Step by Step Guide

How to use this guide:

In order to make this guide as efficient and easy to use as possible, we have added links which will take you directly to the pages on the website which the information refers to. All these links will open in new tabs in order for you to still have this page open once you have added the items you would like to purchase to the cart (no matter which tab you are on, the items will be in your cart)

1: Introduction to mosaics:

Hello, and welcome to our beginners guide to mosaics, we hope to answer all the questions when starting out with this fascinating medium with its endless possibilities when doing projects for indoors or out, we can guide you and help with the right tools for the job, as well as suggest materials you can use that are up to date , tried and tested, and used by professionals all around the world. We believe you do not have to be an Artist to do mosaics, you have to just have a desire to try it and the artistic flair will just develop over time and practice.
To learn the skills step by step by doing a short course or a one day workshop is always recommended but those who do not have the time or the money, and family commitments, it is not always possible, so this is why we wanted to write this introduction so you are able to proceed alone, and get tips as you go.

2: Where do I begin?

The first step to creating your mosaic is establishing a few key points. These are as follows:

  • Who will be taking part?

This is especialy important as certain glues and tiles are not suitable for children (for more information on products which should be avoided whilst working with children please click here)

  • Where will the project will be mounted?

Knowing what the final postiion of your mosaic will be is critical as this will determine which types of tiles you will use, the adhesive most suitable and last but not least, the type of technique which you will be following. The sundries and tile indexes can help you with choosing your materials.

  • What is your budget?

Making large scale mosaics can be an expensive hobby or project, some tile ranges are especialy beautiful but unfortunately, they also come with a price tag. It is important to choose your tiles carefuly in order to maximise the coverage whilst still remaining within your budget. The tile index can help you with choosing a suitable range for your specific needs.

  • What kind of look are you hoping for?

As mosaics becomes an ever more popular hobby, the ranges available to you are also increasing. The pallet of colours, materials and finishes enables you to create any look you desire but choosing ranges which will work well together is not always easy. A big part of the decision making will be down to personal preference but you will need to bare in mind that different finishes and materials will stand out from each other and may change the overall look of your masterpiece.

3: Safety

Creating mosaics calls for fundamental working safety methods: You should always wear eye protection when cutting mosaic products or mixing grout. Always bear in mind that mosaic products are frequently sharp. You should keep all your products out of reach of children. A dust mask should be worn when mixing grout. Grout can be an irritable product when in contact with skin; you should therefore wear suitable gloves. All of which can be found here:

Safety Equipment

Safety equipment

4: Inspiration

As with most ideas of learning something new, inspiration doesn't always come easily, but once it does the flood gates of ideas will open and you will want to do so many things! If you are struggling to get going however, we do have a range of patterns to help you along on your first project. These vary from 20 to 80cm and in a square or round pattern so there is sure to be something to your taste. You can also take a look at our gallery of past project to find that spark of imagination. Lastly, our range of books is sure to help you get going, these are all full of small project with A-Z guides on how to complete them.

Gallery / Books and patterns

gallery books and patterns

5: Sundries

Asside from the cutting tools, we have a large range of sundries which are designed to help you with the trickier parts of creating a mosaic such as postioining tiles, gluing and grouting:

Grout cups: These rubber cups give you a perfect recipient for mixing your grout. The best part is that, due to the fact that they are flexible, dried grout can easily be removed and thrown out. This avoids having to either throw out your mixing containers or removing the grout whilst wet which risks blocking your drains.

Grout cup

Grout spreaders: Many people will say that the grouting is what can make or break a mosaic. Having smooth grout will add a touch of profesionalism and create and apealing finished look. These spreaders have a flexible rubber edge making them perfect to push grout into those hard to reach areas. They will also give you a perfectly smooth finish.

small spreader

large spreader

Double sided spatulas: Whether to move a tile already glued or push that final bit of grout into a tiny gap, these versatile tools will help you fill the smallest of gaps.

double sided spatula

modeling iron

Tweezers: Creating a mosaic is messy business so why not avoid getting fingers covered in glue with these tweezers specificaly designed for use on large objects such as mosaic tiles.

tweezers

6: Cutting tools

The secret to creating stunning designs is in the cutting skills, once you have the practice of cutting well, ie; circles, shapes and angles, there will be no stopping you! You will need to invest in a good quality pair of cutters. There are many different types for different tiles which can be found below. For more advise on how to go about cutting your tiles, please see the tools index.

The cutting tools can be categorised into three main groups:

1) Wheeled cutters

These are a fantastic all-round tool and tend to be the favourite amongst mosaic enthusiasts. The main advantages they hold is that they tend to be more accurate and easier to handle. The biggest advantage of these however is that, due to the theire round cutting wheels, you have 360° of cutting edge! Essentialy, as soon as you feel the blade is getting blunt, simply loosen the allen screw, turn the wheels a few degrees and you have a brand new blade! You can even buy replacement wheels for them.

These are especialy designed for use on glass, trying to cut hard ceramics and stone with these will work but you do run the risk of breaking the wheels (except for the montolit cutters which have wheels deisgned to cut harder materials).

