“Green” projects in the art room are a new fad and one that is going to stay with art teachers for many years. Art teachers are always looking for free or inexpensive projects that provide an opportunity for students to learn within the classroom. Mosaic tiling is one such activity that requires a creative mind to keep the cost down.
Ask students to bring in old pottery and glass items that are broken, chipped or not wanted by their parents, guardians or other family and friends. Very unique mosaic projects utilize such items as marble tiles and onyx lamps.
The next step is finding something for students to mosaic. Summertime provides the ideal time to pick up old wooden furniture, boxes, vases and even bowling balls. Each of these items is candidate for mosaic tiling with broken glass, marble and onyx. If doing the project during the school year, ask the students to bring in an old item to mosaic. Make sure to let them know they are not to go out and purchase an expensive item. Even an old plastic pencil box will work for a mosaic in school.
Things You’ll Need:
Old coffee table
Plastic disposable container
Plastic putty knife
Artist’s flat 1/8-inch paintbrush
Brush on acrylic sealer
Step 1: Remove the electrical lighting components from the onyx lamp. Use a pliers and a screwdriver to remove all parts.
Step 2: Open a bath towel and place it on a concrete surface. Place the onyx lamp on the towel. Unfold a second bath towel and place it over the onyx lamp. Hit the lamp several times to break the onyx into small one to 1 1/2-inch pieces. Continue to hit the lamp and pieces to achieve the desired size. Smaller pieces will work. Curved pieces may need to be reduced to 1/2 to 3/4-inch pieces.
Step 3: Remove the broken pieces of onyx from the bath towel and put them in a bucket. Shake out the bath towels and put them in the laundry.
Step 4: Lightly sand the surface of the old coffee table. This provides a better surface for the adhesive.
Step 5: Take several pieces of onyx from the bucket and place them on the coffee table top. Begin making a design. Use more pieces as needed until the entire surface is covered. Adjust the pieces until the design is pleasing to the eye. Leave approximately 1/8 to 1/4-inch between each piece for the grout.
Step 6: Use epoxy adhesive and place it on the back of each piece of onyx. Pick up one piece of onyx and apply a generous amount of adhesive. Put the onyx back in place and apply pressure. Make sure adhesive oozes from the edges. Repeat the process until each piece of onyx us glued to the coffee table surface. Let the glue dry for 24 hours.
Step 7: Mix the grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the grout to the onyx surface with a plastic putty knife making sure to fill each void.
Step 8: Wipe the surface of the onyx with a wet sponge to remove excess grout. Be careful not to dig the grout from between the pieces. Let the grout dry for 24-hours. Repeat the process if the grout has shrunk.
Step 9: Wipe the surface of the mosaic with a wet sponge for the next three days to remove all grout residue.
Step 10: Paint two to three coats of acrylic sealer on the grout. Do not paint the onyx. Let the coffee table dry for 2 to 3 hours before use.
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