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Eco-Art Crafts Made by You


Mosaic Mirror

It bothers me when a photograph doesn't turn out well. I hate to throw them away. But I hadn't figured out what to do with either the bad pictures or the bits of photographs that are left over when you trim them down. I discovered a solution while at a bookstore, thumbing through Susie Johns Photo Craft. Johns comes up with 50 creative ideas for using photographs. One of them--colorful mirror frames from mosaic "photo tiles"--uses useless photographs and remnants. Using this technique, you could also cover wood box lids or create greeting cards.

Photo Craft The book publisher, Watson-Guptill, has given us permission to use the directions and photographs (we've adapted the directions) from Susie Johns book, Photo Craft: 50 Creative Ideas for Using Photographs (1997).

What You Need

  • One 4" x 6" un-mounted mirror
  • A 8" x 10" piece of mounting board
  • Lightweight cardboard
  • For mounting the mirror: either an inexpensive 8" x 10" frame (without glass) --flea market finds are perfect for this -- or two adhesive-backed picture hooks
  • White glue
  • Xacto, or crafts knife
  • Steel ruler
  • Piece of Kraft wrapping paper larger than 8" x 10" or the overall size of your design (optional)

What You Do

Your finished mirror will be surrounded by a mosaic "picture tile" border. You may double frame the mirror by inserting the finished mosaic mirror into a store-bought frame.

Paste your unused photographs or photo snippets on lightweight cardboard and then cut the cardboard into small pieces (about 1/2"-3/4" large), using a craft knife and a steel ruler. The pieces should be more or less the same size. It doesn't matter if they differ slightly in shape as it adds to the overall effect.

You now have your own mosaic tiles, which can be arranged in a similar way to the traditional glass, marble and tile mosaic designs. Before starting, sort mosaics into groups of similar patterns and colors.

If you want to experiment with your design before gluing it down, draw your mirror's dimensions on the wrapping paper and use the paper to plan your layout. The mirror shown in these photos has borders on the inside and outside of the mirror and a random pattern in-between. But you might want to experiment--perhaps use initials, a pattern of squares and rectangles, or a checkerboard design.

Creating A Mosaic Tile Design

1. Stick the mirror in the center of the mounting board, using white glue. Work with one-half of the border at a time. Cover a long side and a short side, including the mirror edge, with a thick layer of white glue, spreading it evenly with a scrap of cardboard.

2. Create your mosaic border by sticking tiles in place, working quickly, before the glue dries. If the glue dries out, add another layer of glue on top. Position pieces on the glued portion, including the edge of the mirror. Do the same to the remaining sections of the border.

3. Fill in any spaces with the remaining tiles, trimming them where necessary for a good fit. Let dry.

4. Insert the finished mosaic mirror in a ready-made frame or glue two adhesive-backed picture hooks onto the back of the mirror.

See what you've missed

If you've enjoyed this project, don't miss our crafts archive with projects including:

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