Archive for Tools

getting started : mosaic setup checklist

// December 16th, 2013 // 4 Comments » // Mosaicing guides, Safety, Tools



  • Safety glasses – always wear these when cutting/breaking materials for your mosaic, or when using power tools (it’s much easier to put on a pair of safety glasses than replace an eye!)
  • Dust mask – wear it when mixing dried grout, mortar (cement mix), pigment etc., also when sanding/grinding your substrate or tesserae.
  • Latex gloves – grout and mortar mixes are caustic. Wear latex gloves when grouting to prevent skin irritation.
  • Soft brush, eg; wide paint brush – to sweep dust etc. from your mosaic project. Never sweep away glass shards with your bare hands!


  • Wheeled mosaic cutters – a versatile tool for cutting/shaping tesserae from a variety of mosaic materials.
  • Tile nippers – use for cutting/shaping thicker tiles etc. into tesserae.
  • Tile scorer/breaker – cuts larger ceramic tiles along a straight line.
  • Tweezers (various sizes) – to pickup/move tesserae. Useful for moving a piece without disturbing surrounding tesserae.
  • Craft sticks – for applying adhesive/mastic to back of tesserae, or spreading adhesive directly onto substrate.
  • Assortment of probe type tools (dental picks etc.) for positioning mosaic tesserae. A pottery needle can be used to clean excess adhesive from grout lines, and to unplug glue bottles.
  • Hammer (see Hessian sack) for smashing tiles/plates etc. – always remember to wear protective glasses, and gloves if smashing glass or thin materials which may have sharp edges.
  • Hessian sack (see Hammer). Place tiles/plates etc into sack before smashing, this will prevent pieces flying everywhere.
  • Tools for grouting – rubber float, spatuals, trowel, grooved spreader, and sponges.
  • Newspaper – for cleanup after grouting. Also useful as drop-sheet. Never dispose of grout or cement down the drain!

non-essential tools

  • Hammer & hardie – traditional tool for cutting marble and smalti.
  • Carborundum stone – to smooth rough edges of cut glass.
  • Glass grinder (electric) – to smooth and shape edges of cut glass.
  • Glass cutter – for scoring stained glass; the glass will break along this line using one of the tools listed below.
  • Breaker pliers – for snapping smaller pieces of stained glass along score-line.
  • Grozing pliers – helps to smooth the edge of jagged cuts.
  • Breaker/Grozing pliers – combination with breaking pliers on one jaw & grozing pliers on the opposite jaw.
  • Running pliers – use to snap stained glass along longer, straight or curved score-lines.