One of the most colorful forms of art around today is that of the mosaic. You can take the most ordinary item – a glass, a clock, a mirror, a birdbath, and by the application of tile or glass or small stones, turn it into an eye-catching piece of art.
Do not be too ambitious to start with!
If you are new to the world of the mosaic, you do not want to start out with a somewhat advanced project like making a table top. Start out with small projects. You can purchase kits to make coasters, mirrors, votivs and more. By doing so, you'll become accustomed to how to use your applicator tools – the trowel, the spreader, the grout sponge, and the craft sticks. You'll be working both with an adhesive and a grout, so you'll want to get practice in that before you move on to more advanced projects.
And after you've had a bit of practice, it's time to make a tabletop for fit into your table base. (You do not need to stop there, of course.) You can also apply the tile or glass to the base and create an all-in-one piece!)
First, you'll need to purchase a table base and backing specifically designed for a mosaic tabletop, with an inlay into which you can set the mosaic.
Your choice of the backing will depend on where you will keep this table. If it is outside, you'll need to choose a backing that will not warp in the rain or snow. Home improvement stores carry such materials as Hardibacker or Wonderboard, which are recommended. The sturdier the backing the better, as mosaic does get heavy.
Take a sheet of plain paper, as large as your tabletop, and on it draw the design that you want to use. Create your design on this piece of paper. Work from the middle toward the edges, and of course place the piece of tile or glass with about 1/8 to 1/2 inch space between them, for the grout. Once you've finished your design – let it "sit" for a few hours. Come back to it when you're fresh, and if you still like it, it's time to do the real thing.
Trace your design with a pencil on the tabletop backing. Then, slowly, transfer your design, piece-by-piece, from the piece of paper to the tabletop backing, using the adhesive to fix it into place. Depending on the size of your pieces and the design that you're creating, this process can take a long time, so be patient, and careful. Again, work from the middle outwards. Remember to leave those spaces between the tesserae for the grout!
Once you've finished the design, allow everything to dry. (Read the directions on the adhesive to see how long it takes to do so.
Now you're ready to apply the grout. Mix your grout according to the directions and apply it with your trowel. Use your sponge to wipe the grout off the tops of the mosaic pieces. If you wait until the grout dries to do so, it will be much for difficult to remove it, so do not wait!
Do not start using your table right away! Again, read the directions on the container of grout to know how long you should let the tabletop "set" before you start using it. And if it's an outside table, spray it with a sealer to further protect it.
Then sit back with a cold drink set on a mosaic coaster on your mosaic tabletop, and relax!