Benching lessons……

My first bench was a gift for my parents.  The first of anything I do is usually a gift for a family member, usually my parents.  That was 4 years ago and it had a turtle theme, my Mom is crazy about turtles.  I had read everything I could about the tiling process, the do’s and don’t for my new adventure.  My parents are wonderful about being the guinea pig for my sundry creations.  I usually inscribe them as “First Editions” with the date finished.  This was no exception, off I went mosaic crazy and excited to create something new.

The bench looked fantastic………

turtlebench4mom My problems would come later as the bench withstood the Yosemite Valley weather.

Curious huh?  All the people in the know said you could use tile board as a base for the mosaic design, so I did (well actually Steven did).  We sealed it with the tile sealer and crossed our fingers it would last a year!  I reminded my Mom to bring it in over the cold winter months.  Even I couldn’t stop the water from settling in and then causing trouble when it froze in the snowy weather!  Well, she forgot and a happy accident it surely was.  The bench made it with a few fissure to show it’s mettle.  As the weather warmed up though the swelling of the wood decreased and then you saw the havoc the temperature changes wreaked on the bench.  We brought the bench home and fixed it up, using longer screws in the wood frame, reworking the grout, and resealing it again.  Much improved and Mom this time didn’t forget to store it in the garage over the next winter!

This whole dilemma caused us to rethink the base of our tiling.  It needed to have a little give for the grout to not develop fissures from continued use.  We asked every tileman we could get out hands on.  Continued to search the internet for some undisclosed secret to our concerns.  Other than information on grout additives, that are not approved in the United States , we found no answers.  Have faith, I sure did, something would turn up!  Usually when I least expected it to.

On our routine visit to the Home Depot, we like to walk around every Sunday and check out new items (sometimes we find great deals too).  While checking out the tile section, we found just what we needed.  It is a tiling matt!  It has a strong adhesive on one side (to adhere to a wall etc.) and raised stripes of adhesive on the other for the tile to adhere to.


I wasn’t sure if all my little tiles would reach the raised adhesive ridges but, I was willing to give it a go!  They tout this products strength to use on kitchen back splash projects.  It was light weight and cost affective, by gingo I think we found what we were looking for!

benchtilesettingmattboxWaaa Hoo!  I used it on a bench for my Aunt & Uncle’s 50th Wedding Anniversary gift.  The bench is now 3 years old and it is perfect, looks brand new.  This product had become my best friend.  I now use it on all my mosaic benches.  This new bench as well.

benchadhesiveon1Another step closer to the assembling of my tile designs with the broken tile pieces.  Oh, I love happy accidents (they love me too, LOL).  They lead me in all kinds of directions I never would have imagined going……………. such adventures, such fun…………. Cyn


About designbycyn

Sonoma County, California ceramic enthusiasts Cyn and Steven Gradek have worked in the clay medium since 1996. They had a retail store where they held classes and provided the essentials for fellow ceramic enthusiasts. The business evolved into producing for other retail outlets and artist. Which quickly grew and they closed the retail storefront and concentrated on the wholesale business. With their 3 children raised and on their own, they had time to pursue their own creativity. Cyn learned how to embroider from her Grandma Cirner at a young age. After that she found sewing, cross stitching, crocheting, well you get the jist, LOL. She hasn't met a craft that she hasn't liked. Blogging was suggested by her youngest daughter, Colleen. At first it was a battle to get her to try it, but eventually Cyn started to enjoy the exercise. The blog on Cyn's website was limiting, so Colleen got her started with Wordpress. Hope you enjoy her Adventures with Creativity!
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