"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I
have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,
and you were not willing."
It struck Dan as a very profound verse to put at the foot of an altar and he really liked it. He began playing with the idea of recreating it on a smaller scale. He shared the idea with me and before long we were starting it. Our hope was to give it to Dan's dad as a gift. That was well and good but his parents were coming for a visit in a month's time so we had to get moving.
Initially, I was going to let Dan have this project to himself, but he convinced me to help him by calling it a "big puzzle." That was all it took to get me on board. For our first mosaic of any kind, this was quite the project we were taking on, but we were eager to tackle it and learn along the way.
- Wooden base (We used a 1" by 23.75" pine round from Home Depot)
- Pencil and ruler
- Strong adhesive glue (We used Loctite All Purpose Clear)
- Plates, ceramics, and other glass of the colors you want to use (We bought what we used at Goodwill)
- Tile nippers (from Michael's)
- A hammer
- Tile grout (We used gray)
When drawing, make the lines a little thicker to allow room for the glass to fit. Depending on the size of your mosaic you may have to compromise on the amount of detail you put into it. It you look at the drawing above verses the finished product (the first picture on this post) you will notice there are seven chicks drawn, but only five actually made. That was because when we came to those, we realized that we didn't have the room to outline all of them AND fill them in. It would not have looked like baby chicks at all. So we ended up spacing five chicks apart enough that we didn't need to outline each one and you could still tell what they were. Had we done this on a larger scale we could have kept that detail there, but not on something this small.
Feel free to draw the detail on now, though. Being able to see it sometimes help you decide what needs to stay and what you can get away with taking out. Remember, the pencil lines are going to be completely covered up so you don't have to worry about drawing lightly.
Something to think about while deciding what order to glue it all down: Is what I am currently working on in the foreground or is part of it behind another section? We glued down the chicks before the wing details because the chicks were in front of the wings. We glued the beak, crown, and eye down on the hen's head before we started on the inside. These are all things you have to take into consideration when making a mosaic with different sized and shaped pieces like this. Get the main outline placed first and then play around with placing other pieces. DO NOT GLUE UNTIL YOU ARE POSITIVE YOU WANT THE PIECES THERE!
Dan said the lettering was by far the most difficult part. The glass we were using kept shattering into pieces too small for us to use so we had to resort to different, unorthodox methods to get it to break into decent sized pieces.
This was the last picture I took before we started grouting. I did get the wings finished shortly after this picture was taken!
Because of how long it took us to get it off, the grout dried over certain pieces of glass and swallowed the shortest pieces. Over the following weeks we worked on it a little at a time, using toothpicks to gently scrape the grout off and uncover important details (especially around the lettering). On some of the larger chunks of grout we took a very small flat head screwdriver and it worked just fine.
Some of the red glass that we bought was very cheap painted glass and when we scraped the grout off the paint came right off with it. A friend of ours made a comment in joke saying that we should take nail polish to it. We didn't take it as a joke and decided to give it a try. It worked surprisingly well and it is near impossible to tell which ones were painted and which weren't.