The Double Direct Method on Mesh is an advanced technique of laying mosaic tiles. It allows the artist more freedom in design and installation. It is just like doing the direct method but your tiles are adhered to fiberglass mesh instead of your substrate.
Whether you call it the double direct method or the mesh method, you will love this new technique. Once the tiling is finished, you can install it anywhere, whether it is on a tabletop, kitchen backsplash, or an outside mural. The versatility is tremendous.
You will need fiberglass mesh before you begin. It is very important to use fiberglass mesh since it takes much longer for it to deteriorate than other mesh. This is sold in square yard sections but you can find it in a continuous roll if needed. Be sure to get either the 4.3 ounce or the 6 ounce. This is simply the weight of the mesh. The 4.3 ounce is good for most glass mosaics. The 6 ounce is best used for heavier tesserae such as marble.
You will also need to have your design drawn up in the actual finished size. You can take your small version to most copy stores and they can blow it up to large scale for you. Remember that you will lose some of your detail when you increase the size.
To get started, you will need a large flat area to lay the mosaic. You might want to use a piece of plywood or even a doubled up cardboard box. It just needs to be sturdy enough to hold your mosaic if you need to move it from the table in which you are working.
Now you are going to layer and tape the following in this order. Lay your design on the surface that you chose. Cover your design with plastic wrap. Next cover the plastic wrap with fiberglass mesh. Make sure that all of this is secured to the flat surface. If this moves during your mosaic, then your design will be shifted.
Using full strength Weldbond, start adhering the tiles to your design. You don’t want to use too much glue so lightly dab the glue on the back of each piece. Follow your design that is under the mesh until you have completely covered it. Beware of cutting tiles over the mesh. You will end up with shards stuck in the grooves of the mesh and will have tiles pop off later because of poor adhesion.
Once you have finished laying the tiles, allow the piece to set overnight. Carefully flip the entire piece over and remove the plastic wrap. The glue will still be wet at this point but your tiles should stay in place. Let the glue finish drying. Trim the excess mesh from around the mosaic. If your mosaic is very large then you will need to cut it into workable pieces. If it is small enough to handle easily then you are ready to install.
Mix your thin set mortar using the latex additive according to package directions. Spread a thin layer onto your surface and trowel through until it is half the thickness of the tiles. Position the mosaic onto the thin set. Once you are sure that you have it where you want it, take a two by four and press down all of the tiles. If you have any thin set that squishes up between the tiles, use a toothpick to clean out immediately.
Allow your installed mosaic to set up overnight. Grout your finished mosaic the same way you would grout any other mosaic.