Sample Board Morjo™ Marble Mosaic Cutting Strips 6mm comes with a sample of 4 piece of each color in the palette. The intention is for the 4 pieces to give some idea of the variance to expect in terms of color and patterning. Note that the samples on the board have been sealed with a Stone Enhancer instead of a normal tile sealer, and so they have rich colors, while the stone we sell comes unsealed and will not be as intense in color until sealed. The bottom of the factory sample board includes a separate section of synthetic stone described as “Quartz Colors.” We don’t carry those.
These factory-made sample boards are large (20 inches x 18.5 inches), heavy (6.5+ lbs), relatively fragile (stone samples can fall off the board), and expensive (factory cost $40). Fortunately, we have a way you can order one piece of 10 colors very cheaply.
Here is a complete product description for the Cutting Strips with information about how they are used:
Morjo™ Marble Mosaic Cutting Strips 6mm thick are sold loose by the pound for use in mosaic icons, fine art murals, and as an architectural covering. These strips are what professional mosaic artists in Europe use to make ancient reproductions and original art. They can be mounted flat, laid on edge,or nipped short and laid on end to expose the natural cleaved surface.
The sides of the strips have a honed finish and are not polished. The sample board shows the color intensity when the marble is sealed with a stone enhance, available from a local building material store. Do NOT order sealers online during winter months where they can freeze during shipment.
WARNING: The widths vary between 8mm and 12mm. The lengths vary as shown in the photos, roughly 3/4 inch to roughly 2 inches. These are professional cutting strips, not finished tiles. Do not order if you need uniform lengths or an unvarying width.
Cutting Marble Mosaic
The Marble Cutting Strips are the easiest to cut stone we have ever used, and the reason is simple: The 6mm thickness is ideal for cutting yet still thick enough for the stone to have cohesive strength. You can cut these with an ordinary Tile Nipper! Depending on your grip strength, you may want to use a Compound Tile Nipper for even easier cuts.
SCRAP RATE: The amount of cutting waste and unexpected breakage varies by the type of stone. Most varieties can be cut with minimal waste, but some have 5% or even 10% cutting scrap rates depending on how small you are cutting the pieces. Please do not order if your learning curve or budget cannot tolerate some scrap. This is a professional rendering material and represents the best of what is available on the market.
A Marble File is an extremely useful for shaping hard materials. It is much easier to file off a tiny amount than it is to try to cut off a tiny amount.
Morjo™ Marble Mosaic Cutting Strips 6mm thick 1 lb
- 1 POUND.
- piece count and lengths vary.
- honed-finish natural undyed stone.
- thickness: 6mm (just under 1/4 inch).
- width: varies around 8mm to 12mm.
- length of the strips: vary around 12mm (~3/4 inch) to ~50mm (~2 inches).
- Coverage: depends on mounting flat (6mm thick) or on edge.
- Recommended for dry locations where water cannot pool.
- vulnerable to freeze damage like all porous materials.
- should be sealed with a tile and grout sealer to minimize staining and freeze damage.
Many varieties of marble mosaic tile are not technically marble. Other varieties of stone are used to provide colors not available in marble, but all our marble mosaic is undyed natural stone with an unsealed honed finish. The bottom of the factory sample board includes a separate section of synthetic stone described as “Quartz Colors.”
Expect Product Variation
This product is natural stone and has natural variation in pattern and coloration between pieces. That being said, this manufacturer is fairly consistent between batches and is selected by professional artists for that reason.
Avoid Matching Names
Avoid matching the names of our stone to the names of stone sourced elsewhere. Just because two stones are called the same name does not mean they were sourced at the same quarry. There are many varieties of travertines, emperadors, etc., and two different factories or quarries might use the same name for stones that look different from each other.
Never Install Tile in Batches
Be aware that all forms of mosaic tile can and do vary by manufacturer batch, and so you should never order your materials in stages or begin installing tile before you have all that you will need. Even the most expensive brands of Italian glass tile comes with warnings to inspect and mix different boxes of their tile before you install it. This caveat certainly applies to natural stone!
Coverage depends on whether you are mounting the pieces flat (6mm thick) or on edge or nipping short pieces and positioning with the cleaved face up. Laying the pieces flat, a pound covers about 42 square inches or 0.29 square feet. That means you need 3.4 pounds to cover 1 square foot.
Tile thickness is just under 1/4″, which is about twice as thick as most molded glass mosaic tile. When people augment stone with glass, they usually use the traditional hand-cut mosaic glass known as smalti, which has a similar thickness to stone tiles.
IMPORTANT INSTALLATION TIP
Grout will stain unpolished and unsealed stone because it is porous. The stone has to be sealed with a tile and grout sealer BEFORE you grout it. However, you shouldn’t seal any surface where grout or glue needs to stick to the stone. Here is what we recommend for pre-sealing porous materials before grouting:
- Glue or cement your mosaic tiles into place.
- Use a rag dampened with sealer or a small artists paint brush to seal only the top faces of the tiles.
- Take care not to drip sealer down between the tiles or down the sides of the tiles.
We use TileLwab brand Grout and Tile Sealer for a normal seal. We use TileLab brand Stone Enhancer and Sealer if we want to slightly enhance/darken the stone colors (recommended). Both of these products are available at Home Depot. More expensive premium products are available.
Using Marble Tile for Outdoor Mosaic Art
Most people think that stone is more durable than glass for outdoor mosaic art, but actually the reverse is true for several reasons:
Not all stone is hard, and natural stone only comes in so many colors. To get the range of colors needed to make a mosaic, softer varieties of stone such as honey onyx (actually a calcite) are sometimes all that is available for a particular color. This is especially true when you are discussing affordable types of stone. Sure, emeralds are a rich green, but they are also relatively rare, small and expensive.
Porosity and Freeze Damage
Glass is non-porous, and thus water cannot penetrate into it and then freeze and expand, which causes porous stone to crack and flack away. Keep in mind that the reason we have so many ancient Greek and Roman mosaics left after all the millennia is that the Mediterranean climate is relatively warm and dry. It also helped that many of the ones we now have were buried for centuries.
Remember that not all marble mosaic tile is technically marble, and even if it were, marble isn’t that hard, and it is also susceptible to chemical damage by naturally occurring substances. For example, the products of decaying organic matter such as rotting leaves are acidic. Marble dissolves in acid. (You can actually listen to mable fizz when you pour vinegar on it.) This is how the acid rain from automobile exhaust in European cities has melted ancient statues. Other varieties of stone are also vulnerable to organic acids and other natural substances.
How To Make Marble Mosaics Last
Marble (and the other stone types described as marble) are best used for indoor mosaics where water cannot pool on the surface. However, marble can be used outdoors provided you seal it very well with a tile and grout sealer and check the seal every few years to make sure that water is still beading on the surface instead of soaking in and wetting it. This really isn’t extra work. Even if you used non-porous glass tile, you would still need to seal the mosaic and periodically check the seal because the grout between the tiles is porous and vulnerable to freeze damage.
Outdoor mosaics made from marble should be on vertical surfaces such as walls instead of horizontal surfaces such as the seats of benches or walkways.
How To Make Mosaic Art
For more advice on designing your mosaic project or mounting, cutting, and grouting tile, please see our page of Mosaic Frequently Asked Questions or our Mosaic Information Guide, which lists instructional pages described by topic. We also post new articles about making mosaics at our How to Mosaic Blog.