Mirror and mosaic
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A bit about mirror and mosaics:
You can cut mirror into “useable sizes” with a glass scorer or I prefer the mosaic tile scorer/breaker tool that I demonstrate to my students. It’s very “flexible” and allows straight or curve scores and cuts and is very economical.
Check out the tool section in the mosaic supplies shop, every mosaic artist will benefit from this tool in their tool kit or contact Dave Robertson, Studio/Store Customer service manager for more info.
Or: Gently tap on the mirror - with a hammer -(protect both sides of the mirror) and wear safety glasses, and then simply nip and shape your mosaic mirror segments into required tesserae with your Leponitt mosaic wheeled cutters. You can get awesome results this way and not be regulated with boring straight lines. In my mosaic workshops students absolutely love learning my cutting tips and tricks for mirror and ceramic tile using a variety of tools. These tips will be on MOSI in the near future.
You can also use a tile scorer manual machine, which is easy to use, and scores mirror and tile – straight cuts only. It’s easy to manipulate the height of the mirror to sit comfortably under the running wheel and handle of this tool - I will show you how in a mosaic workshop at OzMosaics Studio or in MOSI by video clip, photographs and examples. These tips are awesome!
It all depends on what you want “out of the mirror”.
I hesitate to cut my mirror finds down until I am ready to use them in a mosaic. Nothing worse than wanting something special and having ghastly long straight lengths of tile, glass and mirror staring at you.
However, many favour this “look” so if you are into this, you are probably from a stained glass background, used to having strips of glass to snip this way and that into triangles and other “expected” cuts. Try them all out, but be adventurous!
If you cut your mirror, tile etc on layers of newspaper, it will keep the material steady and you can wrap up any little slivers and dispose of easily. Take care, wear safety glasses and sensible clothing and shoes.
Check out the back of mirror; mirror generally can be “aged” by the backing….research it online. Some old mirror doesn’t go well in some adhesives and not great if used in immersed mosaics. Use common sense. Mirror comes in varying thickness and mosaic ideas are unlimited!!!!! You can add the mirror to mosaic, mosaic on the mirror, stack it all and more………. Mirror under glass mosaics is gorgeous too and I adore the dreaded “black spot”. I actually crave that mirror for special mosaic purposes.
Live outside the mosaic square.
In Australia, some Hardware Stores sell a ghastly pack of mirror square mosaic tiles, buyer beware, it’s cheap and nasty, avoid it, the backing is just not suitable for mosaics in general.
Try MAC glue for mirror adhesive, it doesn't eat away at the backing! Buy MAC at OzMosaics Online Shop or at our studio - OzMosaics is the Australian Distributor for MAC glue.
I love finding mirror at garage sales, old furniture outlets (the rippled edges make me go weak at the knees) … and also great mirror is available at mirror suppliers. Mix it up! Bad luck with broken mirror, no way! Using mirror is good luck in mosaics and makes for gorgeous mosaic reflections.
Find out more at OzMosaics workshops.
...Imagine what you can do if you scratch up the back of the mirror and go from there....give up all preconceived ideas about mirror and get on with it~!
and an extract from a post I put on my Mosaic Addicts Group Yahoo Forum:
Think before you start cutting the mirror up into piles of long strips! If
I had to look at a pile of long glass strips for inspiration I would run
screaming for the hills LOL! Nothing wrong with long strips of glass or
mirror, but don't get set into a mosaic rut.
Actually, I love the word mosaic rut...it calls other mosaic methods to mind
and now I want to go rushing down to the studio to play today, but other
mosaics are on the top of the list. So as I sit here gazing out of my
office window at an overcast, rainy day in Brisbane, watch all the leaves
have a beautiful bath..I want to make mosaic raindrops out of mirror and old
glass, crystal etc is perfect.
Did any of you watch the Australian tennis last night..how inspiring!
