Marvelous Mosaics

There are several mediums that create unique mosaic effects. You can use decorative pieces embedded in plaster, cement, or grout. Or you could use adhesives to glue colorful plastic pieces onto a glass object to make a stained-glass effect.

Plaster Mosaics

Plaster is inexpensive, easy to work with, and creates a clean, smooth background for mosaic pieces. Check out the hardware store for an economical bag of plaster to use in this project.

Pour the powder plaster into a mold to about 2/3 full. Add water according to the manufacturer's directions (approximately three parts plaster to one part water). Mix the water into the plaster with a putty knife. The plaster mix should be the consistency of thick pancake batter. Burst any bubbles with a toothpick and smooth the top with a trowel or Popsicle stick.

Add the decorative pieces and allow this to harden for about 15 minutes. Wipe the mosaic with a wet sponge to remove any excess plaster. Do not move the mold until it has hardened overnight. Spray the finished product with clear acrylic finish spray.

Holiday Hints

You can make many unique craft projects using mosaic techniques. You could make a stepping-stone for your garden, coasters for your coffee table, a trivet for your kitchen, or a stained glass votive light using a small glass fishbowl.

Cement Mosaics

You can make cement mosaics using decorative pieces and/or add a pair of handprints or paw prints to the wet cement and give it as a gift to a grandparent.

Pour the cement powder into an old bucket. Mix this with water according to the manufacturer's directions on the bag or box. Pour the mixed cement into the mold.

Add the decorative pieces on top and allow this to dry about 15 minutes. Wipe the mosaic with a wet sponge to remove any excess cement. Do not move the mold until it has hardened overnight.

Paint the hardened mold with mosaic sealant and allow this to dry overnight before using it.

Stained-Glass Mosaics

Light up their lives by making your friends a stained-glass votive holder. You can also make a stained glass votive by painting a design on it with stained-glass paints and simulated lead and eliminating the grout.

Buy bags of plastic stained-glass pieces at a craft store. Glue these onto a glass object (such as a vase) using mosaic adhesive. Allow this to set overnight.

Mix a bag of grout according to the manufacturer's directions. Apply the grout to the plastic pieces with a Popsicle stick, filling in the cracks. Allow this to set for about 10 minutes, then wipe it lightly with a damp sponge to remove excess grout from the top of the plastic pieces. Allow the grout to dry overnight. Spray the finished project with clear acrylic finish spray.

More on: Crafts for Kids


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Holiday Crafts © 2002 by Marilee LeBon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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