Mosaics take us back to Roman times, but today these seem to have made a comeback and are pretty fashionable. This is quite an interesting form of art and many people use it in their homes for a variety of things.
So, first of all, what will you really need to do your mosaic? PVA glue or a water soluble glue, depending on which method you opt for. Grout, mosaic tiles, whatever you want to decorate, sponge, chalk or maybe a pencil, brown paper, face mask and goggles, nippers and a squeegee.
What are your choices? You can use like nuggets of glass, mosaic tiles, shells, glass beading, even marbles and now you can get tiles which are like mirrors. Smash some crockery or simply use pebbles. So, we can not say we are stuck for ideas and materials. Some people go as far as to paint their own plain tiles with a porcelain paint. So you can do your own thing!
With tiles, when you buy them, they have a backing of brown paper. This being the case, you need to release the paper by letting them soak in warm water first. Rinse your tiles and leave them to dry.
If you use the tiles straight from the paper you can use what is called an indirect method.
Use a sheet of brown paper for this by gluing your tiles into place upside down with an adhesive which is water soluble. If you do this, you will maintain a good smooth surface.
You then need to prepare your item with a tile cement that is quick drying and then put your tiles on to the wet cement. Leave the brown paper at at this stage. Once it has dried, all you need to do, is to soak the paper with a wet sponge to remove it.
Basically more or less the same applies to grouting your kitchen or bathroom. Ensure that all the little cracks are well filled in, using your squeegee. You can clean up the grouting the same way with a wet sponge. Let it dry before you attempt to polish up and finish the surface.
Now for your designs. When you first start, it is often easier to do something like geometric patterning. With more experience you can move on to designs with circles and curving's etc. The tiles may need shaping to fit your design, so for this you need the direct method. This can be achieved in two ways.
The first one with the anvil, hammer and 'hardie' method, a well known way! This requires a fair amount of skill. Hold the tile over the 'hardie' and tap away with the hammer to cut through the tile, moving the tile to create your choice of shape.
Or you could use nippers, which is by far the easiest method. This lets you cut tiles in to quarters and halves by nibbling away, as it were, to give you curves or whatever you may need. Practice with some spare tiles first, until you are satisfied with the result. It does not really matter if you have some weird shapes, you should be able to incorporate them into your design.
From the safety angle I would recommend that you wear the face mask and goggles. Use a hoover or dustpan and a brush to clear up any fragments of glass, crockery etc. It is quite a good idea to prepare your tiles in a clear polythene bag as this will keep any fragments and dust contained.