Mosaic and Foam Memory Quilt

Not a quilter? No problem! This memory quilt uses a foam base and mosaic tiles to create a quilt that's sewing free.

Artist Faith Schexnayder applies mosaic tiles to foam to create this out-of-the-ordinary, 3-D memory quilt.

Materials Needed:

  • safety goggles
  • thick gloves
  • hammer and box to break the tile
  • china plates from thrift stores or flea markets
  • broom and dustpan
  • sandpaper
  • towel
  • tile nippers
  • block or polystyrene foam (Locate suppliers of block or polystyrene foam: boat docks are made of polystyrene foam.)
  • electric hot knife with regular blade and loop blade
  • electric hand sander
  • drywall sanding form (similar to a rasp)
  • permanent marker
  • small pieces of rebar
  • portable blowtorch
  • foam insulation spray
  • bag of cement
  • bag of sand
  • fiberglass mesh fibers
  • latex additive
  • mixing trough
  • rubber or latex gloves
  • water
  • bucket
  • stirring tool
  • trowel or putty knife
  • quilt pattern made from cardboard or paper
  • thinset mortar, close to the color of the grout
  • small notched-edge plastic trowel
  • sanded tile grout (either premixed dry)
  • sponges
  • plastic bags or boxes for storing mosaic tile pieces
  • shop vacuum

Steps:

1. Draw a desired quilt pattern on paper.

2. Put china plates into a cardboard box, throw a towel over plates and start to break the dishes into approximately 1/2- to 1-1/2-inch tile pieces. Sort them into shoeboxes or plastic bags with the colors labeled on them.

3. Draw a basic quilt shape on the foam block with a marker.

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4. Cut out the foam corners and basic shape using a hot knife with a regular blade (Image 1).

5. Change blades to a hoop blade and carve the foam into the desired shape. This creates curved lines and shapes, simulating folding fabric (Image 2).

6. Use a drywall hand sander to smooth the foam into its final form. Use sandpaper to further smooth the foam. Note: This makes a huge mess. Wear a mask while cleaning and place pieces into bags or use a shop vacuum to clean up. It is best to perform this job in an area that is not too windy.

7. You may need to add supports in the foam to take the weight of the tile. Heat up one end of a piece of rebar with a torch until it is very hot. Push the piece of rebar through the foam allowing the heated pipe to melt a path in the foam. Put into thinner areas that may break with a lot of pressure placed onto them.

8. After the supporting pipe goes into the foam, squirt insulating foam into the hole to seal it and glue the pipe in place. Let it dry and harden for 20 minutes. Cut off the excess insulating foam with a knife.

9. Place three cups of cement and nine cups of sand in a cement-mixing trough. Add 1/2 cup of fiberglass fibers to strengthen the mixture and reduce cracking.

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10. Add latex additive and water and mix into a thick paste (Image 1).

11. Wearing latex or rubber gloves, cover the entire piece of foam with the mixture, about 1/4 inch thick. Smooth the cement with your hands. Let it dry for about one hour. Smooth out any imperfections with a damp sponge and make the surface as smooth as possible.

12. Let the cement dry and cure for three to four days (Image 2).

13. Draw the guidelines for the tile placement on the cement using a permanent marker. Mark the colors you want to place in each section.

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14. Spread thinset mortar on a section of the cement with a trowel or putty knife. Place the tiles and pieces of broken china in the adhesive. Work in sections until the entire memory quilt is covered with the mosaics. Let it sit overnight.

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15. Mix the tile grout according to manufacturer's directions.

16. Wearing latex or rubber gloves push the grout in between the tiles, covering the entire piece with grout. Apply the grout with a sponge as desired. Let set for 15 minutes.

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17. Wipe off excess grout using a sponge and water.

18. After all the gout is wiped from tiles let set for another 15-30 minutes.

19. Buff the tiles with a towel to remove any haze.

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