I came across this idea a few years back and really loved how it looked, so I thought I’d share it with y’all today. It’s a paper mosaic style project – you use paper for the tiles and some texture paste to make the background look like grout.
Sadly, I have no picture of the finished project; only the close-up. It was the cover of a journal that was kinda old, and the original artwork had faded from use and age, and I decided it needed some type of fancy refinishing job. A paper mosaic project was perfect for a cover up – it’s relatively flat and pretty durable; ideal for a well-loved book 🙂
So, that is what I’ll use as an example as I explain how building a paper mosaic works.
To start, tape off the spine of the book so you will have a nice clean line and a defined place to work in. Paint the cover with gesso, and let it dry. While you are waiting, cut up bits of paper for your ’tiles.’ They don’t have to be any particular shape, but they do need clean edges; punched squares, cut triangles and even circles all work fine:
(This is a wooden cross I did for a school fundraising auction awhile back. All the students contributed 3 ’tiles’ with small designs to the project, and I added little square snippets of quilling paper to outline their artwork.)
Once the gesso is dry on your project, smear texture paste all over the cover. No need to be overly careful at this point – just keep it slightly smooth so you can lay the paper on it. You need the gesso down first because texture paste isn’t completely opaque. It helps with hiding any places that the paste may be a little uneven.
Next is the fun part: after the paste is dry, grab some Mod Podge or other decoupage-like medium and give your project a light coat. Start laying down your paper pieces while the medal is still tacky.
You may gently press them in if you like, but be careful not to make the paste squish up over the sides; the paste and the pieces should appear flush.
Once you have all the pieces in place, let it dry. Apply another coat of decoupage medium over the entire thing. Again, don’t worry about the finish at this point – you just want to make sure your pieces are going to stay put. Let everything dry.
The last step is the tedious one, but it’s what makes this look so good. The secret weapon?
You are going to carefully cover each of your paper pieces with Glossy Accents, avoiding the ‘grout’ in between them. This is why I said about having clean edges on your paper ’tiles.’ The surface tension is what keeps the Glossy Accents from spilling over, and it makes your paper pieces appear like glass or enamel. Once you’re done, wait for it all to dry and carefully peel off your tape edge.
This is so much fun to do, and it will work on many porous surfaces, or even lightly sanded surfaces (think: DIY lamp bases!). I hope you will give it a try!
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