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sarah h 05-03-2009 06:55 PM

Mosaic SOS
After more than a year of delay, I think I'm finally gearing up to tackle some finishing touches on my oven ... and I think a nice shot of colour at the mouth of the oven would be good - in mosaic!

I was thinking of smashing up some old dishes (bought a bowl with terrific colours at a second-hand store for 69 cents but now think it's too cute to break :D) and my daughter, who works part-time in a really cool kitchen & housewares store has brought home some great broken bits.

With a resident expert here on the forum (or is it two now?), I'm hoping for some pointers and I have a few questions:

Frances, I think long ago in an earlier post you mentioned something about a 'tongue test' that indicates whether it's suitable for outdoor use - can you enlighten me?

Also, is there a way to do a controlled break to keep the resulting pieces from being either too big or too small? Do you somehow score and break them, like you can with glass?

What kind of adhesive/grout do you use for an exterior application? Will mosaic be okay next winter when it hits minus 30 :eek:?


Frances 05-05-2009 01:46 AM

Re: Mosaic SOS
Hey Sarah, that sounds great, can't wait to see what you come up with!

The tongue test is a simple way to find out how porous your shards are. You gently (and carefully!) apply your tongue to the broken edge of a shard, and it it feels "sticky" it won't be frostproof. This is because porous material will absorb the spit on your tongue - try it a couple of times with different materials and you'll very soon get a feel for it.

A controlled way of making shards? Hmm, I'm sure there must be, but I'm afraid I just put whatever it is into a bag and bang it with a hammer. :) Then I use the glass clipper (you remember tool? Its called a tiffany glass cutter) to clip the shards into a more uniform kind of size - and also to custom cut shards for difficult gaps. But from the look of her work, I'm sure Cheryl will have a lot more information on controlled cuts...

You will need a cement-based adhensive and grout made for exterior use. I can't offer more help than that I'm afraid, the products all have different names over here. Best ask around and read the packet info. One book recomended asking if the product would work for an outdoor swimming pool - since some sales people can get all confused if you start talking about mosaics. If you think about it, there must be products which work on outdoor tiling, and a mosaic is just the same but with smaller tiles. So its only a matter of locating the right product.

Minus 30? Brrrrrrrrrrrr :eek:
Hope that helps, let me know if you have any more questions!

sarah h 05-06-2009 05:21 PM

Re: Mosaic SOS
Thanks Frances!
Not quite what I wanted to hear about the tongue test - it means my beautiful pottery bits gathered thus far are no good ... well, for outside use, at any rate. Better to find out now though. So the hunt is on now for materials and I'll have to come up with some sort of vision of what to do - maybe just random, maybe not. I'm hoping that once I have an assortment of usable shards the design path to follow will start to emerge from them. Somehow, deciding what to do for those two small parts has been the hardest part of the whole oven!!

Frances 05-07-2009 04:47 AM

Re: Mosaic SOS

Originally Posted by sarah h (Post 55105)
it means my beautiful pottery bits gathered thus far are no good ...

And don't I just know that feeling.


Originally Posted by sarah h (Post 55105)
I'm hoping that once I have an assortment of usable shards the design path to follow will start to emerge from them.

and that one.... You're on the right track, I can tell. :)

I find it easiest to find bright colours among bathroom tiles - the small glass ones on a net. If that's any help at all.

shvuntz 05-11-2009 03:07 PM

Re: Mosaic SOS
urgh, i have loads of great bathroom tiles i wanted to use..what are the dangers of disaster of using non frost proof tiles? what did you use? yours was so colourful, i bet it was glass?..urgh, how painful, i wanted to use my bright wall tiles..

Frances 05-12-2009 02:13 AM

Re: Mosaic SOS
5 Attachment(s)
This is what can happen... though as some people have kindly pointed out, it can become part of an overall shabby chic kind of style.

My oven mosaic is made up of all kinds of things, some bathroom glass tiles , some glass bottles, glass plates, vases, marbles, frostproof tiles, porcelline cups, glazed bowls (I think its the highly fired ones that work). I found a lot of the tiles on ebay - where bright colours often cost less, because they're not as popular. And flea markets, second hand shops, whatever. I also coloured the grout slightly to make the colours seem brighter (or rather the adhesive in my case, since I didn't use grout). You just add a bit of acrylic paint when you're mixing it.

If you start testing things with the tongue method you'll soon see that there are all kinds of degrees of poroussity (porousness?) and I did add some shards that were only slightly porous, which seem to be ok. So far. It also depends on how much potential flaking would bother you...

The shards on these pictures were very porous, and I used some special super-water resistant grout. The combination obviously wasn't a good idea - one of the reasons I opted for no grout on the oven. But I don't know how that is going to stand the test of time either. I think the most solid construction has to be a regular grouted mosiac with frostproof shards.

And while I'm showing off my mistakes, here's a nice picture of the bread I burnt of Saturday... :)

shvuntz 05-12-2009 02:45 AM

Re: Mosaic SOS
Frances I love you!!...this is fine by me...and I WILL use my are such a valueable member of this forum I think you should be The Queen of Forno...
Thank you Thank you
Cheryl x

egalecki 05-13-2009 06:34 AM

Re: Mosaic SOS
wow. I've had bottoms come out like that, but not tops. What lovely uniformity! :D

Too bad about the tiles that flaked, but I'd go with the "shabby chic" description. Maybe I can use that one for my sagging mosaic tile....;)

shvuntz 05-13-2009 07:34 AM

Re: Mosaic SOS
LOOK WHAT I JUST GOT!!!!!!!...Guess What I'm Doing With Theeeeeesssseeeee!!!

Frances 05-13-2009 09:30 AM

Re: Mosaic SOS
Where the heck did you find those??!!! Very very cool, I am just soooo jealous!

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