The Double Direct on Mesh method is an advanced tiling technique. It allows the artist more freedom in design and installation. It’s like doing the direct method, but the tiles adhere to a fiberglass mesh instead of to its substrate.
Whether you call it direct double method or mesh method, you will love this new technique. Once the mosaic is finished, you can install it anywhere, whether it’s on a tabletop, a kitchen backsplash, or an outdoor mural. The versatility is tremendous.
You will need a fiberglass mesh before you begin. It is very important to use fiberglass mesh as it takes much longer to deteriorate than other meshes. This is sold in square yard sections, but you can find it in a continuous roll if needed. Make sure you get 4.3 ounces or 6 ounces. This is simply the weight of the mesh. 4.3 ounces is good for most glass mosaics. The 6 ounces is best used for heavier tiles like marble.
You will also need your design to be written in the actual final size. You can take your small version to most copy stores and they can blow it up on a large scale for you. Remember that you will lose some of your details when you increase the size.
To get started, you will need a large flat area to lay the tile. You may want to use a piece of plywood or even a folded cardboard box. It only needs to be sturdy enough to hold your mosaic if you need to move it from the table you are working on.
Now you are going to layer and paste the following in this order. Place your design on the surface of your choice. Cover your design with plastic wrap. Then cover the plastic wrap with fiberglass mesh. Make sure all of this is secured to the flat surface. If this moves during your mosaic, then your design will change.
With full strength Weldbond, start bonding tiles to your design. You don’t want to use too much glue, so lightly rub the glue on the back of each piece. Follow your design that is under the mesh until you have completely covered it. Be careful cutting tiles on the mesh. You’ll end up with shards stuck in the mesh grooves and the tiles will come off later due to poor adhesion.
Once you’ve finished laying the tiles, let the piece set overnight. Gently turn the entire piece over and remove the plastic wrap. The glue will still be wet at this point, but the tiles should stay in place. Let the glue finish drying. Trim the excess mesh around the mosaic. If your mosaic is very large, 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 with the latex additive according to the directions on the package. Spread a thin layer on your surface and trowel until it is half the thickness of the tiles. Lay the mosaic on the thin set. Once you’re sure you have it where you want it, grab a two-by-four and press down on all the tiles. If you have a thin layer that is squashed between the tiles, use a toothpick to clean immediately.
Let your installed tile set overnight. Rinse your finished mosaic the same way you would any other mosaic.