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Editing Step 5 —

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Choose a tub of pre-mixed tile adhesive and follow the manufacturer’s directions. Wear rubber gloves for this task.

It’s important to keep the adhesive off the front of the tile. Try as hard as you can to keep it all on the back. This will save you a lot of work in the end. If adhesive does end up on the front of the tile, you must clean it off.

With a trowel, smear a thin layer of adhesive over your tabletop. Once the first layer of adhesive has been spread, you’ll have to work quickly to set the tesserae before the adhesive dries, usually about 45 minutes. So, with that in mind, only cover as much of the surface with adhesive as you can cover with mosaic pieces in that time. If the adhesive does dry before you set your pieces on it, scrape it with the trowel and, if necessary, add another thin layer of adhesive.

Select the first of your tesserae and cover the back with a thin layer of adhesive. Then place it on your surface. Cover the next mosaic piece with adhesive and set it very close to the first, aiming for about ¼"–1" of space between them. Continue to lay out all the pieces in this way.

When mixing plates with tiles, you’ll find that different pieces have different thicknesses. Smear a thin layer of adhesive onto the thick pieces, and a thicker layer of adhesive onto the thin ones. The goal is to have a flat surface, so the amount of adhesive will need to be adjusted to keep all of the tesserae level.