Mosaic and Ceramic Sundial Assembly Methods
Including Etched Glass, Plastic, Mosaic and Ceramic Sundials
By John L. Carmichael (author) and Dave Bell (webmaster)
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Website last updated 11 April, 2009

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Design & Construction/
Mosaic and Ceramic Sundial Assembly Methods
Window Design and Assembly Steps
Window Location
Designing the Sundial Face Pattern
Gnomon Types
Gnomon Design and Attachment
Sundial Pattern Testing
Materials and Tools
Glass Painting
Glass Joining Techniques
Mosaic and Ceramic Sundial Assembly Methods
Glossaries for Sundials and Stained Glass

Mosaic sundials are not transparent windows and look more like traditional sundials and are a little easier to make than leaded windows. They have stained glass or ceramic pieces bonded to a hard flat surface such as concrete or stone or masonry. The gaps between each piece are filled with grout or cement. You can make them for just about any location or surface, but they would be most practical if located horizontally on the ground or on a table top or a pedestal, or vertically on an exterior wall. Most stained glass shops also carry mosaic supplies and offer courses in mosaic assembly. There are two different methods for making mosaics: the Glue and Grout Method (also known as the Direct Method) and the Poured Cement Method. You can obtain very different looks depending on which method you use. One of the best websites for more mosaic information is at: The Joy of Shards. Also good are these "How to" articles by Inland: Making Mosaics: The Indirect Method and Making Mosaics: The Direct Method

The Glue & Grout Method

This method is simpler than the poured concrete method and can even be done on curved surfaces. Here are the basic assembly steps:
  1. Prepare your sundial pattern just as you would for a stained glass sundial window.
  2. Transfer pattern to the surface of the object that you want to mosaic. (a wall, a board, the floor, etc.) using carbon paper tracings.
  3. Cut glass or ceramic pieces to match pattern.
  4. Glue pieces on to the surface of the object.
  5. Fill in background spaces with other glass or ceramic pieces if necessary.
  6. Apply grout to gaps between the pieces.
  7. Remove excess grout and buff surface clean.

The Poured Concrete Method

This method requires a mold in addition to the usual glass tools and uses concrete instead of glue and grout. Poured concrete mosaics are usually seen as stepping stones but also make nice horizontal table top or pedestal sundials. Very large pieces may require reinforcing steel rebar. Here are the basic assembly steps:
  1. Prepare your sundial pattern just as you would for a stained glass sundial window.
  2. Make or purchase a mold for your project.
  3. Cut pattern with mosaic shears.
  4. Cut and shape glass or ceramic pieces.
  5. Lay glass pieces on pattern and cover them with a sheet of sticky adhesive mosaic mount.
  6. Coat inside bottom of mold with a product called "release" so mosaic mount won't stick to the mold.
  7. Lay mosaic mount in mold with glass facing up.
  8. Place reinforcing steel rebar in mold if necessary.
  9. Mix and pour cement into mold on top of glass and mosaic mount.
  10. Let dry one hour and remove from mold.

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