Back to long strips of anything...Why avoid cutting everything into long
strips? You may find yourself wanting different shapes and sizes of mirror
down the mosaic track and having long strips of mirror can be very
uninspiring, to say the least. Wouldn't it be awful not to be able to dig
through your mirror box and find shapes that call out as clouds, puddles or
simply fabulous, inspiring shapes to work into a mosaic?
For starters I would break large glass/mirror panels (if you have to) down
into large sections and store safely. Always wear safety glasses, sensible
working gloves, shoes and protective clothing to keep any little shards out
of your skin! I tell my students, don't mess with mirror, learn to work
with it, with respect.
If you don't have glass or tile scoring tools, place newspaper under the
mirror (to catch shards, and wrap up later); put a piece of clear plastic on
the top (so you can "see" what you are doing) and tap with a hammer to get
some basic large "breaks".
I have a special little hammer that will give the effect of a golf ball
impact on the mirror, which I adore and especially store!
I keep large box trays and using gloves, store the mirror in chunks, ready
to be shaped for future mosaics. I love the different shapes presented by a
gentle hammering and have a number of ways of keeping the shattered effect
"together" for special effects in my mosaics. Every time I use mirror, I
find a new cut or something special for my mosaics.
You can use your glass scorer tool or the handy tile/breaker combo tool
which is very inexpensive and does a fabulous job and gives you amazing
control cutting tile and glass for mosaics. People coming to mosaics from a
stained glass background etc, will usually have an oil-filled glass scorer.
I never use this tool, don't need it.
I prefer the simple tile scorer/breaker tool. Great control and great
shapes can result. I particularly avoid glass and mirror cuts that look
like cuts from a stained glass/leadlight pattern; the effect is often cold
and uninspiring, but that's just me; everyone should do what feels good in
their mosaic artworks.
Leponitt wheeled cutters are amazing for cutting mirror and allow so many
beautiful cuts and shapes in mirror; whimsical, circles, petals, squares,
triangles, angles; fluid and running water effects etc...and not just strips
and little squares.
Yes, you can use mirror as a base for mosaics with incredible mosaic
effects; stack it, embed it, angle it, 3-D, just don't fall into the
strips of glass, cut down into triangles or squares. Glue other glass over
the mirror and instead of going for that boring clear glue effect, mess it
up and add stuff to the glue and make any glass glue "smears" work for you
and your mosaic..endless ideas should be in front of your eyes.
So, imagine if you cut up your mirror into lots of long strips and then....
You can turn a mirror into (eg) an awesome mosaic palm tree in a couple of
minutes, using the simple tile scorer and Leps; or water flow, hair, ...so
many options. Mirror is high on my list of favourite tesserae. I have one
specialty cut I show my students, that leaves them in a mosaic frenzy of
Go for it, but keep your options open. I teach my students how to make the
most amazing things in mirror; they become addicted and are turning out
awesome mini murals in a few minutes. Too much fun!!!! Sticky tape then
becomes your best friend to transport the exquisite mini murals.
Cheers and have a fab day -Sandy Robertson
...and another extract:
From a gentle scratch to attacking the mirror back with bricks, files, sandpaper, any tool that gouges!!!! Drag it over a cement path, use nails! Rough it up or have the most discrete “markings”. Add a signature or logo or put your mark under mirror.
Fancy foils…or prepare the undercurrents first and press the distressed mirror into the clear drying glue. Put mirror over mirror with mosaic madness!
String, hair, glitter, sequins, dried flowers… Now you know why the “black spot” is a gift to me in mosaics.
It’s all there waiting for you.
Use paints, glitter, sand, shells, paper, gold, tinted thinset, whatever take your fancy, lift up over or push into the undercurrents. Awesome and fun!
MAC glue is great for mirror glue, or I may use a range of glues: thinset, MAC, CLN, Epoxy, whatever is needed to get the job done; sometimes all glues are used in the one mosaic. Have no fear! LOL The toast was great! I think Vegemite is my secret mosaic elixir.
Happy mosaicking, Sandy x