Learn to make DIY mosaic house numbers with this easy tutorial and video! We’ll show the easy way to mosaic without grout!
Hi Kenarry Readers! We’re Jennifer and Kitty from RunningWithSisters.com, and we have a mosaic project that is so pretty and so easy — Mosaic House Numbers! We discovered a fast way to make beautiful mosaics, and we can’t wait to share it with you. Even if you’ve never done a mosaic before, you can do this! The trick is no grout!
We will show you everything you need to get to make your own gorgeous mosaic house numbers. We’ll show you how to adhere your mosaic (again––no grout!) and how to arrange your tiles and things for best results. We’ve even included a video. Follow along as with the video, then use the instructions below to make your own!
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Materials To Make One Of The Mosaic House Numbers
Steps To Make One Of The Mosaic House Numbers
1. Spray paint the number black. Be sure to do both the front and the back, plus the sides.
2. Cover the front of the number with a 1/8-inch layer of black silicone. Squeeze the silicone out onto the number.
Use the putty knife to spread the silicone over the surface. It’s like frosting a cake!
3. To make the mosaic, press the keys into the silicone first. Next arrange the charms and buttons. Make sure each item is pressed down into the silicone.
4. Make a border with mini tiles using all tiles of the same color. If the keys or other items interfere with the border, just leave off the tile there. You can use a smaller tile or cube bead in the next step. The border doesn’t have to be 100% complete.
5. Fill in the spaces between the keys and tile border with the different mini tiles. Continue filling in spaces with smaller tiles. Then finally fill in the smallest spaces with the cube beads until almost all of the black silicone is covered.
Let the mosaic house numbers set up over night. You can use the silicone to adhere picture hangers to the backs of your numbers, too. We made three mosaic house numbers and chose to do each one in a different color, but we chose colors that go together. If you prefer you could do all your numbers in the same color story. Whatever you’d like!
If you have any questions while you’re working on your mosaic house numbers, just leave us a comment and we’ll reply. We want to help!
Jennifer & Kitty
Here are a few more mosaic projects from The O’Neil Sisters:
Steampunk Stepping Stones
Mosaic Cocktail Coasters
DIY Mosaic house numbers questions
Gloss or matte doesn’t matter since you will be covering it up with the mosaic materials. You want to pick out a multi-purpose spray paint like Rust-Oleum or Krylon.
If you don’t have silicone, you can also use an industrial-strength adhesive. Weldbond is known for being long-lasting and strong.
You can use scrap glass, pieces from a mirror, broken plates, seashells, and even beads. Have fun and be creative.
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How to Turn Broken Dishes Into Mosaic House Numbers
Start with Size, Shape and a Template
Start by measuring the space where your numbers are going to hang. You’ll want to select a proportion that is large enough to be visible from the street, but not so big that it’s tacky. You can get creative here, but if you're nervous, a rectangle is an easy shape to work with. Cut a piece of 1/8” plywood to your selected dimension for the baseboard. Head over to your computer and print out some numbers to your desired size and tape them together to make a template that fits on your baseboard.
Build a Frame for the Back
Framing the backside of the baseboard allows the mounting hardware to remain hidden and prevent it from interfering with the tile that’s going to get adhered to the opposite side. Cut a 1x3 for each side that will frame the inside area of the baseboard.
Install the Mounting Hardware First
It’s going to be a lot easier to install the screw eyes into the frame now than it will be once the tile and dishes are adhered to the baseboard. Even up the two longest frame rails, draw a line about 6"-8” from the top ends and install a screw eye in each one.
Glue up the Frame Rails
With the two screw eyes toward the top, apply a liberal amount of wood glue to each rail and clamp it into place. Make sure all four sides are making even contact with the baseboard and are clamped tightly until the glue has been allowed to dry for the recommended amount of time.
