DIY: HOW TO MAKE A MOSAIC MURAL
It is World Environment Day. Is it just me or does it feel like that this is the first time people actually know this? As a long time sustainability writer and enthusiast, I’ve always felt like I live in a bubble when it comes to talking about the impact of trash, but with the changing climate (literally and politically), trash talk has finally entered the mainstream. Thank you ban on single use plastic.
I came across this amazing quote in Hong Kong recently - ‘It’s not trash till you throw it out’ and wow, ain’t that the truth? I recently wrote a short piece on how to create less trash and now I’d like to add repurpose what you’d normally discard into something beautiful and/or useful to give it an extended lifespan to the list.
But I digress. It is World Environment Day and it’s nice to finally see everybody including big brands thinking about impact. This weekend, Pepperfry hosted a green weekend, inviting independent artists working with waste and sustainable materials to their brick and mortar stores across the country to showcase their installations or teach us mortals how to upcycle.
In Pune, they invited local architects Ketaki and Veena Chandran (who runs a ceramic studio), both pictured above, to run a workshop on making your own mosaic mural. I teamed up with them and hopped on over to Studio Pepperfry to show you how.
I’ve always imagined making a mosaic would be really difficult, but it turns out it’s actually rather easy and very fun. It’s almost like a paint-by-numbers except you have to figure out the numbers for yourself. In the finished product, white cement will give it a more Mediterranean feel, the black a more Roman feel. Ours ended up looking a bit like stained glass - you’ll see what I mean.
Mosaic mural making has everything you could possibly want out of a DIY. The therapeutic smashing of tiles, colour play, getting your hands dirty (though preferably with gloves on) and a beautiful end result.
If you would like to make your own, scroll down to learn how.
You will need:
Old tiles in a variety of colours.
Standard epoxy adhesive (tubes of Araldite are perfect) https://amzn.to/2LVjFyh
Ice cream sticks
A piece of ply (whatever size you have lying around)
A bag of cement grout (pick from white or black)
A mixing bowl
A wallet sized plastic card (expired credit or loyalty cards are great)
A rag or sponge
Smash your tiles and segregate them by colour. If they won’t break into small enough pieces when hit against a hard object, use a hammer.
Draw your pattern onto the ply - a simple abstract and random series of arcs is good to start with unless you’re confident at drawing something more complex.
Mark them with the corresponding colours of the tiles you’d like to use.
Focusing on one area at a time, squeeze and mix the adhesives and spread them quickly using an ice cream stick.
Affix the tile pieces of your chosen colour until the board is filled.
Pour the powdered cement grout into a bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the water mixing until it forms a thick paste-like consistency.
Smooth it over the tiles, using the card to help fill the gaps and keep the cement off the top of the tiles.
Let dry for several minutes before cleaning the excesses with a sponge or rag.
Voila. Your piece is ready. Allow it to fully dry before turning into into a piece of wall art or table top.
Thank you Veena, Ketaki and Kashmira for a very creative afternoon. And thank you to the folks at Pepperfry for having me.