Win 1 of 3 Mosaic Butterfly Feeder Kits at Craftbits!

ButterflyFeedKit-RIGHT-FACE-WEBDiamond Tech Crafts has done it again!  We are teaming up with Craftbits to give away one of our newest, most fabulous products yet – the Mosaic Butterfly Feeder Kit! And right now you can WIN one of three kits being given away on Craftbits.com.

Invite beautiful butterflies into your yard with this mess-free, kid-friendly Mosaic Butterfly Feeder kit. The kit contains a 2 piece reusable feeder mold, cement, sand, upcycled tumbled glass and darling little glass butterflies.
Finished feeders have a recessed well, which can be filled with sand, water and salt. Butterflies are then attracted to the minerals left on the sand after the water evaporates. Once the butterflies know where to find these minerals, they will return regularly! You can enter the Craftbits competition starting today, May 15th through June 15thJust visit the  Craftbits competition here to enter!

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Creating Stepping Stones with the Kids

Stepping stones make great projects for kids to create over the long summer months; they are super easy and are a great way to create or commemorate a wonderful summer memory!

Using the indirect method to create a stepping stone is a breeze because you don’t need to worry about gluing tiles and grouting after the stone sets and its even easier when you use mosaic tiles like venetian glass, classico, charmers, deco ceramic, gems and wiggles because they are  pre-cut so you don’t need to nip them and they don’t have sharp edges so they are perfect for little fingers. 

 Use wiggles and gems for a whimsical look, deco ceramic and charmers to add shapes like butterflies, hearts and flowers and classico and venetian glass for tons of color – use them all together to make a one of a kind design or check out our creative corner for some great projects!

All it takes is three easy steps to create a unique mosaic stepping stone using just a few materials; mosaic tile, stone cement a mold and contact paper.

  1. Create a mosaic on contact paper and place it glass side up into the mold.
  2. Mix the stone cement and fill the mold 7/8 of the way up
  3. Let the stone set overnight and pop it out of the mold – don’t forget to let the stone cure for 28 days before setting it outdoors!

Check out our post from a few weeks ago to find some great stepping stone tips and an expanded how to guide and be sure to find us on Facebook for more great summer projects!

How To Make A Mosaic Stepping Stone

Creating a stepping stone with Jennifer’s Mosaics Outdoor Cement is quick and easy; follow the simple steps below to get great, long-lasting results.

There are two ways to create a stepping stone; using the direct method and the indirect method. In the indirect method, you will place mosaic pieces at the bottom of the mold and pour cement over it while the direct method you mosaic right on top of the stone.

With either method you use, it’s a good idea to use a piece of contact paper to secure your mosaic design to, this way you can create your mosaic before its time to pour the cement.

STEP 1: Prepare your mold by lightly coating it with petroleum jelly or cooking spray, this will keep the cement from sticking to the mold

STEP 2: Mix the appropriate amount of cement mix and water, use the guide on the side of the box or the one below for help

If you would like to use colorant in your stone – now is the time to add it

  • For all over color, add the colorant to your water while mixing
  • For a marbled look, mix the cement, take a portion out and mix colorant into it, carefully stir the smaller portion in to create swirls.

Stepping Stone Tip A good mix should resemble cake batter – if your mix is too dry, add 2 ounces of water at a time until  your mix is smooth and pourable consistency.

Don’t use too much water!!! If you add too much water your mix will be runny  – you will experience water rising to the back of the stone while setting – crumbling will occur when removing the stone from the mold and your stone may break after curing.

MOLD SHAPE OUTDOOR CEMENT WATER
8″ Round 5 Cups 12 fl. oz.
8″ Square 7 Cups 18 fl. oz.
9″ Butterfly 9 Cups 22 fl. oz.
9″ Heart 7 Cups 18 fl. oz.
12″ Round 12 Cups 28 fl. oz.
12″ Square 16 Cups 40 fl. oz.
12″ Hexagon 12 Cups 28 fl. oz.
14″ Round 16 Cups 40 fl. oz.
16″ Square 27 Cups 68 fl. oz.
16″ Hexagon 24 Cups 60 fl. oz.

STEP 3: If you are using the indirect method, place your mosaic, glass side up, into the stone mold and pour the cement mix over it until the mold is about 7/8 full. If you are using the direct method just pour the cement in until it is 7/8 full. That’s it! No reinforcement needed!

Stepping Stone Tip – To prevent air bubbles, lightly tap the sides of the mold for 1-2 minutes – but don’t move the mold!

STEP 4: After 24 hours, remove the stone from the mold. If you are using the direct mosaic method this is the time to add your tiles, apply an adhesive to the stone and place your tiles on top – after 24 hours of dry time grout and clean your mosaic. If you have chosen the indirect method and tiny air pockets are seen, mix a small amount of water and cement mix into a paste and gently fill in the holes.

STEP 5: Allow the stepping stone to cure for 28 days in controlled environment before placing outdoors or in an area that is not weather-proof.

Stepping stone tip – place the stone on two pencils to lift it off the ground and increase airflow for better curing!

Visit our Creative Corner for more fun mosaic and stepping stone tips and projects and be sure to join us on Facebook for more fabulous fun!

Creating Movement and Motifs in Your Mosaic

Most of us know that a mosaic is an assemblage of tiny tiles that come together to make an image. But did you know that there are several ways to add movement and flow or andamento to your mosaic?

Andamento is determined by placement of tesserae and there are many ways to draw the eye to or away from the central motif or background  of your design using one or more opus – or pattern.

For more basic mosiacs, opus regularum and opus tessellatum can be used. Opus regulatum is a square design where all if the tiles line up vertically and horizontally and opus tesselatum is  variation on opus regularum where the tiles only like up horizontally or vertically, in a brick-like pattern. In the mosaic bird house below, the roof has an opus regularum pattern and the front and sides of the bird house have an opus tessellatum pattern.

