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How To Mosaic: Art For Your Garden

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Mosaics Art: Crafts To Make

Learn how you can make your own mosaic bird baths, tabletops, gazing balls, flowerpots, stepping stones, and more. Find out what materials are needed, what methods are best for completing each mosaic project and how to find inspirational designs that fit into your lifestyle.

The most popular technique is referred to as the "direct method" which works well for crafting outdoor mosaic art be it a stepping stone or a table top. I will demonstrate the ease of this method so as to give you a good background on how easy mosaics are to make for yourself, to sell, or give as gifts.

How To Mosaic Art

How To Mosaic Art

First A Bit Of Mosaic Lingo

Substrate

...the surface on which the mosaic pieces are adhered.

Tessera or Tesserae (plural)

...the decorative items used to create the mosaic design.

Grout

...a thin mortar pressed into the spaces between tesserae to consolidate the mosaic objects into a solid mass.

Direct Method

...adhering each piece of tessera directly to the substrate.

Indirect Method

...adhering the laid out mosaic design to a back mounted mesh or surface mounted adhesive paper or film first before being adhered to the substrate.

Mosaic Stepping Stone how to

Mosaic Stepping Stone how to

Stepping Stones

If you have never made a mosaic, a stained glass stepping stone makes a great introductory project. Not only are they simple to craft you will end up with a beautiful decorative walking stone for your garden to enjoy for years to come. I have written three tutorials using three methods for making mosaic stepping stones that I would like to share with you. All three tutorials have complete directions with lots of photos and videos.

The first lesson makes an inexpensive simple stepping stone using stained glass cobbles and your hand-print to craft a personalized stone using the direct mosaic method. For the project you will need a precast cement stepping stone to which you apply your tesserae and impression. Very basic with a but of messy fun.

The second tutorial teaches the indirect method of laying out your mosaic design on clear adhesive contact paper then pouring a concrete mixture over it inside a prepared mold. Also very simple with the advantage of being able to have a more detailed mosaic as well as a smoother level finished surface.

The third tutorial is a complete lesson in the direct method, from making your own cast stepping stone to decorating it with your tesserae.

How To Mosaic Art

How To Mosaic Art

Gazing Balls

Stained glass gazing balls are not only beautiful in a garden they are mesmerizing. As the sun travels throughout the day and the moon at night the reflections off the glass sprinkle a bit of magic in the air. Romantic, spiritual, whimsical are just a few of the words commonly used to describe the dazzling presence of a gazing ball.

Crafting a gazing ball using the direct method makes it easy for even first timers. Adhering small pieces of glass, pottery, seashells, mirror, charms, or whatever else you might want to use will take a bit of time (like working a jigsaw puzzle) but well worth the effort. Before you start your mosaic make sure you have all of your tesserae close at hand plus have a design in mind. The ball is your canvas the tesserae your paint.

Below is a video showing how to mosaic a bowling ball as a substrate for making a gazing ball. Bowling balls make a wonderful base, but make sure that you first "rough up" the balls smooth surface using sandpaper to give the best adhesion for your tesserae. Fill the holes with silicon caulk and let dry before starting to mosaic. Other substrates you can use are Styrofoam balls, plain glass gazing balls, or extra large acrylic ornaments.

How to make a mosaic gazing ball

These two gals are definitely having fun making this gazing ball using a yard sale bowling ball they found. Old used bowling balls can also be purchased from bowling alleys. Make sure to scuff up the smooth surface before adhering your tesserae!

Mosaic Garden Pot

Mosaic Garden Pot

Mosaic Garden Pots

A beautiful addition to your patio or as a gift, mosaic garden pots are another great way to show off your mosaic skills. Be it a simple patchwork design or a more intricate pattern.

Below is a short tutorial on how to use the direct mosaic method on a flower pot. What is not mentioned and should be remembered is that terracotta pots are considered to be "absorbent substrates" and need to be sealed with either a tile sealer or a mixture of 1 part white glue to 2 parts of water before your tesserae are applied. Do not use a waterproofing sealer because it may not bond with your adhesive. Sealing the pot prevents the adhesive and grout from drying too fast which could cause cracks in your grout later on.

How to Mosaic a Flower Pot

Mosaic Bird Bath How to Make

Mosaic Bird Bath How to Make

Mosaic Bird Baths

This adorable and simple bird bath is made using a 12" terracotta saucer that is set on top of two large flower pots that form the base.

Birds and Bloom Magazine has a wonderful tutorial for making this simple but beautiful bird bath. To make the base a bit more "artsy" how about a band of tiles added to each of the pots bases forming a "belt" around the middle.

You can also use the direct mosaic method on precast cement bird baths.

Mosaic Table Top

Mosaic Table Top

Mosaic Table Tops

If there is one really awe inspiring piece to make for your garden patio here it is! Start small with a side table to practice your newly found skills then go for the gold. Below check out the pictures of a table top during its steps to final creation.

Table top substrates that work well with mosaics are glass, concrete, waterproof or water resistant materials such as backer board or concrete board. Avoid using materials that bend or warp such as particleboard, thin flexible metals, and some plastics, these can over time can cause the grout to crack and the tesserae to come loose. Additionally wood substrates are better for interior projects.

glass for mosaics

glass for mosaics

Choosing Your Glass Tesserae

Glass for mosaics comes in a variety of sizes, shapes and thickness. It is important that you consider your finished piece before purchasing any of your tesserae. If you are crafting a table top on which glasses and dishes will be placed you will want a smooth, even no spill surface.

You will need to choose tesserae with all the same thickness. Stained glass is generally 1/8th" thick, however some of the heavier textures such as ripple can be significantly thicker, as can glass globs, molded glass shapes and jewels.