Transfer Your Artwork
Place your piece of carbon transfer paper onto the plywood side of your baseboard and use some painter's tape to secure it snugly. Then, lay your artwork over the carbon paper and tape that in place as well. Try to keep everything nice and flat and prevent it from moving around. Once everything is laid down, use a pencil to draw over your design by hand. The pressure from your pencil causes the carbon to release from the transfer paper and leaves what you've drawn on the wood below. Then, use a permanent marker to outline everything so you can see it clearly as you lay out your tile.
Now It’s Time to Smash Some Ceramic
You can add nearly anything into your mosaic; seashells, pebbles, glass, pottery, broken dishes or just any regular tile leftovers you have lying around. In the event you need to smash things into smaller pieces, you’re going to want to wear some safety gear. Goggles and heavy-duty gloves are an absolute must. Use a small scrap of wood to absorb some of the blow from your hammer and place a towel over anything you plan on smashing to prevent shrapnel from flying around. Start with a gentle tap and increase your hammer blows until your object shatters. You want it to break apart easily, not explode into a million pieces.
Start With the Numbers
The objective is to make the numbers as visible as possible. Use the most prominent colors or materials for your numbers so that they’ll stand out. Then use a high-strength construction adhesive to glue your mosaic pieces down to the plywood baseboard. Press down firmly on all of your pieces and allow them to dry for the recommended time before moving on to the next step.
Fill in the Background
Now that your numbers are set in place, you can start filling in the background space with your less prominent-colored materials. Adhere your background pieces in the same manner, being sure to keep the tiles from hanging over the edge of your baseboard.
Now It’s Time for Grout
Once all of the adhesive has cured for the appropriate time, you can apply grout to fill in all of the gaps between your tiles. Grout doesn’t need much in the way of tools or effort. You need a grout trowel, a sponge, a bucket and a bag of un-sanded grout. Start with a few handfuls of grout and slowly mix in water until your grout is smooth and has the consistency of peanut butter. It needs to be spreadable and somewhat sticky, you definitely do not want it to be too runny or loose.
Lay it on Thick
Once your grout has reached the right consistency, it’s time to spread it on. Place a thick mound of grout into the middle of your masterpiece and use the trowel edge to work it into the cracks. You want a nice smooth coat, but it’s more important to make sure all of the gaps are filled and the outer edges are nice and clean. You can inch close to perfection in the next step, but you’re going to have to wait about an hour before you do.
The First of Three Wipe Downs
After about an hour has elapsed, take a lightly dampened sponge and start to clean the grout from the tiles while giving the whole piece a gentle wipe down. Clean the sponge often and make sure to squeeze about 95% of the water out of it before putting it back on your piece. Your grout needs to set up, but it's not fully cured so you want to get your work clean but not perfect.
The Second and Third Wipe Down
After that initial sponge bath, your masterpiece needs to sit for about six hours so it can harden. After that time has passed, you’re going to want to give it a second sponge down exactly the same way you did before. You’ll notice now that your artwork is starting to shine. Once you’ve finished, let your project rest for 24 hours so the grout can totally cure. When you return tomorrow, you’ll notice that a thin haze has developed over your tiles. Not to worry, this is the last step. Take a clean damp cloth and give your work a final polish. This should lift off the film and your grouting has officially finished.
Frame the Outside
Mosaics tend to leave fairly rough edges, so framing your project really sets it off. Cut some more 1x3s and finish them however you’d like. We used scraps of mahogany with a nice coat of polyurethane. Attach your frame edges with some construction adhesive and a few small nails in each side and at the corners.
Attach a Hanging Wire and Install
Your mosaic is likely going to be pretty heavy at this point. It’s important to use a strong picture hanging wire attached to the screw eyes on the back. Make sure to add a few twists so it stays put and cut the excess off with some pliers.
Each house number is created with special consideration for your house style and color.
I begin the process by working with the customer to determine the style, size, and colors of the house number. Colors are then hand selected and a sketch of the piece is created for your approval.
Before the tiles are applied, I create the base using either tile or hand cut cement backer board - both are perfect for outdoor use because they are weather and water proof.
