I'm just floating with an idea here, and I need a few opinions on some
of the practicalities - hope you can help.
I want to make up mosaics of small square hardwood tiles to form
images, and use them as wall hangings or, if they turn out durable
enough, as table tops. I've been doing something similar with glass
mosaic tiles using photomosaic software, which is still experimental,
but is turning out OK, so the computer / assembly end of it is no
To make it work, I need a "palette" of a minimum of 25 different
standard shades of tile, which is arbitrary, but must be reasonably
accurate and reproducible. I thought I could achieve this by cutting
stock tiles (19 mm * 19 mm *
5 mm, say) from a very light timber
(beech?), and then staining them by immersing them in a given stain for
a given time to get a given tile-shade, ready for assembly. Is this a
practical idea? What kind of stains should I be working with (I'm a
I reckon I could assemble the tiles image-face down on a smooth sheet
of heavy ply (somebody I spoke to suggested plate glass for a perfect
finish - and he has a couple of big panes available); then glue and
clamp them together; finally glue on a structural backing - heavy ply
Then flip the whole thing right way up, add edging / frame /
and polish or varnish.
How durable would a surface made up of small tiles like this be? Is
expansion / contraction /
water-content a factor (I'm in Northern
Ireland - a damp and soggy spot).
How deep can a stain penetrate a timber surface? Can you lightly sand
or buff a stained surface without removing the stain (so as to clean up
surface imperfections at tile edges but not damage the image effect)?
Like I say, I'm just working through some of the obvious kinks - I'd
like to hear from a few people who know more than me.