Glass tiles are available in 3/4" and 3/8" squares. To break or cut them to size you will need a mosaic glass cutter.

For your stained glass pieces you can purchase sheets of glass and cut or break your own pieces or purchase pre-broken glass (my preference) such as Stained Glass Cobbles. It is available in three size choices from very small MiniCobblets (sand to pebble sized), medium sized Cobbles (1/4" to 1" pieces, and large Cobbs (1 1/4" to 3"). The greatest benefit to buying Cobbles is that you purchase only that size that you need for your project. When breaking your own glass you end up with a lot of little sharp shards and pieces that are either too small or too big.

Tools for Glass Mosaic

Outdoor Mosaic Material Chart

Recomendations

SUBSTRATE....................GROUT....................................ADHESIVE

Styrofoam................Sanded Floor Grout............................ DAP

Cement....................Sanded Floor Grout.........................Thin Set

Metal........................Sanded Floor Grout...............DAP, E6000, Weldbond

Plastic......................Sanded Floor Grout.............................DAP

Terracotta................Sanded Floor Grout...............DAP, E6000, Weldbond

Glass........................Sanded Floor Grout.................DAP (clear), E6000

A Great Mosaic Technique Book

Love To Hear From You

Claudia Sladen on March 15, 2018:

What do you use to seal terrecotta before mosaicing an outdoor bird bath? Then what type of adhesive for the tiles? Thank you.

Claudia

Diannp@q.com on January 09, 2018:

I love your projects - - I have done several of them in the past, but have not found them impervious to weather. I have tried several different glues, but still they fall apart after a season or two of rain. Any ideas?

anonymous on June 12, 2013:

thanks for the info, you have been a great help

jlshernandez on June 12, 2013:

I am now inspired to make a mosaic bird bath. Thank you.

blestman lm on June 08, 2013:

What an awesome lens. I am saving up sea glass and now I know I want to do a mosaic project with it. Thanks

Cynthia Haltom from Diamondhead on May 11, 2013:

I am in the process of making a mosaic gazing ball, I have poured a sphere out of concrete and have all of the glass cut, Just have to put it all together.

Cynthia Haltom from Diamondhead on May 06, 2013:

I just got a concrete ball mold, I am going to pour it so I can make it into a mosaic gazing ball. The ideas you have are perfect for the look I am going for in my garden and yard. Thanks for sharing all of this great information.

anonymous on March 01, 2013:

Thanks so much for sharing.

anonymous on February 25, 2013:

Stopping by to say wonderful once again!

anonymous on February 25, 2013:

Terrific tips a d pointers. I do all sorts of art and craft medium and mosaic is something I have yet to venture into. This page here that you shared helps me envision doing mosaic myself. Thank you thank you!

Chocolatealchemy from London, United Kingdom on February 15, 2013:

Fabulous Lens - you've inspired me to make stepping stone or two for our garden when summer eventually makes her long awaited visit to England!

john9229 on January 24, 2013:

This would be a nice garden. Nice lens.

lionmom100 on January 11, 2013:

Lovely ideas for mosaics.

dawnrepurposes on January 05, 2013:

I found this lens through your other lens about bottles. I repurpose furniture and have wanted to learn mosaic for my table tops! Definitely an inspiration, and lots of good info. Thank you for a gorgeous lens!

WinWriter on January 01, 2013:

Very, very pretty designs. I love the garden pot. :) *Blessed *

Pumpurelis on December 30, 2012:

Wonderful lens :)

MonisMas LM on December 26, 2012:

These things are so absolutely beautiful! Mesmerizing!

Mysticy on December 19, 2012:

So beautiful...love it so much, especially the garden pot.

recyclinrob on October 27, 2012:

The mosaic bird bath would fit perfectly under the tulip tree in our yard!

anonymous on September 18, 2012:

Thank you so much for sharing! Love the gazing ball!

CruiseReady from East Central Florida on July 14, 2012:

Absolutely lovely! This is a beautiful basic explanation for someone like me who's never done mosaic before.

anonymous on June 29, 2012:

Super good info & very detailed. I'm just beginning to research creating mosaics. I appreciate these basics to build off of. THX! :-)

eccles1 on May 26, 2012:

How beautiful ! I have always loved mosaic

thank you

gradientcat on May 02, 2012:

Beautiful lens. We have a tabletop that was hand mosaic tiled by a relative, lots of work involved, but it looks fantastic.

rentinlondon lm on April 16, 2012:

I've just started mosaicing and this is such a great resource. Thanks so much, so many ideas I can't wait to get started.

Cimm on March 13, 2012:

you've inspired me!

LinaRose on March 10, 2012:

great lens! thank you

awesomedealz4u on February 16, 2012:

Awesome. I love this!

Malu Couttolenc on February 15, 2012:

Thank you for this awesome tutorial on maning tile art for your gardem would love to make one :)

Coreena Jolene on February 15, 2012:

This is something I want to try. Thanks for sharing.

Ben Reed from Redcar on February 05, 2012:

These mosaic ideas are just great.

vkumar05 on January 22, 2012:

Great lens. Thanks for sharing.

Darcie French from Abbotsford, BC on December 31, 2011:

Beautiful mosaics for the garden

hysongdesigns on November 17, 2011:

oh this was awesome! I am wanting to do a lot of these projects!

MyEyeCandy on November 10, 2011:

I love your lens - this is what I call Eye Candy!

Serenity30 on October 10, 2011:

Love this lens!!!

anonymous on June 21, 2011:

Wonderful, wonderful.....and did I mention....wonderful! You have me wishing for a garden!