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Mosaic bird bath

This mosaic bird bath project is fun to do, keeps the three of us relatively out of trouble, and requires only simple, inexpensive household items.

 

You will need:

Old china and tiles, or mosaic pieces
Sandpaper
Safety glasses
Hammer
Old bath towel
Disposable containers
Old wooden spoons
Tile adhesive
Grout mix
Old butter knives
Handheld tile cutter or nippers
Tile or stone sealer

Here's how:

1. All materials must be cleaned before the bits and pieces of china and tile are applied. Some require special preparations:
* Metal - Use sandpaper and a wire brush to remove rust and dirt from aged metal surfaces, like shovels, for better adhesion. On new metal objects, use sandpaper to rough up the surface.
* Wood - Sand and coat wood surfaces with a waterproof sealer; otherwise, the wood will absorb moisture and expand and contract, causing the mosaic work to crack.

2. For breaking the china and tile it is best to work on top of a solid, flat surface; always wear safety glasses to protect against flying debris. Wrap china or tile in a bath towel, and hit it with a hammer several times. Some pieces will be harder to break than others and may require several strikes to achieve pieces of the desired size.

3. Mosaic pieces are affixed to base objects with tile adhesive, both of which can be found at home-improvement or hardware stores. Ready mixed tile adhesive is easy to work with. Simply spread a dab of adhesive on the back of a mosaic piece using a butter knife. If the mosaic piece is thin, apply additional mortar to create a level surface.

4. Position the mosaic piece, applying gentle pressure to ensure good adhesion. Use your butter knife to clear away any excess adhesive that has oozed out around the piece. Place the remaining mosaic pieces according to your design, making sure the pieces are close together but not touching and leaving enough space for the grout. To fit pieces into small spaces, carefully trim them down to size with handheld tile cutters or nippers.

5. Set the object aside, allowing the adhesive to dry for 48 hours before grouting.

6. Mix the grout to a soft paste that is not too runny and spread over the surface into all the crevices wearing heavy-duty rubber gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges. Then scrape away any excess grout and work additional grout into any low spots with your fingers. Remove any leftover grout with a soft, damp rag, gently polishing each mosaic shard as you go until the entire surface is level and clean. Use a bucket of warm water to rinse the rag as you go, but don’t pour this water down the drain when finished, unless you want to grout your plumbing, too. Instead, let the water sit and the grout will sink to the bottom of the container. Then pour off most of the water and dump the grout in the trash.

7. Set the grouted object aside for 48 hours before applying sealer.

8. To protect objects from outdoor elements, apply two coats of tile and stone-floor sealer to the surface of the mosaic garden ornament. Apply the sealer with a small paintbrush. Let the first coat soak in for 10 to 15 minutes before brushing on the second coat. Buff the object with a soft towel after the sealer has dried. For added protection, reapply sealer every couple of years.

 

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