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Substrate Surface Preparations Tips

Wood Surfaces/MDF-  Prime wood on both sides prior to attaching mosaic materials. Use a spray primer or paint on a light coat of paint primer. Spray primer comes in many colors so try and match your mosaic design. Use in a well vented area.
Terra  Cotta- Seal with Clay Pot Sealer made by Plaid and sold at craft stores. Just spray your terracotta pots and planters with this sealer and you'll prevent water seepage. You can also use a stone sealer. Buy the cheapest stone sealer and that will do the same as the spray. Bonus: sealing your pots will make them last longer.
How to Seal Your Terracotta Pots
1. Always follow instructions on the containers and use in well ventilated areas
.2. Start with clean dry pots
3. Use a clean dry brush and cover the inside, outside and bottom of the pot. You will see the pot suck up the sealant. I make sure to coat the bottom of the inside as well since gravity makes water sit in this area.
4. Cover every square inch for best results. Let dry for a few hours.
Ceramic-   Rough up shiny outer top coat on ceramics so mosaic materials adhere better. Use sandpaper or a wire brush to scuff it up.
Cement and Thick Resin- Make sure the surface is clean. No special preparations are needed before attaching mosaic materials. You can use thinset in place of glue to attach pieces to cement if desired.
Plastic- Generally not a good surface to use, plastic can become brittle and break as it gets old.
Glass-  Clean surface prior to gluing on mosaic pieces.
Metal- I do not recommend metal for outdoor projects but it will work with proper preparation.  You will need to rough up surface with sandpaper before adhering mosaic pieces.
Wedi Board, Cement Board, Foam Board ( insulation)-The edges need to be prepared using a mesh and thinset if the piece will not be framed.  Hanging devices also need to be attached prior to starting your mosaic piece. Foam Board needs to be covered with mesh and thinset prior to adhering mosaic pieces.

​I am not an expert in the perfect preparations for all types of materials but I have tried all of the above with success personally and in my classes.