I used a small pair of very sharp scissors, Non-Stick Precision Tip Scissors, that I bought specifically for this purpose...and I'm glad that I did because mesh can be difficult to cut using household shears. The scissors have a razor sharp tip perfect for slicing through stubborn strands of mesh.
After about 30 minutes of cutting I realized that I was covered with a combination of invisible glass bits, fiberglass thread and dried glue. The stuff was everywhere and I felt like I had taken a roll in that Pink Panther insulation that you stick in your attic.
Yuck! Today I'll be wearing gloves and covering my clothes so that this doesn't happen again.
I wanted to give you a look at the different kinds of mosaic mesh that was sent in with the butterfly mosaics and discuss the differences that I found in each.
|© Eve Lynch|
1. I'll call this one STIFF FIBERGLASS MESH because this stuff was the most rigid of the bunch. The mosaics that were made on this didn't bend much and while it was kind of prickly on the edges, it definitely held the mosaics well. It did scrape my hands and forearms up when I was cutting it though and may have been responsible for a lot of the itching afterward.
2. This is NO DAYS MOSAIC MESH made by Streuter. The fiberglass mesh is coated with an adhesive that has to be heated in order to activate the glue. You can use either a heat gun or a home oven to activate the adhesive and set the glass pieces onto the mesh. I haven't used this myself yet but I think it would be difficult to do mosaics with very small pieces (like most of mine). Any bump or shift of the glass would cause you to have to redo everything.
3. This mesh was VERY THIN AND BRITTLE. The threads were woven in a chain link pattern rather than a grid and they were very fine, almost finer than sewing thread. They did hold the mosaic butterflies very well though so the delicate texture of the mesh is deceiving. This mesh broke into very small pieces when I trimmed it away from the mosaic work, kind of like getting a hair cut. Very itchy!
4. This is the STANDARD FIBERGLASS MESH that the majority of the mosaic donations were made on. It's fiberglass but the mesh has a softer texture and flexes easy. It was a bit trickier to cut this away from some of the glass because it has a texture (inside) that is more like cotton so the scissors were snagging on some of it. I think this is the mesh that is most commonly sold when you purchase online.
5. This is COTTON MESH. It is the consistency of a thin cotton undershirt and has a holey pattern rather than a grid pattern. There appears to be no coating on the mesh, fiberglass or otherwise. It is very flexible, it stretches and can be rolled into a ball. It was easy to cut but when you pick the mosaic up to attach it to your surface, the mosaic falls all over itself. This would be my last choice for making a mosaic because of the flexibility. It might be good for very small sections of work that need to be draped around a 3D substrate.
So that wraps up the comparison.
It's difficult to find mosaic mesh in craft stores but I would definitely shop around and look at the texture of each type before I planned a large scale project using it. The qualities of each type really do matter.
Here are some mesh resources and suppliers: