In my quest to make mosaic a toddler friendly art and craft I have used lots of different materials that have no sharp edges (I made a long list of these materials here). I was really excited to discover these soft glass tiles recently which has launched our toddler / little children mosaic into new realms. They are made from melted down glass so all the edges are smooth and the pieces are irregular so you can make shapes without needing to cut. All the joys of colour and the reflectivity of glass – yay!
The other day, I set about using our new discovery so here’s two new little-kiddie-friendly mosaic projects for you to try- making mosaic stones and mosaic hanging tiles.
To do these projects you will need:
- soft glass mosaic tiles (see here for US supplier, here for Europe / international supplier and here for a UK supplier)
- stones with a fairly flat surface
- small tiles as a base for the hanging mosaics (we used leftovers 5x5cm, 6x6cm and 10x10cm)
- white craft glue (PVA / Weldbond or equivalent)
- grout, protective gloves, a plastic tub and stirrer.
- d-ring for hanging and some “hard as nails” glue
I brought the rainbow mix of the soft glass tiles which gave us the added bonus of a sorting game to start our activity! The children loved this and spent a lot of time putting the tiles into their own colour pot (there is something so absorbing about sorting isn’t there?). We were then ready to start gluing.
I demonstrated doing a flower on one of the little tiles and then let my two (aged 3 and 4) just do it their own way – I was really impressed with their creations, particularly Toby who is only just 3 and still developing his fine motor skills. Isabella then also made a stone with just yellow tiles – very pretty against the sandy colour of the stone.
Toby carried on with the flower theme and made another while Isabella went into freestyle! She tiled a 5 x 5 and 10 x 10 cm tile (and I did one too carrying on the flower theme!).
The next day, we got to grouting the hanging mosaic tiles that Isabella and I made – a bit of a landmark as this was Isabella’s first grouted mosaic!
We used charcoal grout (though a grey shade will also look good). I always use powdered grout for my mosaic work (you can also use white grout and tint it with acrylic paints to any colour you like). Always wear a mask when mixing your grout as you don’t want that powder in your lungs.
Mix it to a smooth, thick paste. Then, with your gloves, rub it into your mosaic, getting the grout into all the gaps. Isabella loveddoing this! Lots of squidgy fun!
After a couple of minutes, take some kitchen roll and slowly start wiping the excess grout away (Isabella took these photos of me cleaning up my mosaic!) to let your mosaic emerge. Once the grout has dried (the next day) you can give it a final clean up, shining your lovely mosaic to make it glimmer.
To hang your tile mosaic, put a large blob of “hard as nails” (glue that is a nail substitute) on the back of the tile and embed the d-ring into it. Once dry, it will be solid and ready to hang!
I love making little mosaic stones with vitreous tiles too – I have made quite a few over time, fun if a little fiddly cutting the teeny pieces with tile nippers to make up the images (the dove of peace is my favourite).
I keep some of them as paperweight / memento’s whilst others I turn into hanging stones. Quite a few of these are currently in a window exhibition, alongside some of my smaller pieces of wall mosaic art, at the Sprout Community Arts gallery in my local neighbourhood, until 5th June. If you are local, do pop along and see!