They come in various shapes and sizes which can be found below:

Leponitt wheeled nippers: One of the big players in this field, they create highly regarded tilling tools which are sure to last and remain accurate

leponitt cutters

Montolit wheeled nippers: This is another highly regarded brand, some favour these over the leponitt cutters as there blades are set at an angle which can reduce the strain when handling them for long periods of time. As mentioned above, these also have extra tough wheels deisigned to work on virtualy any surface.

montolit cutters

Junior Zag-zag Wheeled nippers: Manufactured by Bohle, these are especialy designed for small hands, they also have a shielding plate on the front to help avoid splintered edges from getting too far.

zagzag cutters

Generic wheeled nippers: A firm favourite! Don't be put off by it's generic nature, these nippers are of very high standard. they are however unbranded which simply means a lower price, not a lower quality.

generic cutters

2) Tile nippers

Also genericaly called Side biters (due to the way they are used on tiles. Again, please see the tools index for more information on correct use of this tool), this is the tool of choice for cutting ceramics, porcelain and marble. They have tempered steel jaws and a spring which enable you to use them one handed.

They also come in diffferent mdels perfect to suit, any material, budget and skill.

Side biters: This is the basic model which comes with everything you would expect: tugsten carbide blades, a spring mechanism, well alligned blades and comfortable handes.

side biters

Professional pliers: These have the extra advantage of curved blades, this means that there is significantly less crushing of the tiles as the cutting edge slices into the tesserae with much more ease. As with the previous model, it of course has every detail you would expect from a tile nipper.

pro pliers

Parrot nippers: This tools works like the side biter in many ways, with the clear difference being, the way the cutting blades are ligned up, this makes it perfect for nibbling edges of tile when creating shapes.

parrot nippers

Mini Nippers: In order to protect the cutting edges, the large models do not close all the way. This means that very thin tiles can not be cut with them. This model solves this problems! It will work great on materials such as Mother of pearl and acrylic tiles but will be ineffective on anything thicker.

mini nippers

Compound tile cutters: Working in the same way as bolt cutters, this wonderfuly engineered tool will take all the strain out of cutting hard materials. A perfect choice for crafter with arthritis or reduced strength in their cutting hand.

compound cutters

3) Scoring tools

7: Bases (Substrate)

A: As with most ideas of learning something new, inspiration doesn't always come easily, but once it does the flood gates of ideas will open and you will want to do so many things, the secret is in the cutting
skills, once you have the practice of cutting well , ie , circles, shapes and angles, there is no stopping you, You will need to invest in a good quality pair of cutters there are different types for different tiles click here to see the range. Most people are on this site because they have seen a mosaic that inspired them to want to learn. It is all possible, and affordable, we even have a reward scheme if you recommend a friend !
We also have a range of pre cut shapes you can use without having to cut which are great for indoors or out click here

8: Adhesives

A: As with most ideas of learning something new, inspiration doesn't always come easily, but once it does the flood gates of ideas will open and you will want to do so many things, the secret is in the cutting
skills, once you have the practice of cutting well , ie , circles, shapes and angles, there is no stopping you, You will need to invest in a good quality pair of cutters there are different types for different tiles click here to see the range. Most people are on this site because they have seen a mosaic that inspired them to want to learn. It is all possible, and affordable, we even have a reward scheme if you recommend a friend !
We also have a range of pre cut shapes you can use without having to cut which are great for indoors or out click here

9: Grout

A: As with most ideas of learning something new, inspiration doesn't always come easily, but once it does the flood gates of ideas will open and you will want to do so many things, the secret is in the cutting
skills, once you have the practice of cutting well , ie , circles, shapes and angles, there is no stopping you, You will need to invest in a good quality pair of cutters there are different types for different tiles click here to see the range. Most people are on this site because they have seen a mosaic that inspired them to want to learn. It is all possible, and affordable, we even have a reward scheme if you recommend a friend !
We also have a range of pre cut shapes you can use without having to cut which are great for indoors or out click here

10: Types of Tiles

A: As with most ideas of learning something new, inspiration doesn't always come easily, but once it does the flood gates of ideas will open and you will want to do so many things, the secret is in the cutting
skills, once you have the practice of cutting well , ie , circles, shapes and angles, there is no stopping you, You will need to invest in a good quality pair of cutters there are different types for different tiles click here to see the range. Most people are on this site because they have seen a mosaic that inspired them to want to learn. It is all possible, and affordable, we even have a reward scheme if you recommend a friend !
We also have a range of pre cut shapes you can use without having to cut which are great for indoors or out click here

11: Methods

A: As with most ideas of learning something new, inspiration doesn't always come easily, but once it does the flood gates of ideas will open and you will want to do so many things, the secret is in the cutting
skills, once you have the practice of cutting well , ie , circles, shapes and angles, there is no stopping you, You will need to invest in a good quality pair of cutters there are different types for different tiles click here to see the range. Most people are on this site because they have seen a mosaic that inspired them to want to learn. It is all possible, and affordable, we even have a reward scheme if you recommend a friend !
We also have a range of pre cut shapes you can use without having to cut which are great for indoors or out click here