February 11, 2009

Grouting - the "no looking back" stage...

At each stage of my work I can take a step back and think whether I want to correct some part of my mosaic piece. But once I grout there's no turning back. From the moment I choose the color of my grout, mix it with water and apply it on my work I know that whatever I do at that moment it is final. I have some friends who choose no to grout their work. For me this is not an option. My mosaic needs to be grouted. The materials I usually use and the way I lay my tiles makes the work look unfinished if it is not grouted. The only materials I won't grout are marble and Smalti.

I had many disappointments but lately I figured out a method that works for me:

1. I use light grey grout. It is light enough to be stained later if needed and not too light to make the work look somehow broken.
2. Using a rubber kidney (It's potters tools) I spread the grout. The rubber kidney is so flexible but yet had one straight edge and I find it just the right tool.
3. I clean the work immediately without waiting for the grout to settle down. first with paper towels, then with a wet sponge and finally with a window cleaning detergent.
4. Now the work is totally clean, the glass is shining but the grout is still wet. So this is the right time to decide if I want to change its color. I use inks to stain it. The ink is absorbed completely in the grout and doesn't leave fogy stains on the glass.
The photos above are of my latest work Beautiful Woman. You can see it in my website: http://www.iritlevy.com/ or on my Flickr account: http://flickr.com/photos/irit-levy/sets/72157613314288592/


  1. Thanks for sharing Irit! I'm curious about what kind of ink you use to apply to the grout and how you apply it. Do you have to be careful not to get it on the glass?

  2. Hi floweringmoon,

    I used regular inks that you can find in any good shop for art supplies.
    I put some ink on a plate and add just a little water with a wet brush and I cover the WHOLE area. No need to avoid covering the glass. Once you are done painting the ink son;t wait for it to dry, clean in immediately with a cloth because otherwise it might be impossible to clean the ink from the little pores in the glass.
    When you clean it with the cloth make sure not to "pull" some ink into the areas you don;t want to paint.

  3. Thanks Irit! BTW......all of your work is absolutely gorgeous :)