How to Make a Glass Mosaic Dog Mirror

Follow these steps to make a dog-themed, stained glass mosaic mirror.
By: Carmen Flores Tanis

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Materials and Tools:

wood-framed mirror
black acrylic paint
stencil vinyl
clear adhesive shelf liner
opaque sheet glass (adhesive will show though transparent glass)
assorted crushed-glass frits
tile adhesive
black tile grout
paint pens
low-tack painter's tape
2-part resin
resin-bubble-remover spray
black card-stock paper
picture-hanger hardware
paintbrush
craft knife
glass cutter
glass tile nippers
glass band or ring saw
kiln
mixing cups and stirrers
tile-grout float tool
sponge
hot-glue gun and glue
rubber gloves
eye protection
apron
respirator equipped with filters for fumes
scrub pad
serrated plastic knife
straightedge ruler
glass cleaner
paper towels
level
heat gun
cotton sheet or large towel
large piece of cardboard for tent
electric sander
cling food wrap

Steps:

1. Draw the desired design on paper.

2. Cut ¼-inch red, white and caramel marble strips with a glass cutter. Prepare the glass for the dog faces by sprinkling a piece of white sheet glass with black frit. Fire in a kiln to 1,350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool overnight.

3. Remove the mirror from the frame and set aside. Paint the frame with black acrylic paint. Let dry.

4. Cut a piece of shelf liner as wide as the frame and about 6 inches longer.

5. Center the shelf liner, sticky side up, on the front of the frame and wrap the ends to the back of the frame. Tape it in place.

6. Use a craft knife to peel away the white paper backing, exposing the sticky side of the shelf liner on the front of the frame. Set aside.

7. Draw dog and bone shapes on stencil vinyl and cut them out with a craft knife.

8. Trace the shapes onto plain glass and the cooled fused-glass sheet with the stencil and a black paint pen. Wearing safety glasses, cut the shapes with a glass band or ring saw. 

9. Remove any remaining paint lines on the glass with a scrub pad and water.

10. Create a double border with ¼-inch strips of different colors on the outside of the frame and around the center opening. Cut ¼-inch strips to border size. Stick the strips to the shelf liner facedown.

11. Arrange one dog shape in each corner and two bones along each side.

12. Cut ½-inch strips of the caramel-color glass to fill in the mosaic background.

13. Using tile nippers, cut the caramel strips into triangle shapes and fill in the background. Nip pieces to fit. Remove the tape holding the shelf liner to the wooden frame, and slide the mosaic onto the table.

14. Spread tile adhesive on the front of the frame with a serrated plastic knife.

15. Flip the frame onto the glass mosaic to stick, and then carefully flip both together right side up. Let set about 20 minutes, and then carefully remove the shelf liner, starting at one corner and pulling diagonally close to the surface. Adjust any pieces that might have shifted. Let dry 24 hours.

16. Mix grout to a milk-shake consistency and spread it on the surface with the float tool. Work grout into the spaces between the glass. Let set about 15 minutes.

17. Carefully wipe away excess grout from the surface with a damp sponge. Let set for another hour and do a final cleanup. Let dry 24 hours. Carefully clean the surface of the mosaic with glass cleaner and paper towels.

18. Draw faces on the dog shapes with paint pens.

19. To get a thick top coating of resin that doesn't immediately drip away, tape low-tack tape around perimeter of frame and around the center opening so that about a ½-inch lip of tape extends above the surface of the mosaic. This wall will allow the resin to thicken on top until it's removed.

20. Cover the work surface with paper and elevate the mosaic by putting an upside-down plastic cup under each corner.

21. Use folded paper to shim as needed until the entire mosaic is level.

22. Wearing a respirator and rubber gloves, mix resin, using one part resin to one part hardener. Five ounces of each will make a nice coating on 1 square foot mosaic.

23. Pour resin onto the mosaic. Cardboard makes a good spreader. Let set about 10 minutes.

24. Squirt bubble-removing spray onto the surface to remove large bubbles. Scoop out any visible pieces of dust with a piece of cardboard.

25. To remove tiny bubbles, carefully wave a heat gun over the mosaic. This makes bubbles expand and move to the surface. Move the heat gun constantly to avoid burning the surface.

26. Make a tent using a cotton sheet, plastic cups and a sheet of cardboard so that the entire mosaic is protected. Let set for about an hour-warmer weather will cause resin to cure faster.

27. Carefully remove the tape from the mosaic so that the resin drips over the sides. This is a very messy step. Run your finger along the bottom edge of the mosaic to smooth out the resin drips. It will continue to slowly drip.

28. Cover the mosaic with the tent and let it set for 72 hours. No peeking for the first 24 hours.

29. Remove the tent and place the mosaic facedown on a folded towel. Place a piece of cling wrap on the face of the mosaic to prevent scratches.

30. Remove drips with an electric sander. Touch up the back of the frame with black acrylic paint.

31. Insert the mirror into the center opening and secure with hot glue. Glue a square of black card stock to the back to provide a finished look. Attach picture-hanging hardware.

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