The next step of the process is to create the custom pattern. Each tile is hand cut and individually placed to make a unique, personalized, one of a kind mosaic.
After all of the tiles are laid on, the piece is grouted to hold everything in place, which will keep your mosaic in great condition for years to come.
Every mosaic number comes ready to hang. Depending on the material used, the numbers are either hung with a sawtooth hanger that comes securely attached to the back or with two holes and accompanying screws for easy hanging.
DIY Mosaic House Numbers
The logic behind housing numbers is that they facilitate the quick location of places. This is especially necessary in large urban cities, where it helps to have a house number displayed outside your home. It is useful to a lot of people.
Your friends won’t have a hard time looking for your home. Or those guys who are about to deliver the stuff you’ve ordered online. Most important of all, the rescue team will easily find your place in case there’s an emergency.
However, we’re so done with those boring and dull house numbers. They are so last season. Do you know what the new trend is nowadays? Mosaic house numbers!
Mosaics have dazzled and intrigued people with their colors and distinctive aesthetic since ancient times. Often made of meticulously arranged colored tiles, mosaics offer an eye-catching approach to art and decoration.
That’s why many agree that mosaic house numbers are fun and unique. They are a clever way to turn an otherwise humdrum necessity into an expression of your personal style.
The good news is you can do it all by yourself. You can have this ready to install in no time. You can also give these out to family and friends. Imagine your work of art displayed outside their home for the world to see. How cool is that?
- Wooden or MDF numbers
- Black primer spray paint
- Picture hangers
- Mini tiles, assorted sizes
- Heart charms
- Lock charms
- Brass shank buttons (shanks removed)
- 4mm cube beads
- 100% silicone, black
Click on any image to start lightbox display. Use your Esc key to close the lightbox.
You can get step-by-step instructions here…
Numbers mosaic house
Copyright CICO Books, 2010
All buildings require a name or number to identify them, usually in the form of a little plaque. As mosaic is one of the most durable art forms, it makes for an ideal project for an exterior setting. Practical as well as decorative, it will catch the eye of all those who need to find it! I have created a design based around tulips but perhaps you could incorporate the plant or animal with most relevance to you.
You Will Need:
Plywood square, 9 x 9in. (23 x 23cm)
52 black ceramic tiles
70 off-white ceramic tiles
5 white ceramic tiles
12 assorted purple glass or mirror tiles
6 assorted red and orange glass or mirror tiles
15 green glass or mirror tiles
Exterior-grade wood glue
1. Using the template provided, draw out the design for your house number in pencil, then, when you are happy with the positioning of the numbers, go over it with the permanent marker.
2. Repeat the process with the tulip template then seal the wood by painting over the surface with a mixture of 1 part P.V.A. to 3 parts water. Allow to dry.
3. Cut 40 of the black tiles into quarters and stick them around the outer edge and sides of the plywood square with wood glue, leaving gaps between each one. To achieve the exact shape you require for the numbers, draw the cutting lines onto your tiles with a pencil, making the angles as regular as possible. Cut the glass tiles for the tulip design into very small pieces, down to 1/8 in. (3 mm) square—though they can be slightly larger.
4. Starting with a ring of tiles around the outside of the flower, continue to the center of each tulip. Cut the green tiles into regular rectangles and glue them along the stalk.
5. Cut the white and off-white tiles into 16ths. Lay them down as evenly as possible around the outside edges of the tulips and numbers, shaping where necessary, until every detail has a background color edge. Fill in the rest of the background with horizontal lines of white tiles. Allow to dry.
6. Finish off the mosaic by sealing with a waterproof grout.
The architectural style of your home may dictate the design of your mosaic. Here, an Art Deco style has been used with vibrant, contrasting colors to make up a strong, linear design. To add to the piece's clarity, a black grout highlights each tile and gives the plaque a sharp finish.
Courtesy of Garden Mosaics by Becky Paton. CICO Books, 19.95, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.
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