Mosaic Tile Mesh is 38.5 inches wide and sold by the foot in one continuous UNCUT piece. The mesh is made from woven fiberglass and is the same material factories use for pre-mounting ceramic tile for rapid installation in walls, floors and backsplashes. Artists use it in much the same way: Sit at your table and glue your tiles to the mesh, allow the design to dry, then mount the whole sheet to the wall. Most people cut the mesh into 1 ft x 1 ft piece and work in sections. Note that using mesh is easier than trying to glue or cement one tile at a time to a wall because it allows you to work at your work table, but there is no reason to use mesh if all you are making is a small mosaic on a piece or plywood or stone that can be placed on the work table. You would glue or cement the tile directly to these surfaces.
How to Use Mosaic Tile Mesh
Use a white PVA adhesive such as Weldbond to attach tiles to the mesh.
To avoid gluing your mesh to your work table, you should use a plastic table or cover the tray in plastic. The easiest way to do that is to take a piece of cardboard of thin plywood and wrap it in plastic kitchen wrap such as Saran Wrap.
Outdoor and Wet Installation
If you will be installing the mosaic outdoors or in a wet location, avoid covering the bottom of the tile with glue, leave some tile bare to bond directly to the thinset mortar that is used to mount mosaics in wet locations. Be careful not to get glue up the sides of the tile. If adhesive isn't covered with grout, then water can wick underneath the grout over time and cause tiles to pop off. You should inspect the sheet of excess glue by misting it before it is installed. Any traces of
glue on the sides and faces of the tile will start to turn white after a few minutes of being misted with water. Use a knife to scrape away any glue residues you see coming up the sides of the tile to the top.
Working Size and Sections
Mesh covered with tile can be heavy and unwieldy when being mounted to a wall. Never try to vertically mount a mesh mosaic larger than 2 foot x 2 foot. Ideally, you should work in 1 foot x 1 foot sections. Floor medallions 3 foot x 3 foot are sometimes made on one piece of mesh, but working horizontally still requires that a mosaic that large be carried on plywood and carefully slid into place.
To mount mesh sheets of mosaic to your surface, thinset mortar or adhesive should be spread on the surface with 1/4-inch notched trowel. We "butter" the bottom of the sheet with a little bit of the same adhesive in a thin coat before pressing the sheet into place. Make sure you allow the thinset or adhesive to cure for at least 24 hours before attempting to grout because grouting is a physical process that can easily knock tiles loose from uncured mounting.
The mesh is not used with tiles 3/8-inch or smaller because the holes in the mesh and the ridges on the bottoms of most glass tile make it difficult for small tile to sit level. For small tiles, you should use mounting paper to temporarily FACE-mount the tiles upside down. The product description for our mounting paper explains how this is done.
Use in Concrete Sculpture
The fiberglass mesh can also be used with other materials to make concrete sculptures for covering in mosaic.
For more advice on designing your mosaic project or cutting and grouting tile, please see our
Mosaic Frequently Asked Questions
or our List of How-to-Mosaic Pages, which are described by topic.