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Topic: Mosaic problems  (Read 1818 times)
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Ms Marple
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« on: April 08, 2008 11:55:26 AM »

Would really appreciate some help with this, I've tried to do a mosaic for the first time, and it almost worked...

I was using some lovely found sea glass on a glass (thought it could be a nice tea-light holder or small vase). It looked great until I started grouting - as it dried it developed lots of small (and bigger...) cracks in the grout. What went wrong?

Also the glass pieces started to come off - guess I need to use a better glue? Any one that would be good for glass-on-glass? I was using PVA (as I have a small baby I didn't want to use anything with nasty solvents if it could be avoided...)

Much appreciate your thoughts!!  Smiley 
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meaco
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2008 01:31:14 PM »

I've been doing mosaics for awhile and everyone is different, so here's what I do.  As for the grout...Did you mix the grout yourself or did you use premixed grout?  And also was it sanded?  Pre-mixed grout, I do not like.  I used it when I first started doing mosaics thinking that it would be easier and less messy than mixing it myself.  It just ruined my pieces.  I ended up with cracked grout and it just doesn't fill in the spaces as well.  Sanded grout is all I use and when mixed correctly it works great.  I usually let it get to the consistency of peanut butter.  Although, I have heard of people having it runnier, just depends on the person.

As far as the glue, I started using Liquid Nails adhesive that dries clear.  It doesn't have the bad odor.  The tube I have I bought at Lowes and it says 'Fresh Scent'.  I've used lots of other glue but this one works for me, but again, everyone's different. 

Hope this helps! Smiley

~Meaco
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Ms Marple
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2008 11:31:47 PM »

It was a 'mosaic grout' powder that you just add water too. They only had two different kind of powders in the craft shop, none of them sanded grout  Huh, I have to investigate that (could I use grout for 'normal' tiles as well? Certainly a lot cheaper!!) 

Thanks for the glue tip - I have to try that!!  Smiley
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polaris082411
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2008 12:03:56 AM »

Just hear and learn from you
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meaco
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2008 05:36:43 AM »

I've never tried the little bags of grout you buy at the craft stores.  I buy all mine at Lowes or Home Depot.  They are found in the flooring department.  And I always buy sanded, because it just works better.  You will be surprised at the difference between the sanded and unsanded. Smiley
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Ms Marple
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2008 11:56:23 AM »

I definitively will do that for my next project. There was so little in that bag and it was  Shocked expensive!

Thanks so much for the help!!

Still curious why I got the cracks - anybody knows what causes them?
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meaco
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2008 01:05:49 PM »

I am assuming that the grout was unsanded.  Unsanded should only be used when you have tiny spaces between your tile....if the gaps are too big then it's sure to crack. 
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2008 02:21:29 PM »

Usually if grout cracks it is because the water to grout ratio was off.

If grout is too dry it will dry too quickly and create something similar to stress cracks. If the grout is too wet it will dry uneven and crack in areas that dry too quickly, while other areas are still wet. Thus separating the grout from itself.

Unsanded grout is really on good for using when grouting glass that will scratch. Some types of stained glass is delicate enough that when using sanded grout it scratches the sheen off. In most cases though that does not matter in the finished product.

Here is a grout tutorial I have here on Craftster. Maybe it will help. Smiley
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Ms Marple
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2008 01:41:46 AM »

I think it probably dried unevenly - bcs I used different sizes and shapes just like I found them, the gaps between were of very different sizes. I didn't think of that - maybe I should spray water on thin areas while it dries?

One more question: could I put another layer of grout over this failed one and fix it that way or would that just make it worse?  Undecided

Well, either way, at least I've learnt lots from this for my next project! Thanks so much for the help meaco and HSG!!  Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2008 03:56:35 AM »

Using different sizes and shapes of tesserae will not effect the way the grout reacts. I've used all kinds of tesserae, and it has never changed grout drying time.

Spraying water on the surface of grout is not something I've ever done, so I cannot speak to how that would work. And the same goes for grouting over grout. Not sure I would grout over the whole project, maybe try to patch the areas?

Sometimes for me I've found when something goes a rye with a mosaic it is best to learn lessons, and cut my losses and move on. But that does not mean you cannot try your ideas, and perhaps stumble on something new. Smiley

Glad to be here to help. Smiley
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