This post is long overdue; sometimes a project just needs to get put on the back burner until I forget I was frustrated with it. My husband loves plants. I love plants too, but I kill them. Luckily he has the green thumb I am lacking. For his birthday (a whole month ago), I wanted to get him a plant for his office. Obviously, you can't have a plant without something to put it in, so I jumped on the opportunity to make mosaic pots (plural because I made one for his herbs too). Little did I know that I would be in way over my head on this one. It didn't matter that I started a whole month early - I still didn't finish them until this week. Realistically, you could totally finish these in a weekend. This project only seemed never ending, because I had no idea what I was doing, I got frustrated, and I let the project rest for a couple of weeks. This project is somewhat messy, though. My husband got home from work and asked me why I had "mud" on my legs; it was actually grout that I had missed while cleaning up my mess.
What you'll need:
Terracotta clay pot(s) and saucer(s)
Mosaic materials - Ceramic plates, tiles, stones, etc. I used thrifted ceramic plates and bowls.
Hammer - For breaking the ceramic plates.
Plastic bag - To contain the broken pieces.
Old towel - To protect against sharp pieces.
Mortar - I used mortar for application over concrete and indoor/outdoor use, because I read somewhere that products for use with concrete breathe like the terra cotta and don't require a sealant. I have no idea if this is true. I used the cheapest I could find - a 50 pound bag (not mixed) that was not quick-setting. I used about 1/3 to 1/2 of the bag, because I had no idea what I was doing and mixed way too much.
Sanded grout - I made sure that the grout was for use in bathrooms or outdoor settings, so that the moisture wouldn't be an issue. The grout also needs to be appropriate for the size of gaps between pieces - larger than 1/8". Generally, this type of grout is a sanded grout. I used the cheapest I could find - a 25 pound bag (not mixed) that was not quick-setting. I used about 1/3 of the bag.
Bucket and some type of stirring tool - For mixing the mortar and grout. I used an old frosting knife and plastic trowel. You will ruin these items for non-craft use.
Gloves - Mortar and grout are nasty on the skin. You will also ruin these.
Sponge(s) - For wiping the haze off the tiles. You will ruin this too.
Acrylic paint - For painting the saucer and top rim of your pot. I used cheap paint, so the coverage was terrible. Next time, I'm going to opt for a higher quality brand.
Grout sealant (optional) - The grout suggested using a sealant. Upon further reading of the purpose of the sealant, it seemed like the sealant was just to protect against stains (like for your bathroom floor). I opted to skip the sealant.
Break the ceramic dishes.
Step 1: Put your ceramic dishes in a plastic bag, and wrap the plastic bag in a towel. Hammer away until they are in broken pieces of the desired size. Meanwhile, say your prayers that they aren't made with lead paint.
Step 2: If you are so inclined, sort out the usable (flat) pieces from the unusable (wavy) pieces. Or you can sort on the fly like I did.
Apply the broken pieces with mortar.
Step 3: Mix the mortar according to the manufacturer's instructions. Generally the mortar powder to water ratio provided on the bag is for the whole bag. They also provide a square-footage area that the bag roughly covers. This is obviously way too much. The easiest way is to guesstimate the amount of water needed to mix 1/4 of the bag, for example. I made my mortar a little thicker (I think?) than normal so my mosaic pieces wouldn't slide down the pot.
Step 4: In small sections, spread the mortar onto the terracotta pot - thick enough that there is something for the mosiac piece to hold onto, but not so thick that it oozes up in the gaps between the pieces.
Step 5: Press the mosaic pieces into the mortar. If I were to do this again, I would put the pieces closer together.
Step 6: If you're like me and left larger gaps, go back and fill in the bigger gaps with some of those smaller pieces.
Step 7: Let the mortar dry per the manufacturer's instructions. Don't worry about the mortar on your pieces. Let it set up a bit (an hour or more); then go back, and wipe off the excess mortar with a damp sponge.
Grout the mosaic.
Step 8: Mix the grout according to the manufacturer's instructions. I noticed the grout set up much faster than the mortar, requiring me to work more quickly.
Step 9: Smoosh globs of grout into the cracks.
Step 10: Wipe off the excess globs of grout. Don't worry about the haze at this point. Just remove the huge chunks for now.
Step 11: Let the grout dry per the manufacturer's instructions. Let the grout set up a bit, and wipe off the haze with a damp sponge.
Paint the saucer and rim of the pot.
Step 12: Paint the saucer and rim of the pot. It took me many, many coats to cover the red terracotta with cheap, yellow paint. Let dry.
Finish the pot.
Step 13: If you desire, seal the pot with grout sealant per the manufacturer's instructions.
Step 14: Admire your work! You deserve it after lifting those heavy bags, using those strong arm muscles to mix the mortar, and cleaning up clumps of grout.
I'm linking up with:
Time for a Party @ Fine Craft Guild
Feature Yourself Friday @ Fingerprints on the Fridge
Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest
Weekend Wrap Up Party @ Tatertots & Jello
Strut Your Stuff Saturday @ Six Sisters' Stuff
Sundae Scoop Link Party @ I Heart Nap Time