Tools for Mosaic Artists
The right tools are an important part of mosaics. There are different types of nippers that mosaic artists use for cutting their tesserae. Tile nippers and wheeled nippers are probably the most common. Tile nippers work well with unglazed ceramic tiles. Wheeled nippers work well with stained glass, vitreous glass (3/4” tiles made of glass), mirror, and several other materials as well.
Most of my experience is with wheeled nippers. I recommend Leponitt nippers as they perform the best, in my opinion. There are other types of nippers that other artists love as well, but if you are just beginning, get a good pair of Leponitts.
If you are already a stained glass artist, you probably have a leg-up on tools and your knowledge of tools. Mosaic artists don’t typically start out learning to use glass cutting tools and much less having access to them.
Always wear protective safety glasses when cutting. Shards of glass can fly and safety is very important when creating mosaics.
Another helpful tool, Skeewpicks are extremely handy when you need to clean and detail your mosaic. They get in and around tiles better than others and are easy to use and hold. Watch this video to see how Skeewpicks work.
Tile nippers are another favorite and can also cut thicker tiles. Using only part of the blade, and cutting in from the side of the tile, squeeze firmly.
For cutting large pieces of stained glass, you will need tools like your glass scorer which will make a score on the glass and then you will use a running plier to "snap" the glass apart.
Grinders are another helpful tool for getting rid of those rough edges that nippers or other cutters can leave.
A tile cutter is used by tile layers for cutting larger, thicker pieces of ceramic tiles. The lever will score the top and then when you press harder, it will break the tiles.
Other tools and supplies you probably already have and will need in time are listed below. There are probably more but this is a good start:
Sponges for spreading grout
Tweezers for small pieces hard to handle
Rags to clean grout
Buckets for mixing thinset and grout
Float for applying grout on delicate surfaces
Trowel for applying thinset in large areas