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Interested in becoming a NO Days Featured Artist?

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Creating Faux Gold Leaf Mosaics with glueFOIL

Creating Faux Gold Leaf Mosaics with glueFOIL

Using glueFOIL from Strueter Technologies with clear textured stained glass is a great way to add sparkle to your mosaic and is much less expensive than using dichroic or specialty glasses.

wooden Butterfly plaque -available from various online sites or at your local craft store
GlueFoil in assorted colors
No Days Mosaic Adhesive Film
Scrap Clear Stained Glass in a Variety of Textures available at your local stained glass studio
Stamping Pad or marker
sanded grout
rubber gloves
paper for pattern making
(optional: graphite paper)

standard heat gun or embossing tool
scissors or razor blade
cutting mat
heat proof work surface

GlueFoil is a thin foil product that is easy to cut to shape, emboss and glue to a variety of substrates, making it perfect to add a little or a lot of sparkle to a mosaic project with ease.

This project uses No Days Mosaic Adhesive, glueFOIL, a wooden butterfly plaque, clear textured stained glass scrap, a stamping pad or permanent marker, and sanded grout.

Begin by creating a design for your plaque.

It’s not necessary to have an exact pattern. You can simply lay out tiles in a random manner and put together the pieces like a puzzle. However, for this butterfly, I searched for images on the Internet and then sketched out a design.  You can create a template on paper by tracing around the plaque and sketching on the paper.  

Once you’re happy with how the pattern looks, you can quickly transfer the design to your plaque using graphite paper. It’s not necessary, but can be a helpful guide if you’ve got an intricate design.

Decide where you want to place the different glueFOIL colors & using a pen, trace the pattern to emboss the cutting line on the glueFOIL. You can get as fancy as you want with the glueFOIL pattern, or just randomly cover the plaque. To adhere the glueFOIL, use a heat gun, embossing tool, or craft iron.

To heat with a heat gun, use a heat resistant tool (like a screwdriver or tweezers) to hold the glueFOIL in place until the adhesive on the back side of the glueFOIL has liquified. Then, press on the edges of the glueFOIL to adhere.

To add depth and interest to the piece, you can use a marker to make lines on the glueFOIL, or the textured glass. If you’ve got a stamping pad, it’s easy to quickly mark all the textured pieces by pressing them into the ink. For the butterfly pattern, I tried to use textures that resembled the veins and feathering of butterfly wings.

After you’ve cut, ground and marked all your glass pieces, you’re ready to glue them to the plaque. Take a piece of No Days Mosaic Adhesive and place it under the plaque. Either use a pen to trace around the plaque, then cut the No Days Mosaic Adhesive with scissors, or place the plaque and adhesive on a cutting mat and trace around the plaque with a razor.

Add the adhesive on top of the glueFOIL layer on the plaque and begin to place your mosaic tiles. Don’t worry about getting too exact while you’re placing the pieces, as you can always position and reposition the pieces while heating to adhere.

Holding a heat gun about 8-10 inches above the piece, begin to heat on low, making sure that you’re working on a heat resistant surface. If you hold the heat gun too close to your mosaic, the force of the air can tend to blow away smaller pieces. By starting to heat from further away, you can gradually heat the adhesive and glass, allowing the adhesive to begin melting and preventing thermal shock of any large glass tiles.

As you’re heating, you’ll notice that the adhesive begins to turn glossy as it liquifies. The adhesive that is exposed will begin to melt first, but you need to keep heating, so that you transfer the heat through the glass tiles and thoroughly adhere the glue to the plaque and the tiles. As you’re heating, it’s helpful to have a tool handy to press on the tiles.

When using highly textured glass, you may need to add two or three layers of adhesive to fill the air pockets, which can obscure the glueFOIL unless there’s enough adhesive to fill the gaps completely.

If you adhere a piece and decide that it needs more adhesive, simply reheat the piece to pop it off and add one or more layers of No Days Mosaic Adhesive. Then, reheat to set the piece in place.

If you heat for too long in one spot, the tiles can begin to slide around. Let the adhesive cool a bit and move the tiles back into place. If a piece sets and is out of place, simply reheat the tile and move it into position. The more you work with the adhesive, the easier it becomes to know when you’ve heated sufficiently.

It only takes a few minutes for the tiles to cool down and the adhesive to set. Then, you’re ready grout!

I’ve masked off the edges of the plaque with painter’s tape to keep them clean while I grout. Add a handful or two of sanded grout to a cup. Add just a touch of water, and mix using a gloved hand. You want to mix the grout to the consistency of wet sand, that holds together when you ball it up.

The grout I’ve mixed here is a bit wetter than I normally use, but will work perfect for sticking to the edges of the plaque. After pushing the grout into all the crevices, and pulling the grout over the edges, you can polish it up. If the grout was a bit wet, you can sprinkle a bit of dry grout on to help wick off the moisture. Let the grout sit for a few minutes before gently polishing with a paper towel. After the grout has cured, and you’ve removed the tape you can finish the edges of the plaque by painting or you can add a bit of extra sparkle by cutting strips of glueFOIL and heat setting it in place. If you have difficulty getting the glueFOIL to adhere, add a layer of No Days Mosaic Adhesive. It’s easiest to tack the strip of glueFOIL in place with a little tape and then heat, removing the tape after the piece has cooled. If there’s any tape residue on the edges, you can rub it off with a little alcohol or vegetable oil.

The plaque is now ready to hang!

For more project ideas and instructional videos, visit
For help with questions, email

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