We love mosaic house numbers! They look gorgeous and you can make them yourself. Plus, having a number on your house is important so that people can find your house easily (this includes friends, family and emergency service workers).
Although you may be tempted to put all sorts of designs on your mosaic house number, it’s important that when you make a mosaic house number it’s visible and easy to read from a passing car.
Tips on how to make a mosaic house number:
- Use a light background and a dark number, or a dark background and a light number.
- Use unglazed and glass tiles to create contrast.
- Use easy-to-see colours
- Make the mosaic house number as big as possible
- As tempting as it may be, try not to use too much ‘bling’, like mirror and shiny mosaics, as reflection from the sun or headlights may obscure the number.
We show you 2 different ways how to make a mosaic house number!
What you need to make a mosaic house number
- Base – in this case the pillar and wall at the garden gates
- Brown craft paper
- 2 boards
- Masking tape
- Mosaic tiles of your choice
- Tile nippers
- Wallpaper glue
- Sponge and cloth
- Hammer – optional
- Key coat
- Wooden trowel
- Metal float
- Mosaic tile adhesive
- Bonding liquid
- Metal notch trowel – very often a metal float has a notched side as well as a smooth side
How to make a mosaic house number
- Measure and draw out the area for the mosaic. Make sure it is straight and centred. If the wall is plastered and painted, chip it with a hammer to pock (pit) the area for the mosaic. Paint it with key coat.
- Draw your design onto brown craft paper, indicating how you want the tiles to flow. The line created by the flow of the mosaic tiles introduces movement and adds interest to what could otherwise be an uninspiring mosaic.
- Fix the paper with masking tape to a board slightly bigger than the design. Cut your tiles, then glue down onto the brown paper according to the design, using wallpaper glue. Start with the borders, then do the numerals and finally fill in the background.
- Once the mosaic design is complete, glue another sheet of brown paper over the whole mosaic with wallpaper glue (the mosaic is sandwiched between the two pieces of paper). Be generous with the glue to ensure good adhesion.
- Mix the mosaic tile adhesive with bonding liquid to a thick, cream cheese-like consistency. Apply this mix to the wall using the notched side of your metal float. The notches create deep grooves in the tile adhesive. Try to keep within the lines on the wall.
- Place another board (the same size as the board your mosaic is on) on top of the mosaic. Flip the whole mosaic over. Remove the first, original board onto which the mosaic was done. The original paper, the one you drew your design on, should now be facing you (though the design is face down).
- Pick the mosaic up by the two top corners with your fingers and carefully place it in the prepared area. Press the mosaic into the tile adhesive, firstly with your hands and then with a wooden trowel. Gently smack the mosaic all over, securing it to the wall.
- Use your fingers to push each and every mosaic piece down (through the original piece of paper) so that they adhere securely to the new piece of paper. Leave to dry.
- Once the glue has dried completely, dampen the paper with water but don’t use too much – you don’t want the mosaic sliding off the wall because of too much water! However, the mosaic pieces will lift off and out of the tile adhesive if the paper is not wet enough so you need to work carefully. Gently remove the paper by peeling it off; remember not to lift the paper up at an angle but rather to peel it back on itself.
- Once all the paper is off, use a dampened metal trowel to gently smooth the mosaic – this serves to further secure it.
- Clean off as much of the excess adhesive as possible with a wet sponge or cloth. Make sure the borders are straight and lined up properly. Leave to dry and clean the walls of any mess you may have made.
- Grout the following day.
Or make a mosaic house number on a piece of tile, then attach it to a wall
- If you choose to use this method to make a mosaic house number, use a drill with a ceramic bit and make holes in each of the four corners of the tile before you apply the mosaic tiles.
- Then apply the mosaic tiles onto the wrong, absorbent side of the tile with a ready-mix tile adhesive for ceramics, leaving the holes for the bolts open.
- Leave overnight to dry completely before grouting.
Extract taken from making a mosaic by Dorothy du Plessis (Metz Press)