Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo



AluMosaics – starting a masterpiece

by: Chica

If you read our CHA Winter 2012 show review, you probably remember that my favorite thing as the show was AluMosaics. We spent quite a bit of time talking with Jeff Ivanhoe, a long-time artist who has perfected the art of turning aluminum cans into mosaic art masterpieces.


Creating these mosaics may seem like a daunting task, but the AluMosaic instructional DVD walks you through the entire process and makes it a very approachable art form. Jeff gave us a copy of his DVD to watch and I knew right away I just had to make an AluMosaic of my own.

I want to share my progress with you all as I work on my AluMosaic, and today I want to show you how I got started. The first step, of course, was to come up with a design!

The possibilities are endless, and you can use just about any image you can find. I had a hard time choosing just one image, so I decided to make a collage of crafty items. I was especially excited by the bright colors in each element of the collage.


Once I had the design worked out, the next step was to prepare the workspace. I used a sheet of 1/4″ thick MDF that I painted white. You can use whatever material you want as long as it’s stiff, smooth, and white. I borrowed Jo’s projector to shine the image over the board, and traced it with a pencil.



Then I used the specific measurements and technique discussed in the DVD to add a grid to my design, to aid with the placement of the tiles.


The final step to preparing the board was to apply a special glue to the entire surface, that would hold the tiles but also make them removable, so that I can make adjustments or corrections later. I’d love to tell you what the glue is, but you’ll need to get Jeff’s DVD to find out!

My board is approximately 4 feet by 2 feet wide, and I don’t want to have to keep it on a table for weeks as I work on it. To keep it out of the way and also make it easier to work on, I came up with a quick trick for making an impromptu easel. I got a couple of removable Command wire hooks and stuck them to my wall, then propped the board up on them.



Finally, it was time to start adding the mosaic tiles! First, I had to make them. I went back to the DVD for specific direction, and used the measurements Jeff indicates. Using his scoring technique, I ended up with sheets of aluminum that I could just bend gently to snap apart. It’s amazing how easily the scored metal cuts, and how perfect and smooth the edges are.



I have to take a moment to mention the special templates that the AluMosaics folks have available. They make the tile cutting process so much easier and the tile size more consistent. Seriously, they are worth every penny. It didn’t take me long to create a bunch of tiles so that I could finally add some color to my board.


I printed my design onto a piece of card stock for easy reference, identified the area where I wanted to start, and placed me first tile. It was so exciting!


Then I just couldn’t stop until My Honey dragged me away for dinner. Searching through the tiles for just the right piece was so fun, and I was amazed at how the paintbrush came together as I added more and more tiles.


I’ve still got TONS more work to do (there are 2700 tiles), and given my crazy summer schedule, it may take me months to finish, but I promise I’ll update you here and on Facebook as I make more progress. Wish me luck!

17 comments so far:

  • 1
    David 05/01/2012 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Chica,

    Thank you so much for sharing the progress you made on your AluMosaics piece. It looks absolutely fantastic!

    Best of luck to you! We look forward to seeing the finished creation.


    David @ AluMosaics.

  • 2
    Brenda B 05/01/2012 at 3:12 pm

    Pretty cool Chica! You go girl :)

  • 3
    Chica 05/01/2012 at 3:35 pm

    Thanks David and Brenda!

  • 4
    Cindy H 05/02/2012 at 10:12 am

    I think this would be a cool technique for a quilt, too!

  • 5
    Chica 05/02/2012 at 10:34 am

    Cindy, a mosaic quilt would be gorgeous, but I can’t even imagine how much effort would go into sewing together those tiny little pieces!

  • 6
    Suzanne 05/02/2012 at 7:16 pm

    Chica – I saw this when you went to the show and so glad to see you and it back – I am going to have to start saving my cans – I want to do one – not sure when I have the time but can not wait to see yours done and the progress.

  • 7
    Chica 05/03/2012 at 6:57 am

    Suzanne, I’m happy to finally be able to share it with you guys, too! Getting the board and materials set up was time-consuming, but now that it’s done, I can work on it any time I have a few minutes free. It’s a great quick craft, although I have a hard time pulling myself away, too.

    Here are a couple tips about saving cans. First, ask your friends to save cans for you so that you have a wide variety of brands/colors to choose from. I’m becoming known as a can lady around work because everybody saves them for me and I’m often seen leaving with a bag full. Second, go ahead and cut the tops and bottoms off the cans and turn them into sheets (the DVD will explain this) soon after you get them, so that they take less room to store. Otherwise, you’ll have cans everywhere!

  • 8
    Viviana 05/24/2012 at 6:38 am

    Wow, this is gorgeous! I’ve been meaning to make myself a little crafting nook, and having a picture like this hanging there would be lovely. I’m a bit short on cash though – do you think it would work with a piece of cardboard instead of MDF, and pieces of paper instead of metal? I would love to try and copy your picture (it’s a lovely collage!), and see how it comes out!

  • 9
    Chica 05/24/2012 at 8:15 am

    Viviana, you can certainly make a mosaic out of any material you want, but I am particularly fond of the kitschy appeal of using the soda cans and the metallic shine they give the piece. I think the design would look good in your craft nook no matter what you make it with though!

  • 10
    Angela 06/20/2012 at 10:10 am

    How’s the mosaic coming along??

  • 11
    Chica 06/20/2012 at 12:14 pm

    Slowly but surely, Angela. I’m having so much fun with it! I’ll try to post an updated photo on Facebook soon.

  • 12
    Betsy 10/01/2012 at 10:49 am

    this is FANTASTIC!!! What are you using to glue them to the canvas? So inspiring!!

  • 13
    Chica 10/01/2012 at 11:25 am

    Betsy, I’m so glad you are inspired by this mosaic! Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what kind of adhesive I’m using, as it’s a key element of the technique that Jeff has developed. You’ll have to purchase the AluMosaics video to find out all his secrets!

  • 14
    Alicia S 08/01/2014 at 6:42 pm

    Love this! Checked out facebook to see what the finished product looks like and nothing??? Did you not complete it?

  • 15
    Chica 08/05/2014 at 5:23 pm

    Hi Alicia! Sorry to report that I have not yet finished my AluMosaics piece. I got caught up on various projects after we moved, and it has been neglected. I hope I can pick it up again soon!

  • 16
    Shannon 09/13/2015 at 1:02 pm

    Hi! I really wanna try this but you state that all of these secrets are on this other site or on Jeff’s DVD! This site does not exist anymore and I dont know how to get the DVD!! I am really eager to learn and try this out! Any advice?

  • 17
    Chica 09/26/2015 at 12:13 pm

    Shannon, we’re as surprised as you are to see that the AluMosaics site is gone. Can’t find any DVDs on Amazon, either. We did find the AluMosaics Facebook page, though, so maybe you can get ahold of Jeff there.

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