Craft Glass & Mosaic Tiles

Decorative craft glass and unique mosaic tiles add interest and detail to artistic projects, furniture and accessories, kitchen back-splashes, and many other designer elements in the home. Whether they feature as the entire design or are simply used for flair, searching for the right styles reveals a wide variety of choice. With so many cuts and materials available to make mosaic and craft tile projects, you may need answers to a few questions before deciding whats right for your needs.

What kind of materials make mosaic tiles?

  • Silica or mirror glass. Tiles and pieces made of silica and mirror glass have very different and distinct qualities. Silica glass is typically more transparent than opaque, and mirror tiles have one or more reflective sides.
  • Porcelain and ceramics. With porcelain and ceramic mosaic tiles, designs can be made by the sheet and laser cut with smooth edges meant for fine tiling work. Reclaimed and recycled porcelain or ceramic tiles might have irregular edges and could be used in more jigsaw-styled applications.
  • Gems and stones. Jewels and minerals can also be found cut and polished or raw and irregularly sized. When planning for a project, be aware that using certain gems and stones in outdoor applications may affect their wear if left out in the weather.

What adhesives work with glass and mosaic tiles?

  • PVA and water-based glues. These glues should be used for indoor-only projects and those projects should be kept free of water or the excessive humidity of a bathroom. The clean up for water-based glues is the easiest of all glues, and it usually bonds well with any ceramic, wooden, or acrylic surfaces.
  • Mortars and grout. When using mortar or grout for your glass or mosaic tiles, look for thin-set and non-sag formulations. These adhesives are meant for outdoor use and should withstand some exposure to weather.
  • Silicone and epoxy glues. Glues made of silicone or epoxy resins can be used as sealants as well as for their adherent properties depending on the brand and application. They work well with metal and glass pieces and can be used outdoors.

Are glass and mosaic tiles safe to use?

  • The right tools. If you or the person working with glass or tiles with irregular edges, protective gloves can be worn for added safety measures. Make sure to use the appropriate shaping tools for any shaving or filing materials to the right size.
  • Require adult supervision. Working with mosaic and glass tiles can be a fun project for families to enjoy together, and many types of tiles are safe for children to use independently. A supervising adult should always accompany any work that involves small parts and non-toxic glues.
  • Ventilate while working. For projects that require filing, shaving, or gluing with strong chemical adherents, the work area should provide good ventilation. Depending on how much work you need to do for your project, wearing a mask and goggles may be beneficial additions to your tools and equipment.