.

In this method tiles or tesserae are adhered directly onto fibreglass mesh which is then set into a bed of cement based adhesive. You are working using the direct method.

Advantages of the fibreglass mesh method:

  • The mosaic can be prepared in your work environment and then cut down and transported to the site for installation.
  • It's great for mosaics which are vertical or in difficult to access areas (like splashbacks, floors and fireplaces).
  • You don't need to draw your design directly onto the substrate. Rather you draw your design onto paper and an outline on the mesh.
  • Multiple individuals can work on the same mosaic easily.
  • You can make your mosaic and then cut your substrate to fit.

 

Step 1:
Cut the mesh so that you have a straight line which can work as a grid for your design.

 

Mosaic Mesh 

Step 2

Draw your design onto paper to the actual finished size of the mosaic.

 

Step 3:

You need to work on a large flat area. If you work needs to be moved place a piece of cardboard or plywood underneath it to make it sturdy. In between your design and the mesh place a layer of plastic wrap or wax paper (it needs to be a non stick surface otherwise it will adhere to the mesh). Use tape to secure the design, plastic wrap and mesh to ensure it doesn't move. Any movement will result in your design shifting. Use a permanent marker to draw an outline of your design onto the mesh. 

Mosaic Mesh Method Demonstrated 

Step 4:

To adhere the tiles to the mesh you can use Weldbond, PVA or Thinset (cement based adhesive). Weldbond and PVA glues are suitable for indoor environments only because the glue is water soluble. Thinset is also used when using transparent tiles / tesserae to hide the mesh. The adhesive can either be applied to be back of the tiles or directly onto the mesh. The adhesive needs to be thick enough to hold the tiles securely. Don't apply too much adhesive at once to the mesh as it will create a lumpy surface if it dries before the tiles are laid. Once you've finish allow the adhesive to dry completely (24 hours). Tip: Don't cut your tiles over the mesh. Tile shards can get caught in the mesh resulting in poor adhesion between the mesh and your tiles.

 

Applying tiles to mosaic mesh 

Step 5:

Remove the mesh from the plastic wrap. The glue on the back of the mesh will still be wet but your tiles should be adhered. Allow the glue to dry completely then trim off any excess mesh. If your mosaic is large you may want to cut it into workable sections. When doing this make sure that you code your pieces so that you know how they fit back together.  

 

Use Cling wrap with mosaic mesh 

Step 6:

Mix your cement based adhesive and apply it evenly to your substrate, it should be about half the thickness of your tiles. Place your mosaic onto the adhesive and carefully position the corners. When you are happy with the alignment use a flat piece of board to press it down. Use a tool or toothpick to remove any adhesive that come through the mesh and is at the height of the tiles.

 

Mosaic Mesh method demonstrate

 


Allow the adhesive to cure completely and then grout the mosaic.

Just click here to go to 


8 Responses

Bronwyn Mumford
Bronwyn Mumford

November 12, 2018

Hi, I have been volunteered to coordinate a community project, in mosaicing some old cement tables at our towns free camp area. I want to use the mesh, so we can do the bulk inside, under cover, until instilation. I’m going to use pool glues and grout at this stage, but, am worried about what glue to use on the nesh, and does it really matter at this point, so long as the instilation stage uses the waterproofing glues and grouts. Thanks in anticipation, I’m packing it here, lol…Bronny

SAndy
SAndy

April 05, 2017

Thank you, great information

Mardi
Mardi

March 14, 2015

Hi Jenny,

Were you are mosaicing a surface that is rough, like a rock I would use the direct method of mosaics rather than using mesh.

Thanks

Mardi

jenny
jenny

March 14, 2015

Hi Mardi – I have a question about the mesh being used for other outdoor projects. I ordered a metre of the mesh a while back and finally have some stepping stones or bush rock gifts in mind for this Christmas. It is still meant for uneven surfaces like bush rock, if yes then how does it get stuck on, with cement based adhesive then tiled onto? Thanks Jenny

Mardi
Mardi

March 14, 2015

Hi Kristy,

You put enough adhesive down so that you can press the mesh into it. You want the adhesive to surround the tiles to hold them into place. You would still need to grout over the top and it will be unsightly with just the mesh and adhesive.

Mardi

Kristy
Kristy

March 14, 2015

Robby – it looks like the mesh is sold – 30cm x 30cm min of 10 sheets at 40c each – just click on the “Mosaic Mesh” link above.

Mardi – I have a question. When putting the mosaic on to the substrate – mesh down, do you still need to grout over the top, or will the cement based adhesive upon which you are putting the mesh, pop up through each tile (I can’t see this happening)? Thanks,

Robby Towill
Robby Towill

March 14, 2015

Oh this is timely for me too…I’m doing a large mosaic around a doorway and was thinking about using mesh…Mardi do you sell it the mesh? and if so how much per meter Cheers Robby

Jan Norbury
Jan Norbury

March 14, 2015

hi I be long to a group, called art in dialysis we are just starting large4 foot project . your how too very timely
thank you . you have helped me a lot thank you again yours Jan Norbury

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