12 days of crafting: mosaics

From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some of my favorite crafting methods and projects. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or handmade decor for your own home!

Day 3: Mosaics

{Those are my best friends since forever, aren’t they cute? Not to mention that this is mere days after Carrie gave birth to her son Miles – this photo was taken in his NICU room, because he was a teeny tiny preemie. He turns 4 in a little over week, crazy!}

Okay, I will start with a disclaimer on this one: mosaic projects are not something you should take on if you don’t have much time and you’ve never done it before. I’m not sure I’ve ever done a mosaic project that hasn’t involved some late night crafting, now that I think of it…

That being said, I really love doing mosaics – they are very satisfying once they are complete. And I think a small project – maybe a couple votive candle holders – would not be too much to take on for this Christmas, even if it is your first time.

I’m not going to explain mosaic-ing (is that a verb?) very in depth, but I’ll give you a brief overview of what it involves, along with some tips.

Basic Supplies:

  • tile – you could get any old tile and break it up with a hammer, but to create projects like the vases above, you need glass tile. And beyond that, mosaic glass tile is made in sizes and thicknesses that are tile nipper-friendly, so I recommend getting that.
  • tile nippers – I just have one plain old pair and it does the job. (I have the Basic Nipper that they sell here). Also, I just love the term “nipper.”
  • safety glasses – trust me, it’s just a good idea. Glass shards go flying when you’re cutting tile.
  • glue – they make mosaic glue, and that’s what I’ve used because I got a bunch with a kit I ordered… but I am pretty sure it is just elmer’s glue at a higher price.
  • grout – you’ll almost always want sanded grout; non-sanded is for smaller joints.
  • gloves – applying the grout is messy and seriously dries out your skin.
  • sponges & bucket – this is to apply and wipe away excess grout.
  • grout sealer – I only use this for outdoor projects, like plant pots.
  • your project – a vase, candle holder, coaster, plant pot, photo/mirror frame, etc!

The votive holder above was pretty easy – the only tiles that needed to be cut were the ones in the middle row. Something like this would make a great first project, so don’t be afraid to try! You could even do something like this without cutting any tile and save a step! Just figure out spacing that allows for whole tiles.


  • If you’re doing a bigger project or multiple projects, don’t buy those tiny bags of tiles that the craft stores sell. You are better off getting larger bags at Mosaic Mercantile.
  • Same goes for grout, don’t buy it at craft stores – you can get it so much cheaper at a home improvement store like Home Depot. You may have a lot left, but I try to get colors that I would want to use again.
  • Be patient (so hard for me!). Don’t try to glue on too many tiles at once, or you’ll bump them or they’ll slide around. And give them at least 24 hours to dry before grouting.
  • Get ALL the grout and haze off your tiles before it dries.

Another way to try your hand at a mosaic is to buy a kit – sometimes Mosaic Mercantile has specials on them. Like this Christmas coaster set I made for my mom and mother-in-law a few years ago:

It came with everything except the tile nippers, I think.

So that’s a glimpse into making mosaic projects. If you like crafting, I would encourage you to try it sometime – they make seriously high-quality gifts! And it’s like putting a puzzle together, how fun is that?!

And if this type of project seems too involved for you, don’t worry – on Monday I’ll have the perfect little gift project for you to take on!

In case you missed it:

12 days of crafting – day 1: stenciling

12 days of crafting – day 2: wreath with felt flowers