|Pregrouting (and pre-children figure)|
We're having a bit of a grand clear out at the moment which meant taking some photos off an old computer. I spent a lovely evening looking through the pictures and stumbled upon these pictures of me making a mosaic table. I didn't really get into taking photos of my crafts until I started blogging, so I was surprised to find these (yes, I know I'm in the pictures, I shouldn't be that shocked!).
To keep the top of the table flat I glued the tiles upside down to a sheet of brown paper, using water soluble PVA glue, so that later I would be able to unstick the paper. The table was to go outside, so I needed to use waterproof tiles (either glazed ceramic or glass) and chose vitreous glass because the colour of the tile is visible on both sides (making it easy to work upside down).
When all the tiles are in place the adhesive is applied to a piece of marine ply (again to make it suitable to be kept outside) and the entire sheet of tiles applied in one go. Doing it this way, rather than applying a little bit of adhesive and then a few tiles means that the thickness of the adhesive is as level as possible. It would be a useless table if you couldn't put a glass on it without spilling your drink.
|Removing the paper|
My crafting talents don't extend to ironmongery so I commissioned a base from someone who knew what they were doing! I wanted the edge of the tiles to be protected from knocks so asked for a metal rim that I could sink the marine ply and tiles inside. Because I was up against a time pressure and the legs were going to take a while to arrive I started on the mosaic before I had the legs. This was my first mistake as the internal dimensions of the rim that I had requested (and carefully made my marine ply and template on the paper to match) weren't the ones I got! It was slightly too small and not perfectly round. To make it work I had to remove the outer circle of tiles the cut them to size after the table had been assembled. Luckily I also have a friend who is a dab hand with a router. So he made the ply the right shape.
Once everything was in place and dried, I could wet the paper and slowly peel it off, then grout the design to finish it off.
My second mistake was discovered when it was delivered to its recipients (I'd made it as a wedding present). It very nearly didn't fit in their door! I'd measured their previous table so it could be a direct replacement, but what I hadn't factored in was that the old table was foldable, so would easily fit through a door, but mine was solid. They got it through the door in the end!
If you are thinking of making a mosaic table, you will need to bring it into shelter during the winter. This table was fine outside all year in a covered balcony in a London flat, but when it was moved to the countryside it did suffer some damage from the frost. Its been repaired and now overwinters inside.
Mosaicing is not a craft I can do with the kids around - kids and shards of flying glass don't really mix. I'd love to get back to it, but I'll need to win the lottery so I can have a separate studio!