Making Mosaics

Not Pink Grout, Part 2 – & More Materials…

Alright, if Part 1 was the wrong way, what is a better way?

READ ALL OF THE INSTRUCTIONS. YOU MAY DECIDE YOU WOULD RATHER WORK WITH PREMIXED GROUT AFTER YOU READ HOW I DO IT.

ALL LITTLE CHILDREN AND PETS OUT OF THE STUDIO!!! 

GATHER YOUR MATERIALS

1 trash can/sack by your side (I invested in a small metal can with a foot lever-priceless!)

3 sturdy cups we talked about in the 3 M’s post

dust off your brown craft paper (get rid of any shards and saves $$$ on paper)

***Should you ever have glass shatter on the floor, shards everywhere, etc…, bread is very effective in picking them                        up. However, you must thoroughly wash the area after using the bread! (several times)

invest in a package of 12-18 wash cloths (I buy white at the discount store. If the package goes below $2, I buy 100+ at a                time) – note: Many people prefer to use a fat sponge, long mustard-yellow reusable gloves and a gallon bucket of                  water; not me. It’s just not tactile enough – goes back to no Kindergarten, I think…

NEVER POUR ANY GROUT DOWN ANY DRAIN. NEVER WASH YOUR HANDS, CLOTHS, ETC… IN THE SINK. GO OUTSIDE AND POUR WATER OVER YOUR HANDS UNTIL ALL THE GROUT IS OFF. REPEAT… NEVER PUT ANYTHING WITH GROUT IN THE WASHING MACHINE!!!

disposable gloves from the 3 M’s post – I use 4 for the first round of grouting, but I recycle them whenever possible (I buy                      them in boxes of 100)

gray/silver grout that you put in a snap-shut tub (1 of your cups stays in the tub-one cup lasted 6+ years)

***Until you find the grout consistency that works for you, decide how many times you wish to grout, etc…, you will probably              waste some grout. You WILL find your way and waste less grout. I always have multiple projects going, so something            always needs to be grouted.

1 sturdy spoon or stick – if you do not wish to stir the grout+water with your hand. I use my hand. If you prefer something                  else, you can go to the local home improvement store and ask for a paint stick. That’s free!

3 wash cloths (2 wet and 1 dry)

1 sandpaper block

1 foam brush from 3 M’s post

acrylic paint (unless a client specifies, I use gray)

BEGIN  (I am no expert – this method just works for me. You might prefer to speak with a professional.)

I put 3 disposable gloves on my dominant hand and 1 on the other hand.

I wet and wring 2 wash cloths, then set aside.

***Cup #1=grout cup, Cup #2=water cup, Cup #3=empty cup (I USE THIS METHOD SO I AM NEVER NEAR THE SINK…) 

I take the grout cup and pour a small amount of grout in my empty cup. I add some water and mix with my dominant hand. (I don’t measure, but I like for the first grouting to be somewhat runny. For me, it’s just the base coat. Because I prefer to work in smaller sections, this process is repeated until the whole mosaic has a base coat.)

Using my dominant hand, I spread the grout around. I continue until the entire mosaic has a base coat. (you can use a “spreader” if you don’t want to use your hand)

Taking 1 of the wet wash cloths, I rub over the top of the mosaic and clean off the sides. (the key is to take the grout off the tesserae, but keep it in the spaces) I fold the wash cloth and set it on top of the cup that I mixed the grout in. The leftover water will be used later, sometimes days later.

I inspect my gloves. The torn ones go in the trash. (usually the top one-depending on the type of tesserae) The nontorn gloves are carefully taken off and left on the craft paper.

I will go off and work on other mosaics. (there will be a haze on your tesserae, don’t worry)

Later on, I will go back and use the same cups, whatever gloves still work, and the wash cloths.

The 2nd round of grouting has a much thicker consistency. Each extra time I grout, I use one less glove on my dominant hand. So, for the 2nd round, I will have 2 gloves on the dominant hand and one on the other hand.

When I am done with the 2nd round, I will use wash cloth #1 to clean off the mosaic. I pay special attention to cleaning off the sides. Cleaning now saves me from so much scraping later… My wash cloth will be completely covered in grout, so it goes in the trash.

I take wet wash cloth #2 and clean some more. Usually, the cloth is not completely covered up. I will use it again, even days later with caked-on grout.

…work on more mosaics… (more haze)

24 hours later 

I will take a look at the grout-very keen inspection. If I need any touch-ups, I’ll mix a tiny amount of grout and reuse whatever gloves I can. Sometimes, I’m too lazy. I’ll just use my index finger and cleanup outside.

If I have to do touch-ups, I’ll take the used wash cloth and water and go outside. I pour the water onto the cloth, wring it out and put the cloth into the empty water cup. I carry it into the house. (less chance of grout dripping onto the floor)

Whether or not I use a glove, I use my index finger for touch-ups and the cloth for clean-ups.

I will recycle the water cup, any nontorn gloves and any wash cloths not completely covered in grout. However, the dry cloth that I use this time becomes a wet one next time. Any time I have to rewet a cloth, I do it OUTSIDE.

…work on more mosaics… (haze)

24 hours later 

I take the sandpaper block and sand off all the excess dry grout from the sides and bottom of the mosaic.

I use the dry cloth to clean off the haze. Keep wiping until you are satisfied with the look of your mosaic.

I paint the sides.

Off to do more mosaics…

I will do one more inspection. If it’s a smaller mosaic, I sign the back. (see future post about “signing”)

I reuse the craft paper, after I wipe it off. I reuse the foam brush, but always inspect it each time.

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