Glass Tile Tree Mosaic

So I’m not much of a traditionalist when it comes to art.  I lean much more to “craft” than traditional art.  But I recently made up a piece from craft tiles, with crafty mediums, and turned it into a mosaic that I just love.  Best of all – I can even show you today how I made it, and you can try your hand at my brand of art!

I have this hanging over my desk now, and I just love it.  It was both artistic and mathematic to create, so both sides of my brain got plenty of exercise on this one. :)

Perhaps you recall the glass tile jewelry kick I was on for a while around the first of the year?  I really enjoy making glass tile necklaces, and I also made them into magnets and hairpins… all of which were one-tile endeavors.  This mosaic was a lot bigger project… 88 times bigger, to be precise.  I did make up each tile individually and arrange them on an 11″x14″ wooden canvas.  The hardest part?  Keeping all the individual papers in order and straight!  So this project was a challenge when it came to the final arranging, but preparing the tiles was actually pretty simple.  I’ll walk you through how I did it in case you’re interested in making something similar!

First of all… how cool is Mod Podge?  I wish I were more skilled with it, because it can decorate so much.  This project used two Mod Podge products: the traditional matte formula, and also Dimensional Magic to give each tile a nice shine.

I needed to get my graphics for the tiles, so I found a photo I liked and adjusted the tone until I got a light and dark sepia, and a light and dark blue.

I lined them up together, and cut them into my 1″ squares to fit the tiles.  Sorry about the lighting here, but it was pretty late and you get the idea. :)

In the above photo, I had just started to choose different colors to make up the overall design.  Basically, for each square, I had 4 color options.  So I just picked one at random so that the overall design would stay the same, but be made up of squares of different colors.

To make my tiles, I adhered my graphic with Mod Podge.  I just used mosaic tiles from Hobby Lobby, but any 1″ tile would work the same.

Once all my tiles were dry, then I added a coat of Dimensional Magic to add depth and shine.  If you haven’t used Dimensional Magic before – first of all, don’t shake it. :) If you’re just bringing it home, let it sit for a while.  You want to keep the bubbles out.  But once it’s settled, squirt a little on.  Then, I use a toothpick to smooth it all the way out to the edges.  If you do end up with any bubbles, you can try just popping them with your toothpick or a pin.  For really small ones, push them to the outside edge of the tile, you can usually just push them right off and they will pop.

The only way to keep my design complete was to keep them lined up all the time. :) As I finished my tiles, I put them right back in order.  When I left them to dry overnight, I dreamed my daughter knocked them on the floor… what a nightmare!  When you set up your space, keep it in mind that you’ll need to set them aside all together so that they don’t get mixed up.

Try not to touch them while the Dimensional Magic sets… but if you do, you can always add another layer of glaze to help fill in any smudges.

I picked up a 11″x14″ wooden canvas, and painted it black.  I measured it out and marked with a silver sharpie marker where I wanted all my tiles to go.  Then, when everything was dry, I started gluing my tiles to my canvas, using a ruler to keep them straight.

All told, I had about 4 hours of actual work into this project – 2 hours designing and carefully cutting my graphic, and two hours of working with the tiles themselves.  The drying time took up quite a bit of time in-between, so you won’t be able to finish this in an afternoon.  It’s a great project if you’re like me and only get about an hour of crafting time at a time!

I had planned to leave the canvas umframed, but when I finally saw it all come together, I decided it needed a last finishing touch.

I’d love to show it to you in my office area, it’s hanging right above me as I get this post ready, but the lighting is just no good right here!  (Fortunately, the rain broke for long enough for me to take it outside for a photo this weekend.)

Thanks for letting me show off, and thanks for keeping me alive for round three. :) It’s top ten now… wish me luck for next week!

I link up to these great parties!
~ Adrianne

Comments

  1. That is SO cool, Adrianne!!! Love it!!!

  2. Heather says:

    That is wonderful, Adrianne. First of you, pat on the back for creativity. But definitely a high five for patience!

  3. This is gorgeous, of course. I can't believe it only took you 4 hours. That is so impressive. Your right and left brains must be in tip top condition, lol.

  4. Absolutely love this! I just featured it on facebook.
    http://www.facebook.com/craftykateblog
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Kate

  5. This is truly gorgeous. You did an outstanding job! Wishing you luck in the next round.

  6. Shannon says:

    Thanks for posting this. Maybe if I get up the gumption I can make me one too.

  7. Lindsey says:

    This is such a great idea! Makes mosaics so much simpler… and safer! :)

  8. Mindie Hilton says:

    Wow that looks like it was a lot of work, but it's beautiful.

  9. LeighAnn says:

    This is fantastic! I pinned it and I'll make one later. Did you buy plain white tiles? Can you buy just the number you want at a hardware store or did you have extra?

