For Allegheny Center for the Arts
Welcome to Creative Corner, a column written by the teachers and artists of the Allegheny Center for the Arts in Warren. The mission of the Allegheny Center for the Arts is "To provide a creative, educational hub for arts and culture that offers opportunities for the growth, development, and partnership of arts-related programs and small businesses in the region."
We are proud to bring you a regular feature about projects, fascinating art history and discussions of the important, arts-related topics of our day.
Guest author Lou Cable
We hope, through our columns, to bring the beauty and enrichment of art into your daily lives and inform readers of the many and varied opportunities for creativity offered at the Allegheny Center for the Arts and in our community.
For thousands of years, artists have been creating mosaics with a variety of objects, from pebbles to tiles. I use a very small bead variety called a "seed bead."
When people hear "seed beads," they think, "Oh, I could never work with them; it's too hard." This article will show you a way that ANYONE can use seed beads to make incredible mosaics, from beaded boxes to large pictures.
These items can be personalized, and your finished products will make great gifts, though you may be tempted to keep all of them for yourself!
How to Start
First, you need to decide what surface you want to decorate. You can use wood plaques, trays, boxes, glass or metal items, or tiles.
To begin, you may want to try wood. Wood items can be purchased very inexpensively at any arts and crafts store, and are easy to work with as they accept glue well.
Second, you need to pick a design. Your first project should be something simple with limited amounts of outlining.
Designs can be found free on the Internet. You can also look through kids' coloring books or design books at the craft store. Just remember-the simpler the better for your first design.
What You'll Need
Third, you need to buy your supplies. You will need:
1. Object or surface you are building your mosaic on
2. Your design
3. Carbon paper to transfer your design (unless you want to freehand it onto the surface)
4. A pencil (do not sharpen past a rounded point)
5. Clear-drying glue-preferably, a tacky glue like Alene's Original Tacky Glue; do not use hot glue
6. Seed beads in the colors you choose
7. Black or very dark brown (whichever matches your design best) seed beads to use to outline all of the design's lines
8. Longer, straight beads (in a matching or complementary color ) for the outer edges of your picture
9. Matching craft paint or stain for the non-seeded section of your project (*NOTE: Inexpensive wood does not always accept stain well-you may want to use paint).
10. Latex- based sealant
Creating Your Project
Now, you are ready to begin! Creating your mosaic is as easy as following these steps:
1. Attach a copy of your design, with carbon paper under it, onto your surface by using a few pieces of painter's tape on the edges (attached lightly).
2. Trace every line of the design on your picture with a pencil. DO NOT PRESS HARD.
3. Remove the design and carbon paper slowly, making sure all of the lines transferred to the surface.
4. Use a thin line of glue to attach the longer, straight beads to the outer edge of the project; allow to dry.
5. Use a thin line of glue to attach black or dark brown seed beads to outline the picture used; allow to dry.
6. Fill in each section of the design with glue and your chosen seed beads; allow to dry thoroughly.
7. Paint or stain remainder of exposed wood; allow to dry thoroughly.
8. In a well-ventilated area, spray the entire project with sealant (gloss sealant is very attractive). Let dry thoroughly before touching.
After the sealant has thoroughly dried, your project is complete. Although the sealant makes the beading and paint sturdy, it is not intended for outdoor use.
I hope you enjoyed creating your easy mosaic project- have fun making more mosaic projects for your friends and family!
Lou Cable is a retired nurse who turned her love of beading into a business. She currently teaches Acting for Youth at the Allegheny Center for the Arts' Downtown Center, located in the Watt Building at 217 Liberty Street, Warren. Her new class, Mosaic Beading, with be offered at the ACC (42 Clark Street) starting September 24. To register, call (877) 919-7971.