Opus palladianum or crazy paving is great to use as a background. Opus palladianum involved randomly placing tesserae in the main motif or background. This pattern is great for beginners and experienced mosaic artist mostly because placing random tesserae isn’t always so random! This image looks like an assortment of random tile, but believe it or not, it take a bit of time to make this mosaic look random.

Opus sectile uses large shaped pieces of tesserae for the main motif.

One really great way to incorporate opus sectile into your mosaic is by using pieces cut from stained glass.

Opus vermiculatum is a curvy, winding type of pattern. It is often used to create movement in the main motif and around it like in the picture below. When it is used throughout the background or entire mosaic, opus vermiculatum is known as opus musivum. When opus vermiculatum take a fan shape, it is known as opus circumactum.

To find the patterns and instructions for the mosaics above and for great mosaics nipping tips, visit our Creative Corner and find us on Facebook for more fun projects and tips!

Mosaics – Nipping Marble Tiles

I think marble tile looks beautiful in mosaics, in fact, it’s one of my favorite tesserae to work with. I must caution though– it’s addictive to work with; with such naturally blending colors and beautiful veining it’s hard for me to stop.

When it comes to nipping, marble tile needs a different touch than glass tile, but fear not, these guidelines will help you get the best nip.

These guidelines really  only apply if you are using thin marble, like Antiquity Mosaic’s marble tiles  – if you are using anything over 8mm like what you may find in a home improvement store  may be too dense to nip and you will have to resort to using a hammer and hardie – like they did around the time mosaics first came about.

  • Unlike most glass tile, where you will most likely be using a wheeled glass nipper – you will find that the most efficient and effective tool to nip marble with is a tile nipper
  • There can be a bit of variance when nipping marble between and among colors. Since marble is a natural material, there are bound to be natural differences even within the same color tiles, some pieces may be considerably soft or hard based on natural differences, take this into consideration when nipping marble and note that sometimes you may have trouble and it won’t be due to user error.
  • To cut down on user error issues when you are nipping marble always use a firm grip to clinch the nipper’s jaws – if you are nip to lightly the marble can crumble
  • Because of the variance in the hardness of the marble, the best way to nip marble is by centering the tile between the jaws so that the entire cut line is covered – check out this video for a helpful guide
  • Relax and take a few breaks when nipping marble, especially if creating mosaics takes you to your zen place like me!

Head on over to our Creative Corner to check out some great marble mosaic projects and take a look at our new Antiquity Mosaic Kits while you are there – they contain everything you need to make a spectacular marble mosaic!

Mother’s Day Mosaic Party

If you are anything like me, you are still thinking of what to get your mom for Mother’s Day.

Wouldn’t it be great to sit around and create something wonderful while munching on snacks and sipping a nice glass of wine?  Throw a Mother’s Day Mosaic Party for Mom this year! Invite the whole family or some friends!

There’s no better way to spend some good quality time with your mom and/or your kids this Mother’s Day than making something together.  After all, isn’t time the best gift we can give each other?

What you’ll need:

  • A few surfaces to mosaic – an old vase, plant pot, frame or mirror works great – old or new – pick whatever you like
  • An assortment of mosaic tile – Classico, Deco Ceramic and 3/8″ Venetian tiles are perfect because they require no nipping!
  • Tile nippers or wheeled glass nippers – if you choose tile that requires nipping
  • Grout – we recommend grey because it blends with everything – but if you want your grout to match the tile or surface you have selected, by all means try it!
  • Mosaic adhesive – we like to use E-6000 or Weldbond
  • Finger foods and wine or pop for the kids! – if you have a big family or lots of friends coming, make it a potluck – everyone brings something!

Head on over to our Creative Corner to get an idea of what to create! If you see something you like you can even download the pattern! Check out our store locator to find all the mosaic materials you’ll need. Take a peak at a few of our helpful mosaic blogs about nipping, grouting,mosaicing on a curved surface and clean-up to get a few pointers!

Happy mosaicing and Happy Mother’s Day too!

Direct Vs. Indirect: 3 Questions to Help to Decide How to Apply Your Mosaic

We all know that when it comes to creating mosaics, options are virtually limitless with  tesserae, surface, adhesive, design  and even the method you use to apply your mosaic; direct or indirect.

Using the direct method of mosaics, you place your tesserae directly on the surface you are covering. Each piece is applied one by one right side up to the surface.

Using the indirect method of mosaics, you apply your tesserae face down to contact paper and then apply the entire pattern to the surface you are working with.

How do you choose which method best?

Are you working with stepping stone or coaster molds?

  • Either method is great for molds – when you create a stepping stone or a coaster with the indirect method, the cement will fill the space in between the glass – leaving a smooth surface, if you choose to mosaic with a mold using the direct method, you will have to grout your mosaic to fill in the space.

Are you working with an intricate pattern or working freehand?

  •  If you are working with an intricate pattern, you may find it easier to apply your mosaic to contact paper placed directly over your pattern. If you are working with a surface that you can transfer your pattern to or  working  freehand then you can mosaic with the direct or indirect method.

What mediums are you working with?

  • Sometimes it is much easier to use the indirect method when you are using small tiles or when you are using tesserae that is nipped to specific shapes. It also may depend on the glue you use – it is easier to use the direct method when you are working with less viscous glue.

The most important thing to remember when you are creating your mosaic is to use the method that you are most comfortable with, try them both and see what you like! To find some fun and inspiring mosaic projects, head on over to our Creative Corner and to find fabulous mosaic products near you, check out the store locator.