How to Make a Tropical Mosaic Mirror

Make a tropical-themed mosaic mirror with these step-by-step instructions.
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Materials and Tools:

24" x 24" wood frame
adhesive
assorted stained glass sheets
hand glass cutter
styled mosaic nippers
running pliers
mirror to fit frame
tube of clear silicone
black paint (latex or acrylic)
small inexpensive paintbrush
brown packing paper
double-sided tape
2 eyehooks
picture wire
single-edge razor
safety glasses or goggles
rubber or latex disposable gloves
bucket
paper towels
soft rags

Steps:

1. Buy or make a wooden frame (24" x 24" with a 4-inch border) with a small lip (about 1/4 inch) for the mirror to be set on.

2. Decide on a design for the frame and roughly sketch it on the frame. Once you decide the colors that you will use, paint them on the frame. This does not have to be a masterpiece, just a guideline.

3. Put on eye protection. Decide on the size that you want your glass pieces (tesserae) to be. They should be roughly the same size, but do not have to be exact.

4. Apply glue to the frame, in small areas at a time, and start setting your tesserae. You have plenty of time to adjust your pieces before the glue dries. Leave small spaces between the tesserae. To give the mosaic a clean, finished look, create continuous grout paths with your finger so that there are few dead-ends to the negative space. Always think about grout lines while placing your glass pieces down.

5. Continue until your design is all filled in. Do the same thing on the inside ledge and outer sides of the frame. Let the glass set overnight.

6. To grout the frame: Pour about 2 cups of sanded grout into a bucket and add enough water to give it a thick, pudding-like consistency. Let it set about 10 minutes.

7. Spread a handful of grout over the entire frame so that it fills in all of the spaces between the glass.

8. After all of the spaces are filled in, wipe off the excess grout with a paper towel. Once all of the grout is removed, buff the entire frame with a soft rag (an old soft T-shirt works well).

9. Paint the inside ledge of the frame so you do not see the reflection of the bare wood in the mirror.

10. Lay your frame face down and lay your mirror face down on the inside ledge of the frame. Apply silicone along the edge of the mirror and the frame and smooth it around with your gloved finger.

11. Once the silicone has dried, cut a piece of brown paper to fit the back of the mirror. It does not have to be an exact fit (it will be trimmed later). Apply double-sided tape to the back of the frame and lay the brown paper on top. Smooth it down.

12. Turn the entire frame over and cut the paper to fit the frame with a single-edged razor.

13. Screw eye screws into each side of the frame and connect them with a piece of wire for hanging.

Randy Lassalle, Sarasota, Fla.

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