From Paper Scraps to Pure Magic
At heart I guess I’m a paper crafter as somewhere in almost every project I do there’s paper involved. And like most paper crafters, I have a large bag full of scraps. This paper mosaic technique can make full use of those scraps.
I started this project a couple of days before I finally managed to get my blog up and running and so (darn it) I don’t have many “work in progress” pics to share. But here’s what I’ve got. First decide where you want to put “tiles” and what kind of pattern, if any, you want to have on the piece. My first, the nine drawer chest, was fairly random shapes
and patterns with just a bit of structure around the drawer pull cutouts so I put the tear drop shape cutouts on first and then filled in with the random cuts after.
Once you’ve chosen your design then you’ll apply the grout. On the chest, I covered all the outside surfaces, on the vanity there were areas I wanted to leave the paint exposed. To keep things clean and neat, I used masking tape to cover those areas that would not be tiled like the outside edges of the legs. Once the grout is dry (an hour at most) you’re ready to start laying tiles. For the chest, I just cut a big pile of a bit of this and that so I had plenty of diversity to choose from. You can fine tune cutting the shape of each tile as you go along, just try to keep a similar spacing between the tiles. It’s important that you leave some space between tiles, don’t get them too close together. Seeing the grout is what makes the whole look of a mosaic. The random cut pieces was the hardest project for me, I’m SO detail oriented that I have to fight the urge to control a pattern in opposed to just “flowing”. Now the vanity was a very controlled pattern. I Google’d mosaic dressers and spent a lovely hour wandering through images of amazing craftsmanship and artistry, but my underlying goal was to find what type of pattern would work best for my vanity’s shape. The “broken plate” style seemed like a good fit – now how do I make broken plates that are only an inch in total size? Etsy to the rescue! I found a wonderful digital download that, once I printed it out, I proceeded to enlarge and shrink the page giving me lots of plates in a variety of sizes to work with.
Follow the instructions on the Paper Mosaic Kit box but basically wet the back of your paper with the glue and put glue on the area of the project where you’ll be placing the piece of “tile”. The glue dries pretty quickly and when you’re done laying down all the decorative paper tiles and your sure the glue is dry then it’s time to apply the glaze. As you can see in the photo above, the paper looks pretty dull at this stage but you can also see in this pic how the masking tape kept my line clean on the leg and also, how real the “grout” looks. But wait – this gets so much better.
Again, follow instructions on the box, but I kept a large stick pin handy, especially for the smaller tiles and just picked up a drop of the glaze, put it in the center of the tile and using the pin pulled it out to the edges of the tile. When it dries it looks just like ceramic glaze – awesome! On this pic, the left and middle portion of the vanity has the glaze and the right side does not yet. Look how much brighter the colors are and the dimension and depth are great. I really love this product.
You can get amazingly small details. I had put the green tiles up the sides of the mirror and over the top edge but it looked out of balance. So I went back in, taped off the front top part of the mirror and added another half of a plate, all better now and perfect once I added the glaze here, too.
A little history: I had a box full of broken china that I shuffled around my craft room for years. I really wanted to try a mosaic but somehow the opportunity never presented itself. I think I kept reminding myself that I really couldn’t afford another crafting technique financially or with space in my craft room. Finally, I sold the box of china at a yard sale having admitted it was a lost dream. This Paper Mosaic Kit gave me a chance to resurrect that dream. Not to claim any talent for “real” mosaic work, I will forever admire and envy the chunks of glazed porcelain and ceramic tile broke, cut and fitted into a convoluted pattern of texture and color, but, thanks to Tim Holtz, I can play all I want in my very own world of creative mosaic artistry. The only issue I’ve come across with this product is I get a little compulsive. Okay, maybe even a lot. But seriously, once you start spreading on the grout like super soft icing and clipping and snipping little bits of colorful paper tiles – well let me know how you do – you’ve been warned – this is addictive! Oh well, Craft On.