Tile mosaics are a popular decorating option among both interior decorators and homeowners. Tile mosaics can be found in a wide variety of locations ranging from floors to walls to backsplashes to tabletops to decorative accents to picture and mirror frames to anywhere your imagination may take you.
Making vinyl-tile mosaics requires the use of cutting tools along with glass, ceramic and stone tile. The vinyl-tile cutters are sharp as are the edges of the tiles making this a potentially hazard filled craft for those who aren’t experienced or for the very young. Nipping away bits of vinyl-tile with the tile nippers leaves glass fragments and splinters on work areas and floors, which can cause cuts and imbedded glass splinters on hands and feet. Simply handling the sharp cut edges of vinyl-tiles, which are razor sharp, can be dangerous for some. Grouts and adhesives can create quite the mess when it comes time to set the tiles in the bed.
All of these potential dangers make vinyl-tile mosaic projects unsuitable for children and those who aren’t comfortable or familiar with cutting tools and tiles. The mess generated from the projects makes many parents avoid making mosaics with their children.
If you have a child who would love to create a vinyl-tile mosaic, but you worry about him or her getting cut or using sharp cutting tools – there is another option. Or if you are the one who would love to make a tile mosaic, but don’t want to invest in the tools – there is a way around it. This easy and fun way of making mosaic designs and is by no means for kids only because the results are absolutely beautiful. You will have to use a sharp cutting tool to make cuts and if your kids are making the mosaic design – please make the cuts for them.
Faux Mosaic with Real Results
Gather scrap or leftover peel and stick vinyl vinyl-tiles. Vinyl tiles come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. If you don’t have access to leftover or scrap vinyl vinyl-tiles, many stores carry vinyl-tiles that are very inexpensive.
Choose a Home for Your Tile Mosaic
Pick the location on which you want to showcase a vinyl-tile mosaic. You can choose from a wide variety of surfaces including walls, backsplashes, floors, tabletops, picture frames, mirror frames, wood boxes, plates or anywhere you think a mosaic would look pretty. If you are doing this with your child – you can create your mosaic on a heavy piece of cardboard, which you can hang later or give to grandma as a gift.
Pick a Design
Find a design you would like to have on your surface. Search online for drawn images and pictures or check out one of the many coloring pages sites. If you are artistic and can draw – draw your own outline. Avoid choosing an overly intricate and very detailed piece because it will be difficult to adhere the vinyl vinyl-tile into the small spaces between the lines. If your child is artistic or you simply like the way he or she draws, allow your child to create the picture. You may also choose to create a design without any specific picture such as a variation in colors or swirl patterns or free formed flowers and scrolls. It’s your project and there are no rules so you can create whatever you like.
Preparing the Substrate for a Mosaic Design
Examine the surface for loose screws or popped nails. Drive the screws in place with the appropriate screwdriver or drive the nails in place with a hammer and nail set to sink them just below the surface.
Thoroughly clean the surface onto which your will be adhering the mosaic design.
Add a generous squirt of a grease fighting liquid dish washing detergent to a bucket of warm water.
If the surface is painted, stained, has a slick plastic surface or is coated with anything, wrap a sheet of 220-grit sandpaper around a sanding block to remove the paint or shiny surface and slight roughen it.
Wipe the surface with a tack rag to remove all sanding dust.
If your surface has depressions or high spots – sand down the high spots and fill in the low spots with an epoxy based filler. Apply the filler with a flexible plastic putty knife making the epoxy filler even with the surrounding surface.
Let the filler dry fully.
If the filler surface is rough, sand it smooth with the sandpaper and wipe away the dust with a tack rag.
Transferring Your Picture or Image to the Substrate
Trace the picture you have found onto the backsplash, floor, wall or other surface you intend to create the tile mosaic with a marker.
If you are artistic, draw your picture directly onto the substrate.
Using the Vinyl Tiles
Place self sticking vinyl tiles onto a cutting surface.
Measure and mark the tile in 1/2 inch increments on all four sides of the tile.
Align a straight edge to the mark on the tile and line it up with the corresponding mark directly across from the first mark.
Drag a pencil down the length of the straightedge. Continue to draw straight lines until the tile has a grid pattern all over the face.
Draw or trace the picture onto the vinyl tile. For example if you are creating a yellow flower with green leaves, draw the flower petals on yellow tile and the leaves on green tile.
Cut out the ½ inch squares or the shapes with a pair of heavy duty shears, linoleum knife or if the vinyl tiles are particularly thin, use a craft knife. Do not let children cut the vinyl tiles.
Peel the protective backing off of the vinyl tile square or shape and place it onto the corresponding area of the drawing. Place the second piece of vinyl tile abutted to the first piece.
Roll over the vinyl tiles with a rolling pin, applying a lot of force or roll a heavy floor roller over the mosaic.
You will have to touch the mosaic picture to find out it’s not glass, ceramic or stone tile.