  10. Ladybird Ln says:

    This is so great, what a creative idea, and what a fun project, I would go crazy with all of those pieces and trying to get them just right! I love that picture!

    Carlee
    http://www.ladybirdln.com

  11. Steph says:

    Congrats on the win–I love your 4-toned printing technique!

  12. Heidi says:

    This is totally amazing, Adrianne! I'm going to share on my FB if you don't mind! :)

  13. The Single Nester says:

    I am so impressed! Just beautiful!

  14. -Sarah- My Simple Obsession says:

    This was one of my favorites of round 2! It A-MAZ-ING! What a fantastic idea!

  15. No(dot dot)el says:

    This is amazing! So beautiful.

  16. Morena Hockley says:

    Phenomenal!! I love everything about it!!

  17. Kara at Petals to Picots says:

    Congratulations, Adrianne! And it is no wonder why … this is gorgeous! !

  18. Marcie says:

    This is so beautiful. I don't know if I would have the patients to make one. Would love for you to share it on my linky party!
    http://www.igottatrythat.com/p/blog-hop-linky-colde.html
    Thanks, Marcie
    http://www.IGottaTryThat.com

  19. Livin' La Vida Lanphear says:

    This is gorgeous! For the prints, how did you print them and what kind of paper did you use? Did you use a computer printer or do it at a print shop?

  20. Bethany Mitchell says:

    I was wondering the same thing as Livin#39. How did you change the color tone and what did you print it on?

  21. Jessi W says:

    I love this so much! I voted for this at One Crafty Contest and I'm so glad you won. Just brilliant :-)

    I have a brand new link party going on and I'd be thrilled if you'd link this up!

    http://practicallyfunctional.net/2012/05/the-fun-in-functional-link-party-1/

  22. I just used my regular printer, on regular paper. You will want to test your Mod Podge if you're printing at home to see if your design bleeds – some brands of printers and ink seem to, and some don't. You can always play it safe and use a very thin layer of paraffin wax on the printed side of your paper.

  23. To change the color, I just used some of the effects in PicMonkey! If you haven't edited your photos there before, It's awesome. http://www.picmonkey.com.

  24. stacysewsandschools says:

    WOW! That is breath takingly gorgeous!!!

  25. Pamela says:

    Following from the Blog Hop – Nice@!

  26. Four Marrs and One Venus says:

    Such an amazing job girl! This project is so pretty and creative! I love it!!

  27. Shatzi says:

    I love this!! I'm so glad you won. =) I voted for you!

  28. Kadie says:

    Every time I look at this I am so impressed!! It's just perfect! Defiantly has the WOW factor!! Congrats again on the win!:)

  29. Nelly says:

    This is STUNNING! Love it!!

  30. Jenelle Smit says:

    that's soo pretty!

  31. Tip Garden says:

    This is so great! Do you think you could do some sort of family photo, or maybe something like you and your babies hands in a photo or other such creative thing? I'm thinking ahead for Christmas ideas!
    Love you always!
    Jan from TipGarden.blogspot.com

  32. mrchandler says:

    Wow! What a great idea, and you did a wonderful job!

  33. ThreeOldKeys says:

    Beautiful.

  34. Lauren says:

    This is so beautiful! I would love it if you came and linked up at Well Crafted Wednesdays! Here is the link:

    http://thewellcraftedhome.blogspot.com/2012/05/well-crafted-wednesdays-link-party-6.html

  35. That is GORGEOUS!!! Oh, I just love it! It makes me so calm just looking at it:) Thanks so much for sharing with us at Thursday's Temptation.
    Jill

  36. Hubba says:

    Oh my gosh this looks amazing! Thank you for the pictures and tutorial.
    I'm a new linky follower from a blog hop, it would be great if you stopped on by and followed me at http://iheartpears.blogspot.com

  37. Carolyn Dube says:

    Stunning! The impact of your photo makes on those tiles is stunning. Thanks for sharing such an inspiring piece of art!

  38. Hi, do you know how much dimensional mod podge you used?

  39. It's hard to estimate, but what you see in the above photo, that little squirt on the tile, was how much I used per tile. You don't need much! I'd say I used maybe… 1/8 of the bottle on this project? I started with a 2 oz. bottle. So 1/4 oz. or so??

  40. Thank you!! The thing is I don´t live in the US so I have to order it. Thanks for your quick response!

  41. Aunt B says:

    What a beautiful project, and your tutorial instructions are very clear. Thank you for sharing it. I've pinned it to my Crafts board. :)

  42. Soumya says:

    OMG its amazing… loved this .. I'm new to this blogging world.. just now saw this in craftionary… Please find some time to go thru my page
    http://mycraftgallery.blogspot.in/
    luv
    soumya

  43. Beautiful!!!!!

  44. Margie says:

    Congratulations..this is absolutely beautiful and i want to try making one…what kind of glue did you use for the tiles? Is it just regular tile compound ??

