This week I’ve been doing another craft kit that I picked up at the Handmade Festival. This time it’s mosaic. I’ve never had a go at mosaic with actual tiles before, and I’ve never had a go at grouting either so I was a little bit daunted by the prospect of that before I started!
I bought the kit from Rachel Shilston (https://www.rachelshilston.co.uk/) and it cost £25. It was one of the beginner kits, so I didn’t have to buy any extra tools like tile cutters. Any tiles that needed to be a shape other than square came pre-cut in the kit.
Included in the kit was:
- MDF bee shape
- Whole tiles on brown backing paper
- Pre-cut tiles
- Round tiles (for eyes)
- PVA glue
- Grout powder
- Glue spreader
- Cocktail stick
The first thing to do was soak the tiles in warm water to release them from the brown paper and give them a dry with some kitchen towel. Once all the tiles were loose it was then time to start creating the mosaic by spreading glue on the MDF shape and placing the tiles in the correct pattern. The kit came with really detailed instructions on how to build the pattern and where to position each tile, along with a nice clear picture on the front of the box. When it was finished you had to leave the glue to dry overnight.
Once the glue was dry and all the tiles were fixed on it was time to grout! As I said, I haven’t done any grouting before, however I needn’t have worried. Again, the instructions were really clear, including descriptions of how the grout should be the consistency of buttercream icing and stressing the small amount of water required to do this. There was no way I could make a mistake with instructions like that! If you were still unsure Rachel also provides a how-to video on her YouTube channel. I didn’t actually check this out as I didn’t need to in the end, but I think that’s great support.
After I had mixed, applied and wiped off the excess grout I used the cocktail stick to clear the grout from the hole used for hanging the piece once it’s finished. I then left it to dry inside a plastic bag. This helps it to cure rather than dry out too fast and crack. Once it was dry after a few hours I gave it another wipe with a clean cloth and threaded the ribbon through, ready for hanging.
I really enjoyed this kit because it was something a bit different and it was learning skills I’ve never used before. I don’t know if mosaic is a hobby I would take up regularly, but if the mood does ever take me again I would definitely feel confident about doing it. As with most crafts it wasn’t quick because you had to allow for drying time, but each section of the process probably only took me an hour or less.
Rachel’s website is really nice and easy to navigate and I had a little explore on there and saw that she offers a monthly mosaic subscription box if you really get into it, and she does workshops. The only warning I would offer is that it is a messy craft so you really need an apron, gloves and a face mask and make sure you cover your work area in newspaper before you start!