- Sealing wooden frame base (optional as it is an indoor project)
This is an indoor project that is not suitable for areas where it will be exposed to moisture or water, as it is not waterproof. As MDF is porous the photo frame base needs to be sealed before tiling. A mixture of PVA adhesive & water can be used as the sealer in a ratio of 1 part adhesive to 4 parts water, apply two coats allowing each coat to dry thoroughly (30 minutes to 1 hour).
- Tiling the Face of Photo Frame
Follow the design in the photo, starting in one corner and working around the frame. Don’t be afraid to change the design if you wish.
The adhesive can be applied either directly to the frame base or painted individually onto the back of the tiles. By far the quickest method is to paint the adhesive onto the frame base. When using this method apply to small sections at a time to avoid the adhesive drying out. As it is an indoor project a good quality PVA adhesive is all that is needed when selecting the adhesive.
When the tiles have been laid allow the adhesive to cure for 24 hours before applying the grout. Run you hand over the tiles to ensure they are all firmly adhered before grouting. If any are loose, remove them and re-adhere.
- Grouting Time
Prior to grouting clean the surface of the frame to ensure there is no loose particles etc. Also check that there is no dried adhesive is on the face of the tiles.
Pour a small quantity of water into a clean mixing bowl. Add the grout gradually and stir, mixing continuously until a smooth lump free mix is obtained. Your grout should be the consistency of oatmeal. Allow the mix to stand for 10 minutes, re-stir and then the grout onto the tiles.
You can apply the grout using your hands (gloves recommended). Apply the grout in a diagonal motion, ensuring that the grout goes into the entire depth of the joint. Remove the excess grout with a your gloved hands or sponge. Keep a container of water next to you to wash off the sponge as you go.
After you do this allow the piece to sit for 20-30 minutes or until the grout becomes hazy. Then take a slightly damp sponge or cloth and wipe off the haze. Buff and shine the tiles with a dry cloth. Remove as much grout as you can from the tile surface, as it will be much harder to remove later. Do not use paper towels as they flake off and stick in your grout.
Once grouted allow 24 hours for the mosaic piece to dry thoroughly. If you notice any imperfections is the grout you can use some spare grout to cover them up. Just mix up some more grout and apply a small amount to the area. You can also buff and shine the surface again to ensure you have obtained a nice finish.
A grout sealer can be applied once the grout is dry to keep the grout clean and protected (optional).
The sides of the photo frame are also grouted, smooth the grout with your hands to create a neat finish.
- Finishing of your Mosaic
Once the grout has dried (24 hours) clean your photo frame removing any excess grout from the back and inside edges of the frame base. You could use a sharp implement to do this. You might also choose to paint the back of your photo frame depending upon how clean it is.