Sunday, November 23, 2008

Curves With Wheeled Nippers

I used a strip of glass 1 inch wide. That is a nickel for comparison purposes. These are some of the cuts I made. Notice the one on the lower left. I just nip off the upper right corner & will get a cut like the upper left. Most cuts look more or less like the upper right squiggle. Then you can leave as is, nip at angle, or nip to a point.

I make a cut with the wheeled nippers - it all depends how thick you want

This is a pic after I use the wheeled nippers. I go in the middle & it comes out curvey Then just continue nipping down the strip. Very easy.

Edited to add you can make your strips smaller but if you do wider strips it doesn't cut the whole width of the strip.

These cuts are great for making hair & fur. Here is a piece made of my Mom's dog.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Barn Glass on Glass Window

This is a present for my mother-in-law that I would like to share how I made.

I found an old window at a recycle construction material store. I stripped & varnished the frame. I had a pattern I was following blown up at Kinko's & taped it behind the window. I used Mac glue & started gluing the pieces to the window. This was my first glass on glass. 97% of the glass is Youghiogheny glass & the rest is scrap glass. I hope you enjoy the progress of this window in the making.

I was working on the preparation of the window, staining, varnishing - I started nipping the leaves so the trees was where I started on this project. I made strips of the green glass & then used wheeled nippers to trim up the leaves. A little bit of grinding to smooth out the shapes.

I then started on the barn itself. This was the easiest to make. I used my Beetle Bits System to make the strips & then my wheeled nippers to trim all the barn boards.

Then it was basically filling in the background. I sandwiched a pic of a border collie & placed in the road. My inlaws have a border collie named Shelby.

The sky was the last part to be finished.

This is the finished piece grouted. I did a color wash for the sky of a silvery blue & the roof of the barn a copper wash to depict rust.

Here is the finished piece with the light shining through. The Yough glass just sings.

Here is a pic of the original pattern. I originally wanted fall colors in the trees but I wanted to include cone flowers in the window (mother-in-laws favorite flower) so I had to use green leaves.

This pattern was made from a photo taken in the 1940's. What was really awesome is that when the owner seen the finished piece, he said that it is exactly how it looked when his Dad first built the barn - down to the pine trees. I hope you enjoyed seeing this in the making. I sure had fun making it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wedi Board

Wedi board (pronounced "weedy") is an ideal substrate for mosaic artists. It consists of styrofoam encased in mesh and cement. This sturdy material is very lightweight and cuts easily with a utility knife (no need for any power tools!). Wedi Panels are about ¼ of the weight of Durock and other cement boards, and ½ the weight of MDF or birch plywood.

It is rigid, waterproof, and weatherproof. It does not warp, does not require sealing, and can be used on floors, walls, and as art panels. It is made of a middle core of blue styrofoam with a reinforced polymer modified concrete coating on both sides. The foam core center makes it lightweight. You can use Weldbond, silicone, thinset, Mac glue, etc.

How To Hang

Because of the foam core, washers are required when attempting to screw into or through the panel. Without washers, the screws or nails would go straight through the panel. ‘Wedi Washers’ are specifically made for this purpose. Wedi Washers have four prongs that press easily into the Wedi, with a center hole for an 8 gauge nail or screw. When fully installed, the washer sits about 1/32” above the surface of the Wedi and can be mosaiced over. Standard washers can be used as well.

Here's the back of the washer with the picture hook attached. Notice that the cement is cracking a little - that's OK. It's the only way to get the front to lie flat.

There is also wall hangers. The plastic piece screws into the wall. You then place the screw on the wedi board & then screw into the plastic piece into the wall. You will mosaic on the board on the wall.

Either way, you have to have your hangers in place before you start to mosaic.

Where To Buy

See for local distrubutors. I was fortunate in that a supplier was 20 minutes from my home & bought a 3' x 5' sheet of wedi.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dry Grout Method

By Helen Griffin

This method is for sanded grout only. The consistency of unsanded does not work.

This is a simple wooden over-the-sink shelf that I've mosaiced with tiles. The adhesive used here is plain tile mastic.

Here are all the supplies you will need from left to right: pool noodle broken into chunks, sanded grout, container for mixing grout, spatula for spreading grout, rubber gloves.

Mix your grout to the consistency of peanut butter, and place on your mosaic. Spread with a spatula, hand, or plastic knife to get even coverage on your tiles/tesserae. Working in circles is a good way to get coverage, first clockwise, then counter-clockwise.

Once your mosaic is covered well with no empty spots or air holes, sprinkle some loose dry grout on top of the wet grout. It does not need to be an excessive amount. Use image for ratio reference. The dry grout levels out the grout. It helps fill holes and make the surface area uniformed. It also helps with the drying process of the grout itself. It makes the grout dry all at the same level of consistency: nothing too wet, nothing too dry. And yes, it does aide in the cleaning. It does not eliminate the need for the final clean.

Using a broken piece of pool noodle, start to work in circles; again clockwise, then counter-clockwise motions. I get the noodles from the dollar store, and I use them because:
• They don't absorb water, therefore they do not add or take moisture from the grout.
• They can be broken into shapes and sizes to suit the piece.
• They are cheap.
• They are disposable.
• They conform to the various heights in my tesserae just like a rag or sponge.

