School Mosaics & Community Mosaics

with Joshua Winer, Artist and Teacher

About Grout

Grout is a cement like paste that is used to fill in the spaces between the tiles. This is the last step, done after the mosaic work is finished. Grouting is a satisfying activity for people of all ages, and a great group activity as well. The grout is applied with spatulas, then removed with sponges. The last step is polishing off the haze with paper towels.
Three Colors of Grout
for a Blended Background

Grouting the mosaic accomplishes several important tasks at once. Grout fills the joints, strengthening and stabilizing the mosaic. Grout consolidates the image. Grout removal polishes off leftover cement, leaving the tiles clean and bright.
Grouting is Fun!

Making mosaics offers a wide range of hands-on work, and grouting is the grand finale of the whole process. Applying the grout paste is tactile and satisfying. Removing the paste and polishing the tile reveals the sparkling beauty of the finished artwork. Grout work always leads to lots of smiles!
Colored Grout

Our mosaic murals have hundreds of different colors, many of which are very bright and saturated. The colors are made by tinting white grout with permanent artists’ acrylic pigments. Here you see grass green grout n the background tile blending into a blue sky grout. The glass beads in the turtle’s shell glow against the natural green grout color.
Applying Grout

Grout is applied onto the surface of the mosaic with a spatula, then worked into the cracks. Here you can see green and blue grout applied around the glazed ceramic tile tree leaves and sky. The grout goes through a chemical change, transforming from workable paste into colored limestone rock. As the paste cures, the grout is shaped and smoothed with a sponge.

Polishing the tile with paper towels is the final step. This removes surface haze and reveals the full beauty of the finished mosaic. In this photo, you can see the brown grout of the branches clearly contrasting with the blue grout of the sky.
Contrasting Colors

Colored grout can be used in two distinctly different ways. When two colors meet, the colors can be separated by using masking tape to hold each color into its tile area. Alternately, grout colors can be seamlessly blended through the technique of sponging one wet color into the next color area.
The Finished Mosaic

This picture shows the top of the Eagle Hill School Cultural Center’s mosaic mural, called ‘Aspire’. The forest canopy glows with golden backlight above the cool blues and greens of the forest floor. This effect results from the interplay of glazed ceramic tile (which provides the richly detailed texture of the leaves and branches of the forest) and the colored grout, which seems to emanate from behind.