I was on a trip in Las Vegas walking around a casino when I was stopped in my tracks. Before me was this beautiful mosaic and I just stared and marveled at this wonderful artistic work.

That’s when I decided to learn how to do mosaics and, lucky for me, there’s a mosaic school in Oakland I could take some classes from.

The first intro class was creating a mosaic stepping-stone and after that class, the love affair with mosaics began. It’s a great first project and there’s no wrong way to do it. They can be a summer craft to make with your kids or grandkids or beautiful garden art. If you enjoy it, there’s a whole world out there to mosaic, such as birdbaths, benches, garden pots and more! 

DIY mosaic stepping-stone instructions

Step 1: Pick out a cement stepping-stone. Usually, they come in round or square shapes.

Step 2: Choose your design. There are hundreds of ideas if you surf around the internet looking at mosaic stepping-stones. Simple shapes of flowers, fruits, animals or geometric shapes are best to start out with.

Step 3: Sketch out design on the stepping-stone.

Step 4: Choose your materials. Colorful tiles, glass beads, millefiori, small stones and stained glass and found items like buttons, keys, etc. can be used.

Step 5: Lay in your materials. Put your larger pieces on first, then use your tile nippers to cut smaller pieces to fit in the spaces. A tile stone can be used to smooth rough edges. For cleaner-looking projects, keep your tile edges straight and parallel to each other.

Step 6: Adhere the pieces. Mix up thin-set mortar in a bucket, according to instructions. The consistency should look like peanut butter. This can turn into a messy proposition with small pieces. A convenient way to apply is to put your thin set into a freezer Ziploc bag, seal it and cut a small corner tip off. Way cleaner. Pick up each piece, apply thin set and put back into place. Clean the bucket.

Step 7: After thin set has fully dried, apply grout. This, too, is mixed up like the thin set to the same consistency in a bucket. Use a moist grouting sponge to scoop up grout and smear over tiles, getting into all the nooks. Once fully covered, use a clean sponge and water bucket to wipe off excess grout. A thin coat of grout will start drying with white film. Once dry, use paper towels to buff project clean and a toothbrush at this point can be a nice cleanup tool. Use plastic gloves if you don’t want your hands to feel like sandpaper.

Materials needed

From home improvement stores:

• Cement stepping-stone

• Thin-set mortar

• Grout • Neutral colors, colored grouts found online

• Tile nippers

• Tile stone

• 2 buckets, one for grout and thin set, one for water

• 2 grouting sponges – one for grouting and one for cleaning off (the yellow polyurethane kind)

• Plastic gloves

From hobby stores:

• Colorful tiles, glass beads, millefiori or stained glass pieces, whatever you like

Additional items:

• Freezer Ziploc bag (optional)

• Paper towels

• Toothbrush (optional)

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