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Unread 01-03-2005, 03:51 PM   #1
Penny
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different thickness of mosaic

I purchased 20 sq ft of DALTILE's glass 1x1 mosiacs in several diff colors. The plan was to mix the colors up and create a random multicolored border. The tiles are beautiful, but every color is a different thickness! : cry: I still want to (have to) use the tile and really need some advice on getting these tiles set. I set a small section (4"x30") one tile at a time last night and the surface is anything but smooth and although some would call it acceptable, it is really not the look I want. I was thinking of somehow creating a new 'sheet' of the tiles by gluing the fronts to a screen with a water soluble glue (Elmer’s)???? Has anyone ever done anything like this??
Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
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Unread 01-03-2005, 03:59 PM   #2
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Professional mosaic artists do it all the time. Guess great minds really do think alike. Don't know if it will help much with the thickness problem, but it sure helps keep little itty-bitty pieces aligned.

How much do the tiles vary? What adhesive are you using to set the tiles? What are you setting them on? There are some mosaic artists that are regulars here; they may proffer sage advice.

Being a DIY myself, I would have (naievely) expected product from Dal-Tile to be pretty uniform too.
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Unread 01-03-2005, 04:51 PM   #3
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You can make your own glue. I use one part sugar and two parts flour. I then mix it with some water and get it to a paint like consistency and mix it well. Then I cook it in the microwave until it's stiff. Then I throw it in the blender, add water, and mix it to a paint consistency again. It takes about 20 minutes altogether. You can then use it to set your glass tiles to paper. When you set the glass again it is best set in semi fresh mortar and backbuttered with your grout. Depending on what you are doing you can probably use regular modified grout. Using fresh mortar will allow the different thicknesses to go deeper into the mud. It can be pretty tricky and frustrating. This is the method that byzantine and smalti glass mosaics have been set for years. I can go a little more into detail on the installation method if you like. BTW I have been working on this for a while now in my spare time using homemade glue.
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Unread 01-04-2005, 02:11 PM   #4
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you guys answered fast!! I created sheets last night and plan on setting them tonight. I'll let you know
Thanks again
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Unread 01-05-2005, 12:05 PM   #5
John Dumbrille
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Glue might work, though if it's a thick blob, the drying rate may be a problem.
Last week we published an article on installing glass tiles beside tiles of uneven thickness - here's the link, hope its of some help.
http://www.aboutglasstile.com/en/articles/thickness.htm
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Unread 01-05-2005, 06:23 PM   #6
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I think we are talking about two different applications. That article is not directed towards glass mosaics. Glass mosaics should be backbuttered with grout although that can't be done when the tiles are on mesh backing. Also when the mosaics on the same sheet are of different thickness they need to be set in a mortar bed that is still plastic to some extent. I don't think they can be set in a dry pack. BTW the glue is only for adhering the tile to the paper before installation.
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Unread 01-05-2005, 08:35 PM   #7
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Hi Penny, Welcome aboard. Hi John. Long time.

Jerry,

Would that be the logo of some obscure sports team?

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Unread 01-05-2005, 08:39 PM   #8
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Yeah. Pretty obscure this year. We had our fun a couple of years back.
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Unread 01-06-2005, 10:51 AM   #9
John Dumbrille
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jerrymlr1: Color me out of it, I just reread the thread. Yeah, cant see stuffing something under each and every mosaic tile on a mesh mounted sheet.
For thinset applications of mesh mounted tile, backbuttering the sheet with thinset is a good way to go. But yeah, for sheets of tiles of different heights, cant see how this'd work.
Next time I post here I promise to wear me glasses
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Unread 01-06-2005, 02:03 PM   #10
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I think you guys may have gotten into a little trouble here... That means that whatever I suggest can't be any worse, right?

