Scoring and Cutting Glass

Some people complain about glass chipping when they score and break it. I was having a conversation recently with a person who has been involved in glass all his working life (and he is of similar vintage to me). His advice was:

  1. Don’t score too hard. Sometimes the score-line may almost be invisible. As glass is considered an amorphous liquid, all you are trying to achieve is a break of the surface tension.
  2. If the glass has texture, always score on the flat side.
  3. If the glass has a film treatment (mirror, dichroic etc.), score on the untreated side.

I also know that many people struggled with tidying up edges of shapes they cut. Not everyone has a grinder. Some people are limited for space (tell me about it), or just HATE power tools…
Have a look at this little video from Delphi Glass. It is a great demonstrating on how to use a variety of hand tools. Until I saw this, I had no success at all using grozers. Now I use them often.

Then, when you have your shape and are pretty happy with it, use the Diamond Hand pads we sell to smooth off the edges. As Sonja Butcher demonstrates, they are invaluable.
NOTE: This link will open in Facebook.

Your Accounts on the Web-Site

I never realised that some of you don’t like to log into your account on the web-site.

Maybe you can’t remember your passwords (I know that’s easy enough to do), or don’t know where to get them when they are sent out on creation (they come via email – and if you can’t find it, look in your “Junk” folder), or you are worried about leaving your details on a site.

So, let me explain a few things. And yes, I do have a fair idea of what I’m talking about – I work in IT.

  • You don’t need to create an account or login. This just means that you may have to re-enter your details each time you buy (depending on your settings, your browser may retain your details), and you won’t accrue loyalty points which give you a discount.
  • As soon as you purchase, I have your address, phone number and email. I have to retain these records for a period by law.
  • I do NOT retain your bank details – I never see them – they are handled by square (for credit card payments) or by your paypal account.
  • You won’t get spammed. I have a lot of security features built into my site, and whilst I do mail-out newsletters, I don’t spam mail you, or provide my customer listings to anyone else.
  • I cannot see your password, so I can’t log onto your account. This is one reason why it is very difficult for me to take orders over the phone, or via email (apart from the fact that, with a full-time job as well, my life is pretty hectic).

It is helpful for me to get feedback on the way the site works. I know it so well, and know how to use it, as I designed it.It is always helpful to see it through other’s eyes. I will never forget the first piece of feedback I got – the site looked great (I thought), but someone commented that there were too many key-clicks to actually get into the product and order. So I changed it.I do listen – so if something gives you the irrits – let me know! I may not be aware of it.

Have a lovely day all – Ali

Time Poor? Mega-Mix Packs may be just the thing.

We have introduced Mega-Mix packs. Do you have a favourite colour, but can’t decide which products to buy? Don’t have the time to sit down and decide which ones to get!. or perhaps you’re on a budget and can’t say no (I know that one only too well).

We’ve introduced Mega-Mix packs – in three sizes:

  • A = $25 worth of product
  • B = $50 worth of product
  • C = $100 worth of product

We have selected a variety of products to pop into each pack. You might get some beads, some micro-tiles, or even some glasstix in your packs.

Initially, we will be offering up colour packs: Red, Blue, Green, yellow, white, black, purple, pink, teal/turquoise….

We have plans for different packs based on themes and colour-combinations… Stay tuned

Adhesives and Tools

I am really proud of the wonderful range of adhesives and tools we now have to offer our clients.

We proudly brought the No Days range of Adhesives to Australia, and offer the straight adhesive film, as well as groutless adhesive in black, pewter and clear. We also have the wonderful No Days Heat activated mesh available. Please check out the great product review by Peter Twining of Treasury Road on YouTube.

Some have queried if the products can be used outside. Well, yes they can! I have made pavers that have been in the Canberra winter with no issues, and the American wholesaler has even used the Groutless film to make a bird-bath. The only proviso here is that the Pewter and Black films may fade over time in direct sun, but their adhesive integrity is maintained. See below for a blog post from 2013 relating to using them in a bird-bath…

We are also thrilled to add the Australian-made Prep Multi-Use Adhesive to our range. This is Australia’s answer to MAC glue. It has been around for 20 years, and is used by tilers. It is quite liquid, but unlike PVA glues (such as Weldbond), won’t re-liquefy once cured, so is suitable for outside use. (TIP: to clean it off any tile fronts, just moisten with acetone – nail-polish remover).

