Creative Hobbies in Portugal – Mosaics

Have you ever felt grounded in the daily groove like a bicycle trying to escape from a deep tyre rut on an unmade road? The rut of random puddles and hidden potholes sucks you in and throws you off balance. You keep pedaling but to no avail. You are the tyre stuck in the rut. You know you need to to do something to discover new friends and explore different interests but what?

What do you do all day? I ask.
‘Watch TV.’
‘Why not be creative?’ My question is met with a blank stare and/or a Mediterranean shoulder shrug.

Is anyone else interested in mosaic or stained glass projects? If you’ve never tried ‘mosaicing’ I urge you to do so. Tools,  you will need  nippers  and glass cutters   glue, tiles or broken crockery and and appropriate substrate such as wood, large tiles, bottles, vases, dishes, plant pots, glass etc. The list is endless!

I/we now have a garage full of recycled junk waiting to be adorned with pretty cut glass, recycled swimming pool tiles, mirror tiles etc etc. This is upcycling at its most creative!

I’ve also discovered various mosaic FaceBook groups where you can gleen all sorts of useful information and ask questions. There are also numerous YouTube ‘How To’ videos, and Pinterest which is a great source of ideas and free templates. So, if there is not a class near you there is plenty of help online.

Looking back… how did I catch the ‘mosaicing bug’?

Driven by the need to feed my creative spirit, a couple of years ago I registered on a four week beginner’s course for mosaics. Impatient to start, but with another month to wait, I ordered an assortment of tools, tiles, glass beads and wooden cutouts such as a gecko and square coasters from an online store. It’s just a shame enthusiasm overruled common sense and I failed to study the tile dimensions, etc. The glue and grout  I could have bought both in my local DIY shop so why order and pay delivery costs from the UK?

Unfortunately, when the box of tiles arrived, most were unusable for the projects I had in mind. Not only were most of the tiles tiny, they were of varying gauges. Anyway, I did manage to salvage enough tiles to make four coasters. The remaining tiles will be used on pots and other random projects over the coming years.

Mosaic Tile Coasters

This was my very first project.

Mosaic Tile Coasters
Mosaic Tile Coasters on hardboard base

I wonder if it was more luck than judgement that the coasters were sized to accommodate an equal number of full tiles down each side. Something I need to remember when I cut my own shapes.

Mosaic Tile Coasters
Glass tiles and mirrors cut to shape.
Mosaic Tile Coasters
Mosaic coasters

Rather than use white grout I decided on  black so it blended with the black and grey tiles and offset the little mirror tiles.

Tile Mosaic Butterfly

My next project was set by the teacher on the mosaics course. We had the choice of creating a butterfly or fish mosaic . I chose a butterfly and the finished tile now hangs in pride of place on the front terrace.

Mosaic butterfly using glass tiles
Mosaic butterfly using glass tiles

When I first started I was not inspired. This was my total output after week 1  and it looked a right dog’s dinner. Not only were the tiles uneven along the edge I had glue all over the tiles.

Mosaic Butterfly - tentative beginning
Mosaic Butterfly – tentative beginning

Motivated by the teacher I reluctantly continued  and by week four the project was ready for grouting. This time I chose blue so it blended  with the glass tiles.

Butterfly Tile - completed
Butterfly Tile – completed


Tempted? Check out YouTube for some tutorials.

Mosaic and Stained Glass SUPPLIERS who Ship to Europe

Here are a selection of Mosaic and Stained Glass Suppliers who ship outside the UK. Don’t forget – glue and grout you can source locally.

Mosaic Heaven  (Lincolnshire)

Mosaic Heaven is a family run business established since 2001. They claim to supply the best priced and quality mosaics on the market.

Creative Glass Guild (Bristol)

Creative Glass guild offers an extensive range of equipment, mosaic and stained glass plus a variety of courses.

Tempsford Stained Glass (Tempsford, Beds)

Tempsford Stained Glass claims to be the largest glass suppliers in Europe.

What creative hobbies do you enjoy to keep boredom at bay?


9 thoughts on “Creative Hobbies in Portugal – Mosaics

Add yours

  1. It’s good to find a hobby and meet like minded people.
    I like your projects, specially the butterfly tile for your terrace.
    I covered a few plant pots many years ago with bits of mirror cut in squares and they looked quite pretty in my balcony.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it is. I just hope the class continues.The morning classes have now been merged with the afternoon and it’s rather cramped. Not to worry. I’ll camp out overnight to get a seat 🙂

      Do you still make the boxes, Sami? I still have the one you made me sitting in pride of place on my dressing table.


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