Questions and Answers on Mosaic Cutting
2015-04-14 11:47:54 PM

1.     How do I cut glass and glass mosaic tile?

You need a mosaic glass cutter that has two blades shaped like wheels. A regular tile nipper tends to crush most glass but can be used with certain types of vitreous glass mosaic tile.

2.     What tool do I need to cut smalti?

Mosaic glass cutter. A regular tile nipper tends to crush most glass.

3.     What tool do I need to cut glazed ceramic tile?

Tile Nipper.

4.     Can I cut glass mosaic tile with a tile nipper?

The wheeled glass cutter is better. It works like a tile nipper only it has wheel-shaped blades that allow it to cut glass cleaner instead of crushing it. 

5.     How can I cut curved shapes?

Look at any book on classical or Renaissance mosaics. They don't use curved pieces. The artists make curved shapes by putting small pieces together.

6.     How do I cut exact shapes from mosaic tile?

Glass tile can be difficult to cut in a predictable shape due to the scoring on the backsides of the tiles. That is why you should cut the tiles upside down so that you can see how the embossed ridges might be affecting your cut. (Wear safety glasses as always.)


Here's the more important information:

The pieces shouldn't be perfect squares or triangle. The irregularity ensuresa grout gap even when the tiles are pressed close together. More importantly, non-uniform squares will make the mosaic much more interesting visually than uniform squares. (Look at traditional mosaics if you doubt this.) Perfect squares make a mosaic look like it was made from a kit. A little irregularity makes a mosaic look more like hand-made art.


Tiles should never be "shaped" or custom cut. Instead, cut up about 4 or 5 tiles, and then select the piece that is closest in shape to what you need. You will find that you work faster that way with much less stress.

7.     How do I cut stone mosaic tile?

Traditionally, mosaic stone is cut with a hammer and hardie (small anvil), but many people use a tile nipper. Here's the method I use: Since the stone doesn't break that cleanly, and the cuts often mar the finish of the stone, I design my mosaic so that as few pieces as possible have to be cut. Most pieces in the design are full squares, and the few pieces I have to cut are cut with a tile nipper or small hammer and small chisel. This means you should probably buy small pieces (such as 3/8" as opposed to 9/16") to make your design. 

8.     I can't seem to cut the exact size or shape I need, what am I doing wrong?

Choosing the best piece out of 5 to 10 random pieces is much easier than trimming a single piece down to size, especially if the material being used is brittle or breaks unpredictably. Also, some tile such as vitreous glass has embossed patterns or ridges on the bottom of the tile to help the tile bond more securely to the cement, and these ridges can interfer with the blade of the cutter. If you cut these tiles, then hold them upside down as you cut so that you can see how the cutting blade is resting between or across the ridges. It also helps if you hold the tile firmly during cutting to prevent it from rotating.

9.     Can I cut tiles into 2 inch strips and glue the back of it to a mirror?

You can certainly cut them into strips, 2 rows should equal about 2 inches wide. With so many different silicones and glues on the market you should be able to find one, that can be used on glass/mirrors. The tiles have a mesh backing. Hope that helps.

10.  Do glass mosaic tiles come with edge pieces or they need to be cut to make straight edges?

You would need to cut the tile to get a straight edge. This is quite easy to do with a wet saw and a glass cutting diamond blade. 

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sun qian

posted on 2015-07-07 11:24:08 PM

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