Our range of tools may be only small, but they are very handy: mosaic picks, flexible grouting bowls, grout spreaders and Toyo flexible headed glass cutters (oil-filled). All very handy products that I use whenever I mosaic.

NOTE: I use ALL these adhesives and tools. I also try to sample as many of the products as I can, but my time is limited….

Have a look at our range here:


Fish – August 2020

Look at this lovely piece by Jo Osborne – featuring our mother-of-pearl fish-scale tiles. Beautiful work, Jo!

Half-price Shipping to Victoria

Now that restrictions have lifted, postage charges will be back to normal….

To support all our loyal customers in Victoria during this period of lock-down, and its isolating consequences, we are offering half-price shipping to Victoria.

Stay safe, and know that we are thinking of you….


Mosaic Jewellery

I have become quite enamored of Mosaic Jewellery. My biggest hurdle so far is finding bezels that I like! I am going to go down the path of finding a silversmith who could make some for me (that I may be able to on-sell).

However, I have made a couple of small pendants, and have ideas for many more. For now, I am using commerically available bezels, and will have a number up on my site soon

The Sea Stars pendant sold even before it was complete, but the 2nd one (Precious) is for me.

We now accept Visa and Mastercard

It occurred to me that, with Victoria in lock-down, and the possibility of that extending to other states, that we should become as flexible as possible regarding payments. I know not everyone is comfortable with internet banking, nor does everyone have a PayPal account.

So, Merlin Mosaica now accepts credit card payments. When you check-out, the payment is authorised from your card. Once I double check stock, and shipping options, and start to process the order, the funds are captured from your account.


Just a quick post to let you all know that Merlin Mosaica is now a member of the Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand.

You may wonder why I’ve chosen to do this? Well, I am involved in mosaics, not for the short-term, but for the long-term: as both an artist/practitioner, and a supplier.

For my artistic growth, I see MAANZ membership as a way to forge links with some wonderful artists in our region – we are not just an outlier draging along on the coat-tails of other regions, but do have some wonderful local artists who are internationally recognised – Marian Shapiro and Erin Pankratz spring to mind. I will in time, explore a mentorship when things settle down a bit further.

As a supplier, I am keen to offer resources to my customer community – educational, information relating to exhibtions, and anything else of value that springs to mind.

Tints, Shades, Hues: – Colour Theory for Mosaics

In colour theory, there are many terms that are often not understood and can add confusion.

  • A hue is a general term that simply means colour.
  • tint is a mixture of a colour added to white.
  • shade is a mixture of colour with black added.
  • tone is produced by mixing a colour with grey (in effect adding both black and white). 

Mixing a colour with any neutral (black, gray, or white) reduces it’s saturation (or value), but the hue remains unchanged.

In painting, the artist can mix their own colours, so an understanding of these terms is very important. In mosaics, we are unable to change the colour of our materials (the one exception is grout), so tinting, shading and toning have to be achieved by tricking the eye. Because of this, many starting out in mosaics ignore these subtleties, which can result in works lacking in depth.

Another problem that mosaicists often come across is that, although a work may contain different hues (for example red, blue and green), when it is grouted, the subject matter loses definition, and is hard to see. This is usually because all the colours have the same value.

An easy way to check this, before grouting, is to take a photo of the work, and convert to black and white. If the image still shows up, then all’s well. If not, consider swapping out some of the colours for their tints or shades, or highlightiing the key subject in a contrasting grout.

When considering the colours to use in a compostion, one usually first choses a core colour – which is the main, or dominant colour in the work.

Thought should be given to the accent colours as the scheme selected can impact the dynamism and energy of the final piece. Accent colours are the secondary colours used in the colour scheme. These can either be analogous, complementary, triad, split complementary, or neutral.

