If you are interested in doing anything mosaic then this post is for you! I will have the other steps of creating gorgeous, detailed glass mosaics in future posts but this one is all about an inexpensive alternative to the expensive mosaic tiles you would buy at the craft store. Not only is it a cheaper alternative but it makes for a much more unique and beautiful mosaic.
What you will need:
-Tempered Glass, I used old sliding glass doors that were being thrown away. You could try thrift stores or garage sales or even trash piles on bulk trash day for other items that would work, without having to spend much money.
-Frosted Glass Spray Paint
-Clear Lacquer Spray Paint
-Fine Glitters in your choice of colors
-Craft Acrylic Metallic paints in your choice of colors
-Wide Paint brush, like you would use on the walls not for crafts
-A large piece of cardboard or thick plastic to work on
-Buckets or some other thing to place under the glass to help break it
-Trays or other buckets for sorting the glass. I use old photo developing trays which work great when you are working on the mosaic since they are short and flat and make finding the right pieces easier.
First you need to clean the glass thoroughly. Scrub it down with some soap and water, dry it with a clean cloth and then wipe it down with denatured alcohol. This helps ensure that the glass is clean and the paint will properly stick.
To give you an idea of home much glass and supplies you will need I will tell you what I used for past projects. For the last glass pieces I made, I used 3 sliding glass doors, a whole pack of about 12 little vials of glitter from Michaels, 1 can of lacquer and 1 can of frosted spray paint, and about 7 little bottles of craft acrylic metallic paints. This made 2 very full 5 gallon buckets along with 2 large developing trays full of glass. The mosaic I did in the video on the bathroom wall I used 2 sliding glass doors and has a little left over. I once did a mosaic back splash on my bar area I built in my house and used 1 sliding glass door but had to use lots of the itty bitty pieces to finish it. My advice is to purchase extra of the craft paints and save your receipt and return what you don’t end up using. You can always use the leftover bottles of paint to make some beautiful re purposed glass dishes like in my other post http://www.summerscloset.com/blog/2013/08/02/re-purposing-ugly-mis-matched-glass-dishes/
Before we go into all the instructions be sure to check out our fun Elf aprons. You can get matching aprons for women, children and even dolls. You can also get them personalized for a little extra. These make great gifts and will help you get ready for all your holiday projects like these mosaics!
You should start with the glitter since it will end up covering the least amount of space depending on how much you purchased and it looks fantastic mixed in the mosaic giving it an extra sparkly glass look. They also sell glitter in little assorted color packets at Michaels that work well. Just make sure you use fine glitter, you don’t want to use any large pieces of glitter. First you will spray a small section, I repeat SMALL section, of the glass with the clear lacquer spray paint. (On a side note make sure you purchase the spray paint from a place like Home Depot and not a craft store or you will pay almost double in price for the same thing.) Quickly after you spray the glass sprinkle the first packet or vial of glitter onto the wet spray paint. Make sure you have everything ready because the spray paint dries quickly and you must get the glitter onto the spray paint before it dries. Sprinkle the glitter until it is fully covering the section of glass not leaving any clear spaces. You can blow the excess glitter a little if you put too much on the glass to spread it to other wet portions of the painted glass. Repeat this until all of your glitter is used. You want to put all the colors right up next to the others and don’t worry if they overlap a little this makes for more unique pieces of broken glass. Make sure there are no empty clear spaces of glass.
Next you will use the acrylic paints to finish covering the rest of your glass. It takes about 3 bottles or less of the acrylic paints to cover a sliding glass door, so you might not want to use the whole bottle if you are doing a much smaller project and need a variety of colors. Squirt some of the paint onto the next section of glass and use your large paint brush to spread it evenly and thinly on the glass. It should be thick enough that you don’t have any clear glass streaks showing but not too thick or it will end up pealing off the broken glass and leave you with a lot of unusable pieces. Make sure you cover all sections of the glass just like with the glitter.
Next you will need to use your frosted glass spray over all of the glitter to seal the glitter in and make sure there is no clear spaces that will show glue through after you break the glass. If you have left over frosted glass spray paint, it is a good idea to spray over all of the metallic paints as well with it. Then you should use the clear lacquer spray paint to spray a coating over everything just to help seal it all in.
Let it all dry over night
Next comes the fun part ( a little scary too if you haven’t done it before. Make sure you use safety goggles and gloves and don’t do this around little children. You need to lay out your large piece of cardboard or plastic underneath your glass which you need to have laying on top of 5 gallon buckets or something that high on the ends. This is best done outside on pavement so you can sweep up any glass that may miss the plastic. Take your hammer and hit the glass to break it. You will need to hit it several times and at first you may think it will never break. Out of all the glass doors I have done they all break differently. Some are much stronger others break with a couple hits of the hammer. The last one I did felt like it would never break and I ended up breaking it using one hit of the claw of a large crow bar. Be very careful that your hammer and arm don’t go through the glass when it breaks. When tempered glass does start breaking the whole thing breaks and breaks quickly. I do suggest using something like the crow bar which is long so you have less chance of your hand or arm going through the glass when it breaks and getting cut on any of the broken pieces. After the initial break, you may need to tap the edges of the glass off the door frame to get the rest of the glass off. Then move the frame to the side carefully since there will still be broken pieces left in the frame.
Next comes sorting the pieces. With thick gloves carefully pick up all the pieces and sort them into your trays by color. Leave the bigger pieces big especially if you are doing a large scale mosaic like the one in our video. Don’t bother to pick up all the tiny ones that don’t have paint on them, these are useless for your mosaic purposes.
Next put the sliding door frame back on the plastic or cardboard and carefully using a flat screwdriver pry the gasket out of the frame releasing all the leftover pieces into your plastic. Usually these glass doors are aluminum and you can get a little bit for them if you scrap them. Clean up all the bad glass by sweeping it or just gathering your plastic up carefully and tossing the whole thing in the trash.