Archive for Materials

what are little tiles made of : mosaic tile guide

// November 28th, 2012 // 23 Comments » // Materials, Mosaicing guides


Materials used for tesserae (mosaic tiles) are many and varied, however there are important considerations to ensure their suitability and durability.

very important safety notes:

  • Always wear suitable eye protection when cutting, scoring or breaking; especially important with glass/glass tiles.
  • Always wear a dust mask when drilling or grinding glass, and when mixing dry mortar based products such as cement and grout.
  • Wear latex gloves when mixing/handling grout or cement, as these substances are caustic and may cause skin irritation.


things to consider before choosing materials and colours for your mosaic:

  • Location
  • Climate
  • Uses
  • Ensure numbers or lettering have good contrast with background & grout colour


materials include, but are not limited to:

  • Ceramic tiles – glazed and unglazed.
  • Smalti
  • Gold leaf smalti
  • Vitreous glass tiles (Venetian glass)
  • Iridescent glass tiles
  • Porcelain
  • China
  • Stained glass – transparent, translucent, or opaque.
  • Mirror – plain, coloured, or textured.
  • Glass nuggets
  • Sea washed glass
  • Sea shells
  • Marble
  • Slate
  • Pebbles
  • Millefiori
  • Hand made tiles or pottery
  • Gems
  • One-of-a-kind re-used items


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behind the scenes : mosaic substrate guide

// March 16th, 2012 // 12 Comments » // Materials, Mosaicing guides


Just as important as your choice of materials for your tesserae (mosaic tiles), is the choice of substrate (base on which to mount your mosaic).

Substrates should always be rigid, as any flexibility will cause the tesserae to dislodge. The substrate should also be suitable for the chosen location of your mosaic, ie; if your mosaic will be in a wet area such as a bathroom, the substrate must be waterproof. Outdoor mosaics should have a frost-proof substrate if they will be in a location which may be prone to frosts.

Porous materials such as wood, terracotta or cement should always be sealed before use.


suitable substrate materials include:

  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) – not suitable for outdoors or wet areas
  • Plywood (including marine ply) – not suitable for outdoors
  • Cement backer board
  • Cement
  • Pottery


My next mosaicing guide will be about adhesives…