  45. I actually used a water-based superglue, because that's what I had (well, that and E6000, but that can leave those little spiderwebby strings). I would imagine that you can use any kind of heavy-duty permanent adhesive that suits both glass and your canvas medium. Mine was wood, but if you've found something else to mount it on of course check for compatibility with that.

  46. Debra Kapellakis says:

    Beautiful!

  47. Cindy deRosier says:

    Stunning! It is gorgeous yet so simple.

  48. luluvision says:

    this is wonderful!! So inspirational. Thanks for sharing!! I pinned it!

  49. justhaveinfun says:

    I love it!

  50. What were your dimensions of the outline of all the tiles when you laid them?

  51. The tiles are just under 1″ square, I did 8 rows x 11 columns.

  52. How big was the frame you put around it?

  53. 11×14 to fit the canvas.

  54. Cathy says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! Love it!

  55. love it!!

  56. Hy Adrianne. :) I really love your mosaic. I just wanted to ask – where did you find the picture that you used? I also want to make the mosaic, but I can not find a suitable picture. :)

  57. Hi Dany – I use a few different sites when I'm looking for graphics & photos – http://www.morguefile.com, http://www.freepik.com, and http://www.freestockimagesite.com are some of my top places to look for free images. I can't remember where I found the tree but if you search for free image download sites, there are a lot of places out there you can find free images. Good luck!

  58. Unknown says:

    Wow! Really breath taking! I am so excited to try this!! How big was your picture before you cut it into 1 inch squares? Also how much space did you put in-between the tiles when you glued them to the wooden canvas? I think the hardest part will be measuring it out to add the silver sharpie dots. Any tips?

  59. Edilberto Durano says:

    I love these crafts! I love to try one of these glass tile tree mosaic for my home decor collections. Thanks!

  60. Danielle says:

    I would really like to do this, did you just print the picture on a piece of regular printer paper?

  61. This is a GREAT project! I have a tray that I’ve been wondering what to do with and this technique might just be the thing to bring that piece to life. I love it – thanks for sharing! :-)

  62. What a lovely creation! I love it!

  63. What a lovely creation! I love it! Your craft is awesome!

  64. judy smith says:

    I love this idea…I wonder if I could do a pattern like this multiple times using all the squares that were cut making a series of the prints, put them in a row and grout them to make a backsplash

  65. Molly says:

    I tried this on a photo that I loved, but seems like it works much better when using a photo like the one in the sample that is a silhouette. Mine was full color, and even when I altered it to the sepia and blue tones, and put random ones together for the mosaic, you couldn’t tell what the photo was of!!! So disappointing.

  66. Carolyn S. says:

    Thanks for the inspiration…I made mosaics as my Christmas Gifts this year. They were a HIT! Now, I need to find time to make one for myself! :)

  67. Wow! This is so cool. I never thought to use the same image with different tones/color balances. The effect is amazing.

  68. Love the mosaic tree! Very cool!

  69. Hey :)

    I just wondered please as to what size photograph you printed, was it A4?

    Thank-you

  70. WOW, that is absolutely brilliant! I do mosaic work, but haven’t ever thought of doing it this way, with my own picture. Smart (& pretty!) woman!

  71. Bethany says:

    I am having a hard time tracking down the 1 x 1 tiles…. There is no hobby lobby in my area. I did manage to find some mirrored tiles on Amazon, do you think that might work?? Thanks this is beautiful!

    • Really anything that is a similar size should work. Before you order anything expensive, let me share this – I have actually been getting my tiles for other projects from home improvement stores now (like Home Depot or Lowe’s). The tiles are slightly smaller, about 7/8 inch, but they are still square and the size is so similar, it works really well. It’s the same tile people use in showers and kitchen backsplashes.
      Adrianne recently posted..Celebrating #SwaddlersFirsts with a Pampers Giveaway!My Profile

  72. Marilyn says:

    I was wondering if the gloss mod podge would work for this also using regular photo paper?

  73. When cutting your image/s, did you make any adjustments to allow for the space between the finished tiles? The faux “grout” lines have such visual impact, but I wonder how to keep the spacing from distorting the finished image.

    • I didn’t. The 1/8 inch/3mm or so spacing wasn’t much of an issue, but it’s primarily because it’s already a silhouette. There are no “critical” elements that would be missing or distorted when you’re using an organic image like this.

      That said – I’m trying another method trying to improve and simplify this. I’ve actually got all my supplies together and I’m looking for enough time to start, and for that I’m going to remove the image from the “empty” areas (like where the grout would be, if you were adding grout. That’s a great way to put it). So I will have to test and see which works better visually, expanding it like this, or removing it…
      Adrianne recently posted..Easy Skillet Pork ChopsMy Profile

  74. Cheryll says:

    With using all those tiles, does it make the finished product really heavy?

  75. casey says:

    So beautiful!! But what was the original size of your photo? Thank you

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