Handmade Mosaic Tile Backsplash

Design a colorful mosaic tile backsplash to add a bit of flair to your kitchen.

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Materials and Tools:

low-fire white earthenware clay
low-fire underglaze
low-fire overglaze
needle tool
sgraffito tool

Steps:

1. Wedge the clay. Wedging is a process of slamming the clay onto the floor to force out the trapped air pockets thus developing a uniform texture. This process also allows the clay to be molded into a desired shape before being put through the slab roller.

2. The wedge of clay is then passed through the roller to the desired thickness — preferably 1/4-inch thickness.

3. Cut the slab into the desired shape and trim the edges to square it off.

4. Transfer the slab onto a piece of sheet rock, which will provide stability as well help to remove the moisture from the clay slab.

5. While the clay is wet, the design is painted on using an underglaze. Follow by drawing a texture design using a sgraffito tool, a pencil or the end of a paintbrush--even a twig from a tree.

6. The clay slab is then sectioned and cut into several smaller tiles with a needle tool or knife. It is then set out to dry for at least a week.

7. The tiles are then bisque fired, which is a firing to harden but not mature the clay body.

8. Apply a clear glaze to the tile. The tile is then glaze fired. This a firing cycle to the temperature at which the glaze material will melt to form a glasslike surface coating onto the tile.

9. The tile is then mounted onto a board onto which mortar has been applied. Set for 24 hours and then grout.

10. The finished piece may then be framed and hung on the wall as a decoration or backsplash.

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