In this week's 'How to Mosaic and Project Ideas' newsletter I'm outlining some mistakes which are commonly made in mosaics. I know I've certainly made one on or two of these myself and I'm sure a number of my readers have also.
1. No Colour Variation
Using tiles and grout that are too similar in colour can unite the piece and result in the design getting lost.
To avoid this add a contrasting tile colour which will help lift the design and think about using a contrasting grout colour. The colour of your grout should contrast the colours of the tiles so that the design is highlighted. If the colour of your grout blends in with your tiles the individual tiles will be lost and the mosaic will look more like a picture than a mosaic.
2. Burying Objects in Grout
So you've added some dimensional objects to your mosaic but they've been buried under grout, how do you fix it? Wait for the grout to dry but not cure (about an hour or so), and using repositioning tool or something similar dig it out of the excess grout. An old toothbrush comes in handy for cleaning off any hard to reach grout. Use some saved grout to make touches ups as necessary.
3. Inconsistencies in the Size of your Tesserae
Inconsistencies in the size of the tesserae used can upset the flow of the mosaic and cause the eye to focus on the imbalance. Here are two common inconsistencies:
a) Placing smaller sized tesserae on the edge of the mosaic will draw the eye the sides of the mosaic.
b) Placing a smaller sized piece of tesserae amongst larger sized pieces. To correct this repeat the inconsistency throughout the design.
4. Grouting porous materials
Grout will absorb into porous surfaces, like unglazed ceramic tiles. If you have used a porous material in your mosaic either seal it or cover it up prior to grouting. Masking tape or blue tack can be effective in covering up exposed areas prior to grouting.
5. Grout lines that are larger than expected
So your grout line is a little larger than you planned, what do you do? Leave it or fill the space with small pieces of tile. Avoid the later and leave it as it is. Placing smaller irregular pieces in the design will draw attention to the inconsistency whereas the wider grout line will disappear within the mosaic.
6. Tesserae falling off as the mosaic is grouted
This has happened to all of us, loose tesserae falling off as the mosaic is grouted. To fix this, remove any excess grout with a cotton wool tip then re-stick the tile with adhesive and carefully grout.
7. Adding water to your grout after it has begun to set.Doing this may cause the mixture to weaken, which will cause the grout to crack.