All this will take you to your first haze stage. The best thing I like about this method is there is no water to dispose of, and little to no mess. All I do is sweep up what missed the newspaper and I'm done. Easy—and I'm all about easy. This will give your mosaic an even coat of grout. It will eliminate any missed pockets around your tesserae, and it will help clean.

This is the whole piece once dry grouting has been completed overall.

Let the mosaic sit to dry overnight, then with a damp sponge or rag clean the residue off your tesserae. Let dry completely (about 24 hours).

I like to have my pieces finished, so I've painted the edge of the shelf black to match my kitchen more. Then I complete the look and protect it by putting on two coats of Polycrylic in a matte finish.

I painted the legs and shortened them to suit my sink location. Here is the mosaic shelf complete, and in place.

Note: If you're using tesserae with a finish that is delicate, I do not recommend using this method, unless you seal the tesserae first. Otherwise the abrasiveness of the grout will surely remove the delicate finish. This has happened to me, and that is what taught me to seal first, then grout (which fixed the issue).

About the Artist

In 1999 my Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease (PD). Knowing that sooner or later the need would arise, my husband and I sold our home. We added on to his home and moved in together. My family is Orthodox Jewish, and we live a Shomer Shabbos life. My husband and I are baal teshuva, and it has been a wonderful journey getting here.

Mosaics were first introduced to me on the Internet when I was searching for some crafting/art inspiration. The mosaic I came across was incredible looking and had such symmetry. Being the anal perfectionist that I am, it appealed to me right away. And no, I do not recall the mosaic. Figures, huh?

Now some two years later this month I still love seeing, and playing with, pieces of pottery, china, glass, and other bits. It is like doing a jigsaw puzzle, but there is no box-top picture to refer to for answers.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Guided Tour Of The Beetle Bits System Part 2

Making diamonds & triangles are quick and easy with the Beetle Bits System.

I am using red mirror tile in this tutorial as it is easier to see the score lines.

I scored lines 3/4 inches apart and turned the glass and am making 3/4-inch scores again making perfect squares.

Turn your compass to 45 degrees and set your tadpole in place.

I use the edge of the glass on the left side to measure when moving the glass. I eyeball with the little yellow arrow on the Flying Beetle Cutter the center of the first square and make my score.

Continue scoring every 3/4 inches.

All that's left is running the glass.

Diamonds are just as easy.

I set your tadpoles up so they are at 60 degrees on either side of the compass.

I set the bar in one of the tadpoles and score my glass to the desired size of my diamonds. In this tutorial I am making 3/4-inch diamonds.

I lift the bar to the other tadpole and score every 3/4-inch here as well.

Look at those pretty diamonds!

You can also make triangles from diamonds(and from squares). Set your bar so that it is straight at 90 degrees on your compass. I just eyeball the middle of a diamond with the yellow arrow on the Flying Beetle cutter and score the glass.

Here you have triangles made from squares at the top of the picture.
You can see diamonds and triangles made from diamonds in the center of the picture.

Beetle Bits was made for mosaics. It's easy, quick, and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to make it work!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Guided Tour Of The Beetle Bits Cutting System

Here is a picture of my Beetle Bits System. I also have the Cutter's Mate, and I have them both on the waffle grids. I am using two of the Creator's stained glass rulers. I like having the glass up against the rulers for the Cutter's Mate as well.

The way mine is set up, the Beetle Bits does not start at "0", but that doesn't really matter. I have my ruler marked where the cutting line is - it is aligned with the yellow arrow on the Flying Beetle Cutter. I place my glass right at that line. (This is a different color of glass because the original picture did not turn out right.)

For this tutorial, I'm making 5/8" squares, so I count over 5/8, and then move the glass over to that notch on the ruler. I lightly press down on the Flying Beetle cutter and push upward until the whole sheet of glass is scored. If you like sliding the Flying Beetle cutter down the bar, start at the top of the glass, press down on the cutter, and slide the bar down.

I plan on cutting a full sheet, so I continue down the ruler sliding the glass, scoring with the Flying Beetle cutter until I run out of glass. The first arrow on the left is where the actual score line will be. The second arrow is a scored line. The other four arrows indicate where I will be sliding the glass next and scoring.

I then flip the glass over, turn it 90 degrees, and score that side of the glass as described above. I flip the glass because it is not good for your cutter to crisscross over a previous score. The cutter won't last very long if you do. (For thick glass or mirror glass it is unavoidable, and all scores have to be made on the same side of the glass.)

When running the scores, run (break) the glass in half, down the middle. Then you take each half and run (break) the glass in half again. You keep halving the glass until you are down to two pieces. By halving the glass each time you break, you are keeping even pressure on either side of your running pliers, which will give you cleaner breaks.

In the photo, you can see one bad break. Never said I was a pro.

I turn the glass over and continue running the scores on that side of the glass. Again, I break the glass in half, half again, half again, and so on until I'm down to two pieces. Good clean cuts! Nice even squares! The squares will be as accurate as you were measuring against the ruler.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Remodeling is almost over. Busy putting everything back in it's place. Lots of tweaking to do, planting grass, etc. I'm anxious to get back to mosaics. Maybe this weekend I can work on something.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


This is the beginning of my blog. I love gardening and joined a forum on decorating your garden. Quite a few items were made from mosaics and that is where my mosaic obsession began! I also love stained glass. But I am having a hard time finding someone to take some lessons. I have only had a beginner's class & made a fan light. I took the stained glass class to learn how to score & break the glass but I fell in love with it too.