Here is how I've managed to get a similar mosaic done. I use clear shelf liner film (the sticky kind that around here goes under the brand of Mac Tack). First tape your drawing over a good solid piece of plywood slightly larger than your artwork. You will need a second piece of plywood of the same size to help you turn the piece over later on. Then take the liner film, place it over the artwork and staple it at the edges only. The Nac Tack goes upside down (sticky side facing upwards,) but do not peel backing paper yet. Make sure that the film is bigger than your drawing by 1-2" on all sides. Now peel off the paper to expose the sticky surface.

Hint: If the mosaic is large, break it down into smaller panels; say 12"x12". Work in small scale and assemble the units later to create your full size mosaic piece.

Now you have a clear sticky surface over your drawing that you can use to start assembling your mosaic right side up. As you place the tiles, they will temporarily be held in place. If you need to remove a tile, no problem, just stick another one in its place. If the tiles are of different thickness, don't worry, we will address this later. Your only concern is to finish the job before the sticky surface dries out completely (my experience is a few days).

After the mosaic assembly is complete, take another piece of shelf liner and apply it to the surface of the tile. Carefully pat it down to catch as much of the tile surface as possible. A sponge or brush may help. Seal the edges of the exposed shelf liner to help stabilize the loose mosaic pieces. At this point you can cut or remove the staples holding down your shelf liner.

Sandwich the mosaic with the second piece of plywood and secure it so that it cannot come undone. You can use duck tape, spring clamps, etc. to hold the two pieces together. You are going to flip the entire panel over, so you need to make sure that the mosaic does not slide and fall out while you do this.

Once you flip the panel over you can gently remove the plywood and expose the underside of the mosaic. Carefully break away any staples or tape that you used to secure the film so that it does not disturb your finished work. If all goes well your mosaic will be facing upside down flat on the plywood, with all uneven surfaces facing you!

Now here comes the trickier part. You need to peel away the old shelf liner to expose the back side of the mosaic panel. The glue of the old shelf liner should have dried a bit and will detach more easily than the freshly applied liner. It is likely that the two pieces of shelf liner have stuck to each other at the edges, so carefully cut away around the edge of the film to expose only the back of the mosaic.

The next step is a matter of judgment. Your mosaic is upside down, held together by shelf liner on the good surface. You can follow standard paper faced mosaic installation methods for the final installation. Handle the mosaic sheet very gently, as the shelf liner does not hold the mosaic pieces as securely as mosaic paper and gum arabic.

A second, less conventional method is to apply fiberglass tape (wide drywall tape or even fiberglass moquito netting) to the back of the mosaic and then apply mortar so as to create a flat surface. The fiberglass tape will help keep the assembly together later on. Allow the mortar to cure until it can be gently handled (24 hours). Again use the plywood to turn the mosaic over, gently peel the shelf liner and clean away any excess mortar from the surface of your work (it should still be wet enough). Once completely cured (minimum days), your mosaic panel can be treated like a large tile that is installed with convetional thinset methods. I find this works particularly well whith 12" mosaic panels.

I think I've given away all my secrets.

Kim
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Unread 01-06-2005, 05:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Dumbrille
jerrymlr1: Color me out of it
I like that. Do you mind if I use it too?
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Unread 01-06-2005, 06:09 PM   #12
John Dumbrille
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Oh sure, I've got plenty of those.
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Unread 01-06-2005, 08:28 PM   #13
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Kim,

I think we'll put that little ditty in the Liberry. It's a keeper.
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Unread 01-06-2005, 10:04 PM   #14
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Wow, that's nice!
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Unread 01-07-2005, 09:38 AM   #15
smee
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Hi. Wow Kim, I'm very curious about your method. I'll have to try it. I began with a method like that only it was dry set and then I would put a piece of backer board on it over a towel and do the flip.

One time I didn't flip so well, I got stuck and all the million little pieces it took me 3 weeks to put together flew literally all over the room - it was kind of funny.

I guess that would be where the sticky stuff comes in

I'm wondering why paper face mounting has not been suggested? this leaves the back of the tile clean and free of any glue, so you have no adhesion issues and also if you backbutter with your grout it will also help with the height problems?
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