Make a pretty china mosaic bench for your garden! Follow the steps below or follow along on our Curious video lesson where you’ll learn how to break china into mosaic pieces using tile nippers, lay out your design, glue the tiles down, mix and spread the grout, and buff the mosaic as it dries. Even if you’ve never done a mosaic project before, you can do this.
Flea market bench
Krylon Outdoor Spaces Spraypaint Sand 2905
Vitreous glass tiles: cobalt, green, turquoise, light green, white, 1″ x 1″
Glazed ceramic heart tiles: blue and green, 1″
Flattened glass marbles: cobalt and frosted green, 3/4″
Giant flattened glass marbles: green, turquoise, cobalt, 1 1/4″
Broken mirror pieces, 1″
1 pound sanded grout, white (Mosaic Mercantile)
Grout sealer (Mosaic Mercantile)
Beacon Adhesive Quick Grip Glue
Tools & Materials:
Large Ziploc bags
Protective leather gloves
Protective latex-type gloves
Mixing pail or can (coffee can)
Spatula or palette knife or putty knife
Face mask (optional)
Cup for water
Pail for rinsing sponge
To Break The China Plate (Optional)
1. To break the china plate using a hammer, place the plate in a Ziploc bag and seal it. Don protective leather gloves and safety glasses. Place the bagged plate upside-down on a hard surface like the garage floor.
2. Hold a nail to the back of the plate and strike it with the hammer. Repeat to break large pieces into smaller pieces. Carefully remove and rinse the best pieces to use on your mosaic.
3. Alternatively, you can break the china plate using tile nippers. Wear your safety gloves and glasses and place the plate in a Ziploc bag. Use the nippers inside the bag. Grip the edge of the plate with the nipper blades horizontal to the edge of the plate. The nippers only need to nip 1/4″ to 1/2″ into the plate. Hold the plate with one hand and bend the plate against the nippers as you squeeze them onto the china. They will create a crack and break the china into two pieces. Repeat to break the larger pieces into smaller pieces.
Making The Mosaic
1. Prime and paint your bench and let it dry. Lay your design out by starting with square tiles around the border. (No need to glue yet, just lay the tiles out to create your design.) Place the tiles 1/4″ to 1/2″ from the edge and place each tile 1/4″ to 1/2″ from the adjacent tiles to save room for the grout. Create a second border inside the first mixing heart tiles and large flattened marbles in with the square tiles.
2. Fill in the center of the design with the broken mirror pieces, the broken china pieces, and the small flattened marbles. Try to get the pieces close together so the grout lines are not too big.
3. Using the Quick Grip, glue each tile down. Let dry.
4. Lay down a drop cloth and protect the sides of your bench with masking tape. Wear a mask if desired and don your latex-type gloves. Mix the grout according to the directions on the package. Blend the grout and water in the coffee can using the stirring stick until it is the consistency of runny peanut butter. (Ours is one part water to seven parts grout.) The grout stays workable for about 15 minutes, so get ready to grout the mosaic.
5. Spread the grout onto the surface of the mosaic right over the tiles. Use a sponge or putty knife to spread the grout around all the tiles. Make sure you apply the grout around the outside edges of the border and in between each and every tile.
6. Check on the grout as it is drying and spray it with a mist of water if there are any areas that look like they are drying faster than the rest. This will prevent cracks.
7. After 30 minutes, use a paper towel or damp sponge to wipe the grout haze off the mosaic tiles. Be careful not to remove the grout from between the tiles.
8. Wait another 30 minutes and buff the haze again. Repeat if necessary.
9. Let the grout dry for 24 hours then seal the surface with grout sealer and a sponge
paintbrush. Let dry.