Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mosaic Grouting Tips

I thought that I would take a few moments today to discuss some of my tips for grouting success.  This is another 36 x 24 window and is similar to several others that I have made in the past.  On this one I used  even more beads and rhinestones which I think adds to the beauty of the piece but can cause nightmares during the grouting process.  Because the beads and rhinestones are all differnt levels they add a lot of dimension and texture to the piece and really catch the light but grout is difficult to clean on these uneven surfaces.

When I mix my grout I make it very stiff -this keeps it from creeping under any pieces and showing through.  I wear rubber gloves and apply it with my hands rubbing it in very carefully around all of the different level pieces.  Then I stand the piece up with a light behind and my first pass at cleaning the piece is usually with a popsicle stick.  This allows me to remove grout from between the different levels.
After I remove as much grout as possible with the popscicle stick I then use paper towels to buff the rest off the surface of the piece.  This can take quite a long time if the surface is very textured and in our Texas heat the grout dries faster than I like sometimes so I work as quickly as possible.  As the piece is getting clean I sometimes use a dry toothbrush to remove grout from around the beads or rhinestones.  Although I have been doing this process for several years now, I seem to make it harder on myself each time by using such a variety of materials.  I am conviced that is what makes the pieces unique and I always like a challenge! 
If you are planning on using rhinestones and beads for the first time I would encourage you to start small and good luck!

This is the finished window.....

1 comment:

Jenn said...

I have just gotten started in mosaics and I am already fascinated by the different techniques and uses of materials by other artists; your blog is the first I've come across where I see beads and rhinestones used. Your projects are lovely and as a Texas girl myself, I particularly like this piece. Thank you for sharing your methods and creativity!