4. STICK IT ON
Choose a tub of pre-mixed tile adhesive and follow the manufacturer’s directions. Wear rubber gloves for
4a. With a trowel, smear a thin layer of adhesive
over your tabletop. Once the first layer of adhesive
has been spread, you’ll have to work quickly to set
the tesserae before the adhesive dries, usually
about 45 minutes. So, with that in mind, only cover
as much of the surface with adhesive as you can
cover with mosaic pieces in that time. If the adhesive
does dry before you set your pieces on it, scrape it
with the trowel and, if necessary, add another thin
layer of adhesive.
NOTE: It’s important to
keep the adhesive off the
front of the tile. Try as
hard as you can to keep it
all on the back. This will
save you a lot of work in
the end. If adhesive does
end up on the front of the
tile, you must clean it off.
4b. Select the first of your tesserae and cover the
back with a thin layer of adhesive. Then place it on
your surface. Cover the next mosaic piece with
adhesive and set it very close to the first, aiming
for about ¼"–
1" of space between them. Continue
to lay out all the pieces in this way.
NOTE: When mixing plates with tiles, you’ll find that
different pieces have different thicknesses. Smear
a thin layer of adhesive onto the thick pieces, and a
thicker layer of adhesive onto the thin ones. The goal
is to have a flat surface, so the amount of adhesive will
need to be adjusted to keep all of the tesserae level.
5. CURE AND CLEAN
5a. After setting all the pieces, use a damp sponge
to wipe off any stray adhesive while it’s still wet.
Let the mosaic dry according to the directions on
the adhesive. Generally this will take about 24 hours.
5b. After 24 hours, return to the project and scrape
off any bits of adhesive that may be stuck to the
front of the tesserae. Also remove adhesive that
may be stuck in between the pieces. You want to
ensure that the space between the pieces will be
filled with grout, not glue.