On the contrary, I do NOT just smash dishes. Maybe I did that once with one stack of plates because I may or may not have been having a full on yelling fight with my husband, but it really didn't make for much of a controlled mosaic and it certainly didn't do much for the conversation. Except maybe, he knew I don't normally do that to my plates and realized how ticked I really was. (Oh yeah, news flash. Deliriously happy couples also have good old fashioned air-clearing fights once in a while. But that's a whole other post.)
|hammer smashed shards make ugly mosaics|
If you want to make a controlled pattern and get the designs from the dishes that you really want to display, you will need the proper tools. You need different tools for different kinds of dishes. And you need to be able to tell the difference between the different kinds of dishes. I'm here to help you.
|porcelain is translucent|
|there is one porcelain plate in the stack...can you spot it?|
Now, there are two kinds of cutters. Tile nippers and rotary cutters. Tile nippers have two flat nips that look like teeth. Rotary cutters have two wheels. You use a rotary cutter on porcelain and tile nippers on china and pottery. You can also use a rotary cutter on most china, but not on pottery. It is probably going to be too thick for the wheels to get around.
You cannot use nippers on thin porcelain. It will make you cuss.
|my collection of cutting tools|
So just to sum up: Nippers for china and pottery but not porcelain; Rotary cutter for porcelain and china but not pottery.
You can get tile nippers from the tile department of a hardware store. I got my rotary cutters from a craft store. They cost between 12 and 15 dollars each. (Unless you get your nippers from the thrift store for a mere $1.75 SCORE!)
I have several pairs of nippers. They get worn down after a while. But the worn ones are good for thicker pottery. The newer ones are good on thinner china. Robb got me the set on the right for Mother's Day five years ago now and just see where they've taken me.
And there you have it. The right materials, the right tools, lots of practice is how you get those nice even pieces for your own mosaic projects. Happy nipping.