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How to Mosaic a Guitar - Rhythm and Blues

Silva has a technical background and is self-taught in the art of mixed media and mosaic. Her works are scattered all over the world.

Rhythm and Blues mosaic guitar

Rhythm and Blues mosaic guitar


How to mosaic a guitar -- I named this one Rhythm and Blues and so far it's my favorite. This old 12-string has been through hard times. It was made in Mexico and it smelled of beer halls and cigarettes. I decided to leave the sides and back as they are, cracked, split and full of holes.

I first decided on the color, a blend of blue and a hint of blue-green, punctuated with white and gold.

First I outlined the body with 24K gold plate rims from plates I bought at a thrift shop in Wimberly while on holiday with my friends. I nipped these pieces with Lepponit wheeled nippers. If you examine the gold pieces closely, you will note that some have an outward slant and some have an inward slant. This helps to make the pieces fit more closely as they go around a curve.

The stained glass is from Vancouver, WA from a small glass factory that closed. I love their special hand-poured glass and will be sad when my supply is all used up. I also use the Lepponits to nip the stained glass.

The white squares with a hole in the center are from an enamel necklace I found at a Goodwill thrift shop. I broke the necklace apart with wire cutters. The "strings" are dichroic stringers from a local "warm glass" shop and the "tuners" are beads. The wings on the bridge are from a broken figurine and follow the shape of the original bridge. The three white enamel hearts were a pin and earrings and have musical notes on them, plus the color ties together nicely with the white wings and stars.

The wings and the hearts seem fitting on a rhythm and blues guitar. Songs and bands come to mind like Broken Wings, Flying Too Close to the Ground, On the Wings of a Dove, Paul McCartney, Owl City, The Prisoner's Song ... There are also some pieces of a plate rim that have a musical vibe and those are the last pieces I have from that plate.

I had the one large round brass piece with a star and the other stars (white on blue background) from plate rims all tie together in a pleasing fashion. My "style" could be called "calculated randomness" perhaps. There may be three white items on one side and only one on the other side. But if you look again, you will notice that farther down there are three pieces on the opposite side plus one.

I strive for an overall balance in both quantity and color. A tip I would like to offer is to step back from the piece from time to time and notice what catches your eye. If the color and shape is off-balance in some way, your eye will automatically catch it and it can be corrected before proceding.

Finally, I like to incorporate dichroic glass here and there for bits of flash. The stuff is so expensive that I use it sparingly.

As always, each and every piece has smooth edges. I use a carborundum stone, which is a whetstone with a wooden handle, also called a kitchen sharpener, and as I nip each piece I swipe the edges with this stone. I used MAC glue and Mapei grout.

I consider this my best piece ever, and I am sad that it's no longer in my possession. It really is one of a kind; almost every piece of tesserae on it is the last bit I had of that type.

I need to go on a long road trip to small out-of-the-way towns and see if I can find more cool plates and costume jewelry. I am trying to outdo myself on my current project and replace this piece with the Conquistador guitar as my new favorite.

You can see more work on my blog, I started the blog when I mosaiced my stair risers. If you would like to view the step-by-step progress on the stair risers, go to the oldest posts.


Scottie on December 22, 2018:

Hi, I'm currently making one ! .. struggling to see anything online about how to mosaic the side of the guitar without pieces sliding off once applied with pvc glue, is this going to be more time consuming ?

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Hoping to complete this by Christmas :)

Ariane MacLaren on May 27, 2018:


I have an old guitar which belonged to my late husband,and I have been planning to mosaic it as a tribute to him,but was unsure how to start.Now I get it,so thanks!

Silva Hayes (author) from Spicewood, Texas on April 27, 2013:

Thanks so much for the visit and comment!

Karen Robiscoe from California on April 27, 2013:

super gifted! This is art--not a craft, and I should know. I come from a passel of 'em. Love your style, and I (of course) hit things with thumbs. Super pleased to have found your HUBs!

Silva Hayes (author) from Spicewood, Texas on January 09, 2013:

Thank you so much for the kind and encouraging words, James. I love music but I'm not a musician myself, so this is how I express my appreciation for music.

James A Watkins from Chicago on January 09, 2013:

The guitar is incredibly beautiful! You are a gifted artist. If you are not famous already, you should be. Exquisite! I love your taste in music too. I am a bit of a musician myself, singing and drumming on occasion. :-)


Silva Hayes (author) from Spicewood, Texas on September 11, 2011:

Thank you so much for your comment. Good information.

Niteriter from Canada on September 10, 2011:

Great work. You should send your photos to some of the many custom guitar builders in the US and Canada. You might strike on a partnership of some sort. Kim Breedlove of Breedlove Guitars in Bend, Oregon comes to mind.

Best wishes.

blues lessons on February 04, 2011:

Blues guitar has many many different techniques. Blues guitar has many many different sounds. There's a great variety of ways to play the blues. Even though I lean towards the old acoustic guys, many of the more modern 'icons', such as Stevie Ray Vaughan just blow me away. Excellence is instantly recognizable, no matter when it was created. In my opinion, it's obvious that it all came from the roots, that's why I keep keep going back to that music. You can detect the sounds of Broonzy and other legends in all present day rock. Additionally, Piedmont guitar is evident in some jazz. Students starting to learn the guitar should start from the beginning and make their way forward until they find their way.

Silva Hayes (author) from Spicewood, Texas on October 16, 2010:

Tony, thanks so much. You're the first person to comment on this piece, and it's my favorite! Every time I see the picture, I feel a little twinge that I no longer have it (ha ha). Nice comment!

Tony McGregor from South Africa on October 16, 2010:

Wow! This is really awesome! As a guitar lover I really appreciate this piece very much.

Love and peace


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