  • Analogous: Colours which are next to each other on the colour wheel. These colours typically go well together, and are a safe choice. Examples are blues, greens and purples or reds, oranges and yellows.
  • Complementary:  Colours directly opposite each other in the colour spectrum or wheel.  These colors are highly contrasting and look very bold if put together. Such combinations usually draw the eye and stand out very well. For example, blue is opposite of orange on the color wheel.  Complementary colours make each other seem more intense, and give the work more energy.
  • Split complementary: A mix of two analogous colours and the complementary colour of the one that is found between them. A split complementary colour scheme will result in a more calm, toned down look than a combination of complementary colours would, but still with a very big impact.
  • Triadic:  Three colours equally spaced on the colour wheel.  When you want a combination that is colourful and yet balanced, a triad colour scheme might be the way to go.   The first or primary triad colours in the colour wheel are red, blue and yellow.  Such combinations will result in more unconventional, strange combinations, but nevertheless harmonious. Of course, creating a triad with fully saturated brights is often a formula for looking like a German Expressionist painting. Triads comprised of tertiary or intermediate colours, however, can be more subtle but still interesting. Examples would include: blue-violet, yellow-green, and red-orange or red-violet, yellow-orange, and blue-green.
  • Neutral colours: Neutral colours include beige, ivory, taupe, black, grey, and white and sometimes brown.  Neutral usually means without colour, and these colours don’t usually show up on the color wheel.
  • Monochromatic colours: all one colour, but different shades, tones or tints. Most commonly thought of as black, white and greys, but can be based on any core colour. Very dramatic, and harder to pull off than it looks.

Also consider if you want to use a warm or cool colour palette. Families of analogous colours include warm colours (red, orange, yellow) and cool colours (green, blue, violet). Select two warm colours with one cool or two cool with one warm to create dynamic harmony. 

Life’s short – Enjoy the Journey

We all approach things differently, don’t we? That’s the charm and fascination of art – we can start out with similar ideas, but ultimately, the choices we make in colours and textures, the style we choose, the size – all these stamp our individuality onto a piece.

Yes, we know all this, I hear you say. But there is something else too… The way one approaches the work has an impact. I am a fairly quick working, spontaneous mosaicist. No-one could ever accuse me of being neat! I do plan, but I don’t over-agonize about it. Some pieces are more planned than others, and these tend to be calmer. I do tend to let a piece sit, whilst ideas percolate and suddenly they bubble out…

My Zulu is a case in point. I’ve had the torso for months, but suddenly it hit me, and I was off. I am now waiting for a particular piece to arrive before I continue on… but I know exactly what I want to do. He is fully formed in my my mind – even to the choice of stand for him, and where he will live. He will not be for sale.

But usually, I do start out with a rough idea. I often don’t sketch things out, or if I do, it’s pretty rudimentary.

I have a cement bird that I bought from Bunnings because I loved the soft sinuous curves of the form. I immediately had an idea that I wanted to use – channeling Alison Turner, and her wonderful use of bullet casings. However, my plans have changed, as someone else is taking the same approach with the same form, and I do like to be different. So, I have another idea percolating, but I have to try a technical experiment first..

Life is a journey full of learnings, and twists and turns. Where we end up is often not where we intended to go, but the journey is uniquely ours – so it is in our art.

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Our “Shopfront” (not)

Hi everybody. I’ve received a few enquiries from people in or near to Canberra who want to come and have a look at our “shop”.

We don’t have a shop. The web-site is our shopfront. The stock is stored in my home study, and my mosiac work is done in my garage. I work full-time from home, 9-5 (and sometimes longer).

Then outside of that time, I have to receive and pack product, photograph and price new deliveries, and put it up on the web-site, pack and send orders, tool around looking for new and interesting things to get for you, manage the web-site, feed 2 dogs and one very demanding cat, arrange dinner for the starving hoomans, clean up, and say hello to my partner from time-to-time.

My weekends are busy too – shopping, making mosaics (very occassionally it seems these days for all the above reasons), tending to my poor neglected garden, and trying to get a bit of down-time.

Occasionally I will run a mosaic course as well – so I have to plan for those, prepare the space, and clean up afterwards.

So, in short, the answer is no. Thankyou for your understanding. The photos of the product are all taken by me and are as close to the real thing as I can possibly get them.