I Love to Create: Mosaic Mirror with Mom

Today we have a special treat! My mom Fredda Perkins is our guest contributer for this week’s eddition of I Love to Create!

Mosaics are fun, don’t cost much to make and don’t require a lot of fancy equipment. Lately I’ve been into doing shell mosaics. Actually it started when my friend and neighbor volunteered us (read mostly me) to make a shell and broken plate mosaic mirror for a little girl’s room. I made a fairly large mirror but you can do a little one the same way. This is also a good way to use those shells you can’t resist picking up at the beach.

Assortment of shells (craft stores and big box retailers sell them in sacks)
Crushed seashells or sand
Aleene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue
Plates to break
Tile nippers
Mirror with wide frame or
Unframed mirror
Plywood (I used ¼ in. to cut down on weight)
Saber saw or jig saw
Construction adhesive
Paint for frame

I like mirrors with fancy shapes so I made my own frame. I bought an oval mirror and centered it on the plywood and traced around it with the pencil. I then drew the outline of the frame. It can be simple or free form. I cut it out with my saw. You may need to sand around the edges. Paint the frame. Once the paint has dried, glue the mirror on it with the construction adhesive. Use your traced outline as the guide for mirror placement.

There are lots of ways to do mosaics. You can just start gluing stuff on or you can have a design. I like to at least have a loose idea of what I want it to look like so I spend some time placing shells and plates around until I think I have a pleasing design. Once that’s decided, clip the designs you want out of the plates. I used four 40’s era salad plates with a central floral design. I won’t go into all the details of clipping plates but you may want to practice on some scrap before you start breaking your good plates. I don’t hit plates with a hammer either. Tile nippers do a much better, more controlled job. I glued my plates to the frame with Aleene’s Tacky Glue. I outlined the plates with shells and also outlined the mirror. Using larger shells, I made a central design for the top and bottom or the mirror. At this point you can just start filling in the blank spaces with shells or you can create little designs. Either way, fill in as much of the space as possible with shells.

You will inevitably end up with bare spots. If you will just doing broken plate mosaics or tile mosaics you would use grout to fill in those spots. Grout is not a good option for shells however. Instead, first fill the gaps and blank spots with more glue then sprinkle the crushed shells or sand onto the glue. Work in small sections so the glue doesn’t dry before you put the crushed shells or sand on it.

Let everything dry for a couple of days then remove the loose crushed shells with a hand vac or your vacuum cleaner hose. Hold it above your piece not right down on it. You just want to remove the loose stuff, not all your hard work! If you see more bare spots squeeze on more glue and add more crushed shells.

If you made your own frame you’ll need to add a hanger. A mirror like this will be fairly heavy so make sure the wire is substantial. The same goes for your wall hook.

5 Responses to “I Love to Create: Mosaic Mirror with Mom”

  1. Lori

    Very pretty. I do mosaics also, and I hope you don't mind a bit of advice. You should protect the mirror so that when you complete your project and clean it up, you don't find that you have a big scratch in the mirror. I only mention this because I have done it, and it's a real bummer after all that hard work.


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