I’m writing this post at 3:35 am because I cannot sleep (and am now addicted to blogging). I thought I would share with you images of the mosaic lamps that I have been working on for the last couple of years. I will also add the steps involved in case you’re itching to make one yourself! 🙂
For this piece I incorporated different sizes and shapes of glass pieces, as well as utilizing glass beads (can be bought at Michaels and even the Dollar store!) This one was my first “3D” mosaic (I started doing tables), and I would suggest to anyone who is just starting out to try something flat to start with. This piece took me a fair amount of time to complete, but in the end I am happy with it. I still have to grout it though… hope to do that this summer in my garage! 🙂
The next to pieces I completed are some of my favs 🙂 I imagined them being in a bedroom on bedside tables or something… I liked the fact that the colours are consistent, but they aren’t too matchy-matchy.
The large one kind of has a disco ball feel to it. Was pretty happy with how it turned out 🙂
Here are the “Cole’s notes” to mosaicing a lamp. I will post links to pages that offer more in depth info into the process. My advice would be to go for it 🙂 I didn’t read anything on mosaicing before I took the plunge and I survived! Seriously though, it’s very forgiving and super relaxing. I like to mosaic in the winter when I’m stuck in doors and can’t paint outside.
DIY Steps to mosaicing a lamp:
- Pick a base that you l♥ve. I’ve found some awesome ones at IKEA and homesense. I’ve also seen people work on glass vases that they’ve then drilled holes through to create a light fixture. I’ve never tried it myself, but it seems to work well.
- Plan out your colour scheme & buy sheets of glass. This part can be really fun and motivating! I go to a local shop near my house. When I first started I would do it on the cheap and raid the junk bins. That can be great if you want a random miss-match kind of look. I tend to buy colours I love in large sheets now… it’s relatively inexpensive, and can go a long ways!
- Be a cutting machine: cut out bowls uniform pieces. This step can be really handy when doing a pattern. When you’re cutting many pieces for long periods of time, you kind of get into a strange mosaicing-machine-zone… and after a while, you would have sworn a machine actually cut them! I find it very helpful to draw (with a ruler) a template on my table. Then when I lay the sheet of glass onto the table, I just score with my razor along the line everytime… it’s super easy! ***Remember to wear eye protection and gloves. I had a pretty nasty cut on my hand last year, and I have pictures to prove it. Don’t tempt me. I’ll post them.
- Use Well-bond glue and start creating your masterpiece! I found well-bond worked really effectively. There are more expensive products out there, but this adhesive was recommended to me by a pro-mosaicer and I have been using it ever since. ***Do.Not.Use.A.Glue.Gun!!! I found it best to start from the bottom or top, and not the middle
- Let your masterpiece marinate! I like to let my glue dry a couple of days, even weeks. Check that the glue is fully dry. One good indicator is to check the pieces of glass – when you first glue them down there will be an opaque white behind the glass. The glue will be transparent when fully dry. (I find it best to leave it sit in the sun for awhile.
- Grout the sucka! This stage can be pretty intimidating, but DON’T PANIC!! I haven’t had any casualties yet, and I’m sure your baby will survive too. Basically what I did was went to Home Depot, spoke to a professional for awhile, read the instructions on the bag thoroughly, and went for it. Every product you will use will have subtle differences… I found I like the finish of non-sanded grout best, and I have yet to try a coloured grout (grout comes in many colours, virtually every colour of the rainbow, but I have only used black).
My advice when using grout is as follows, and I am by no means an expert… a) be patient… b) don’t add too much water… c) buy the big bag, even on small pieces (I’ve needed to throw more grout in the mix before due to adding too much water)… d) let the grout sit for approx 10 minutes on the glass before wiping it away… e) have a ton of rags handy and buckets of water…. did I say be patient?… f) recruit a friend to help if possible. 4 hands are better than 2! Oh! And be sure to do it outside!! I’ve never attempted grouting inside, but it is hella messy.
- Let the grout set for a couple of days. The grout will turn rock hard eventually. At this point if you’re unhappy with the consistency of grout in certain areas, you can simply re-grout over the existing grout.
- Use a varnish to seal the grout and add a little shine. On the tables that I’ve done in the past, I have found that a gloss varathane product worked perfectly. I’m sure over time I will need to do another coat, but for now it’s been fine. The only negative about doing a coat with that product is any mirror pieces that you may have used will have a glossy coat over them and kind of lose their reflection a bit. I’m sure there are better products you can use, and you don’t actually even need to do this step if you choose.
Well, I hope this post inspires you to try mosaicing your own lamp. It really is fun and addictive once you get the hang of it. Anyway, I’m tired and this post has dragged onto the wee hours of the morning. Sweet dreams!
Psssst: Here’s a more in depth step-by-step guide to becoming a zen mosaic master. Remember it takes time and patience young grasshopper! 🙂