We haven’t been able to keep our Smalti stocked very well over the past year because it has quadrupled in cost after the tariffs and freight gouging and the large factory price increase.
I have been fretting about that a lot recently, and so Natalija reminded my how much cheaper and easier it is to use American-made Stained Glass instead of smalti.
Natalija’s video below shows how quickly you can “strip & clip” a small sheet of stained glass into mosaic tiles.Stripping Stained Glass
The “stripping” is done using the Economy Pistol-Grip Cutter. Note that a straight-edge ruler could have been used with the cutter to product strips of equal width.
If you like the cut-face look of smalti but don’t like the price, remember that you can cut recycled glass tiles in half and mount them on edge to get the same look and feel as smalti.
Since your “halves” of tile won’t be perfect halves, they will all be slightly different heights when turned on edge. The surface formed by these tiles make can’t help but have an interesting texture.
The slightly uneven surface emphasizes the tiles as individual pieces, and the mosaic “effect” of the image is enhanced:
The new Mud Turtle Mosaic brand of smalti was selected based on how well the material cuts, and it is competitively priced. The material appears to be more homogenized and have fewer cold seams than most art glass products because it tends to break more predictably and produces fewer useless shards.
Smalti is hand-cut mosaic glass that is made according to traditional formulas of sand, lime and mineral pigments. Our smalti is hand cut, and the composition is more or less the same as other brands of smaltis. The critical difference is that we have it produced in a factory that makes modern molded glass tile, which means the smalti is made in slightly larger batches and handled more consistently to avoid cold seams when the molten glass is poured on the cooling slab.
Cold seams are where two wrinkles or bulges of glass came together but didn’t fully fuse. You encounter them a lot in stained glass from when the different colors are swirled together. That is why stained glass (and a lot of smalti) shatters so unpredictably when you attempt to cut it small. I am eager to get feedback on this new product.