Sea Glass Mosaics

A few weeks ago I went on a mosaic course at The Amble Pin Cushion (you can read all about it here).

I realised I had a load of material that I could use for mosaic work. K, who takes the dog for long beach walks (he’s a big dog and needs a lot of exercise) is constantly beach combing and comes home with loads of sea glass, worn fragments of china, shells and pebbles. The best pieces of sea glass are those beautifully rounded translucent pebbles, but it takes years of abrasion from sand and shingle for them to get like that. Most of the pieces are newer and less sea-worn than that, with maybe just the sharp edges worn off and a slight abrasion to the surface.

The main issue here was that the glass pieces were all of different thicknesses – I tried to select flat ones of similar thickness. I drew around the old coasters I was covering and arranged the pieces on the template, leaving slight gaps in between. I used my newly purchased glass and tile cutters to make a few of the pieces fit. Most of what I had was colourless, – I wanted a green and white colour palette but had very little green glass. I raided my nail polish collection (I have a ridiculous amount of nail polish and am a bit obsessed with my nails). I painted the back of some of the glass pieces with different shades of green polish. I was really pleased with this – you could not tell the difference between the green glass, which comes in different shades of green, and the painted ones.

I painted the old coasters with white acrylic paint so the original design didn’t show through. When it was dry, I applied a thick coat of PVA glue, let it go tacky, then added another coat. When this started to dry I transferred the glass pieced and such them on the coaster – the thick glue was to allow for any differences in thickness: Thicker pieces were pressed fully into the glue, thinner ones, presser more lightly to get as uniform surface level as possible.

When the glue dried, I mixed up some grout and filled the gaps and edges with it, running a finger along each edge to neaten it. You really need to use your fingers to make sure all the crevices are filled, which is delightfully messy. Using a damp sponge, I gently removed as much grout as I could grout from the surface of the glass pieces before it dried and repeated to remove any residue after it had fully hardened.

I love my finished coaster! They are not perfectly flat, but are ideal for chunky coffee mugs (maybe less so for delicate champagne flutes!)

I’m going to try a few more and use some of the china fragments.

It’s been great to find something absorbing to do to take my mind off these troubled times. Have you been trying any new crafts and hobbies while we have to stay at home?