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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Grouting Made Easy

When I first started mosaicing, I read all the mosaic books I could find to get ideas and learn correct techniques. I didn't like the grouting process very much. The washing of the grout with water and a sponge was messy and if I cleaned too vigorously, I removed too much of the grout. Plus the water just seemed to smear the grout over the tiles and on and on went the process.

Then I read one of Martin Cheek's books. Martin is a very well-known mosaic artist from England. He does a lot of creatures including cats and birds, and I have always loved his work. He talked about what, in my mind, seemed like a much better way to do the grouting process.

The gluing process
Here is the oval mirror I posted the other day. I always do my grouting outside in the garden. Fortunately living in Santa Barbara provides many months of beautiful outdoor weather. When I was ready to grout I mixed up Tobacco Brown grout and also brought along a little container of dry Tobacco Brown grout. Then after filling in all the spaces with the wet grout, I sprinkled dry grout over the whole piece. This helps absorb excess water and fills in little pin holes that I may have missed.

Sprinkled with dry grout
First swipe with newspaper

Then after 20-30 minutes I take newspaper, crumple it up and start to remove the excess grout. It slides right off! No messy sponge and water. The grout comes off easily with the newspaper! Then I just continue using newspaper to remove all the excess grout, dig out grout where it shouldn't be and voila! the piece is almost done.

Below I've removed all the dry grout with newspaper. This took about 5 minutes. No water and sponges making a big mess. And it's almost ready to go! I still had to go over the piece and dig out any grout in low spots and check for glue still on the face of any tiles.

Give this process a try just once and see if you don't find it easier, less messy and fast.

Grout removed with newspaper
The final piece

1 comment:

  1. I do the dry grout method, too, it's awesome! I think this technique will appear more and more in books, as the sponge way is really unsatisfactory. I've always used paper towels, but I like the newspaper idea - cheaper! Thanks :) (Lovely mosaic, by the way!)