Thursday, April 8, 2010

How to Make a Foam Base for a Mosaic Sculpture

A mosaic sculpture is a three-dimensional form of artwork consisting of pieces of broken glass, pottery or ceramic tiles applied to a base using special mosaic grout. They're popular because their sporadic application makes them an easy and practically error-free project. Mosaic sculptures can be made on a variety of surfaces, but they're commonly made with floral craft foam bases supported by three angled legs. They're easy to create with a little knowledge and preparation.


1. Sketch the skeleton of your intended mosaic sculpture. This is what you will work from as you prepare your foam base. This does not need to be an exact or detailed image of what your sculpture will look like, but only a generalization of the overall shape.

2. Carve the base into the desired shape using your sketch as a guide. Floral craft foam is dense enough to support a mosaic sculpture and also easy to carve into custom shapes. Use a utility knife to carve out your sculpture's basic shape. Remove sections of foam slowly. You can always remove more later, but you can't put it back on.

3. Create a way for your foam base to stand on its own. The easiest way to do this is to carve the bottom of the foam so it sits flat; however, this is not necessarily the most visually appealing way to stand up your sculpture.

4. Create supports. If you are not pleased with simply making a flat bottom to your foam base, try creating a supported base. Cut a dowel rod into three equal lengths that correspond to the length you'd like your supports to be. Add 3 inches to the length to compensate for inserting the rods into your foam base. Poke each rod into the base about 3 inches deep, forming a tripod. Remove the rod and fill the hole created with hot glue. Quickly reinsert your rod. This will create a stable, elevated base for you sculpture.

5. Use a wire brush to gently rough the surface of your foam base. This helps give the mosaic tile grout more of a porous surface to grab on to. You do not want to remove large pieces of the surface foam. You just want to scuff it up some. You are now ready to begin adding the mosaic surface to your sculpture.

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