The Mosaic Store, but hardware stores sometimes have craft sections with tiles, then there's other craft stores, $2 shops, and actual tile shops that usually sell the lovely glass tesserae.
Some beautiful millefiori stars from The Mosaic Store,
glass pebbles from the garden section of our local hardware store
The tesserae is probably the easiest to start with as it's easy to cut with a pair of tile nippers; and smaller decorative tiles that don't need to be cut.
- Various tiles
- Terracotta plant base
- Outdoor PVA glue
- Outdoor tile adhesive
- Outdoor grout in your choice of colour
Tools & other items:
- Tile nippers
- Homemade plastic scrapers cut from empty containers
- Soft scrubbing brush
- Latex gloves (grown up size and kid size)
- Eye protection (for when you're nipping tiles)
- Paintbrush for brushing on PVA
Tile nippers, glass tesserae, other smaller mosaic tiles, plastic scrapers
Safety tip: Make sure kids are wearing shoes as little shards of tile can be sharp!
Starting out with something like a terracotta plant base is fantastic. The surface is flat so you won't have tiles trying to glue against gravity, and the edge provides a physical border to keep their tiles within a neat shape.
We coat our terracotta pieces first with outdoor PVA wood glue and leave to dry.
Then, we use an outdoor tile adhesive. The one I have is cement based. As long as you get an outdoor tile adhesive you should be fine. I like to mix this away from kids as I don't want them breathing in any cement dust. I just use an old plastic container and the wrong end of a flat paint brush to mix. Once the adhesive is mixed it's not an inhalation risk anymore. Spread a layer of adhesive down for them around 2-3mm thick (1/16").
We keep our tiles organised by colour
- leave a little gap
- don't butt tiles hard against one another,
- place tiles side by side, not on top of each other.
Smooth side is the right side!
*Sometimes kids get a bit messy with the adhesive. It helps to go back when the adhesive is dry but not rock-hard and scrape a bit of the excess adhesive off the top of some tiles and between them if there's too much.
Scraping some excess adhesive away with a piece of tile (a nail could also work)
Then, we grout! Again, I mix it up to the consistency of thick cream away from kids so they don't breathe the dust. Then we use little homemade plastic scrapers (cut from plastic containers) to spread the grout on. This part is messy and therefore fun!
Plop it on and scrape it all around to make sure you fill all the gaps between the tiles. Wear gloves for this bit.
Once it's done and it looks like it's starting to dry off a bit you can take a soft scrubbing brush and start to scrape the excess grout off the front of the tiles. (We also have a stiff paintbrush here that did the job on a previous project too.)
Then use a dry cloth to polish. If there's any staining on the sides of the dish that you don't want, wipe that away with a wet cloth.
It's so satisfying creating something that will last and pretties up the garden.
In situ :)
And once you've mastered the basic skills you could progress onto other items such as plant pots or picture frames.
Miss S with her mosaic plant pot
I hope you enjoyed the mosaic how-to & tips from me. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I will get back to you, and be sure to let me know if you try mosaicing with kids!