Tea Saucer Mosaic

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making a mosaic for some time now, so when I saw a box filled with tea saucers for sale at A Vintage Affair I knew it was time.

I scouted out 12 saucers that had similar shades, but it wasn’t difficult because most china patterns seem to favor the same pinks and greens, lavender and blues. The tools were readily available at Michael’s, they even had pre-made white grout.. more on that later.

Tea Saucer Mosaic

Materials Needed:

1 small 12″x12″ square ArtMinds Basswood Canvas
6 small saucers (plus a few extra just in case), try to pick those that have flowers in the centers as well
double wheeled glass cutter
1 4 fl oz bottle Mercantile Mosaic Tile Adhesive
ArtsMind Mosaic Applicator Set
1 16 fl oz premixed white Mercantile Mosaid Grout
green painter’s tape
1 medium plastic mixing bowl or bucket
1 metal spoon (tablespoon size)
paper towel
plastic sheet/newspapers if you wish to cover your table
1 or 2 rags

vinegar/white mixture
(50/50)silicone sealer

Procedure:

I think this little wood canvas was meant to be turned over, but decided it would make a pretty square tray for my mosaic. I thought I should start small and I’m glad that I did. I considered painting it white ahead of time, but decided that I liked the natural look better.

1. Cutting up the china, while fun, is not as easy as I thought. It does take some practice to apply the right pressure and get an accurate cut. I was hoping to split the sides and take out the center piece, but that was next to impossible for an amateur.  You need to move the tile cutter just inside the outer edge, a bare few millimeters then squeeze very gently. As I went along, I discovered you really don’t need much pressure at all before it cracks. Here is a video on You Tube that helped me. I think the important thing is to enjoy and not get hung up on being “perfect” on your first project! You’ll still love the results anyway!

I’ve also seen some absolutely lovely mosaic pieces done by Jan Lefevre on Home Talk. You should definitely check out her work, it’s inspirational and stunning. I left her a little compliment and she immediately replied and offered to send me her instructions she uses when she’s teaching. Now that I’ve tried my hand at this, I can honestly say she is such a talented artist and her notes were invaluable! You should also check out CeCe’s gorgeous mosaic mailbox.. so very pretty!!

2. Anyway, once you’ve had fun breaking your china into lovely bits, you need to arrange them in a pleasing pattern on your item/frame/tray. Try to keep as little space as possible between the pieces. It does take more time, but as Jan says, the results are worth it. Think of this as pieces to a puzzle.

3. Once you like your finished product, you can use Mercantile Mosaic Tile Adhesive, which worked just like white glue. It gives you a little time to push things back in order, but held quite quickly after a few minutes.

4. After waiting overnight, tape off the area where you wouldn’t want grouted.

5. Then you need to apply the grout. Unfortunately the Mercantile Mosaic grout I had was separated and needed plenty of heavy duty stirring. So I scooped it all into a much larger kitchen bowl and used a metal spoon to smash, chop and smear/stir it into a consistent grout texture. Think organic, unwhipped peanut butter and you get the idea.

Once you like the consistency, use the spreader from the Art Minds Applicator Set to smear the grout on. You may have a grout tool in your tool box already, so you wouldn’t need to buy this kit.

Because the tea saucers have so much curve in their edges, I needed more grout than most projects would. Next time I’ll use dinner sized plates that lay flatter.  The cool thing about this particular grout, is that it is already white and when it starts to set, it looks shiny and smooth. If you think of the consistency of white glue or cornstarch thinned a bit with water, you’ll know what I mean. As it settles, it begins to shine again.

6. Once it set for 5 minutes (read the back of your own jar of grout in case those instructions differ for set time), you can begin to rub, scrape and drag the grout off of individual tile pieces. I used good old paper towel (lots of them!) and discarded it as I went. I think I had so much grout, a cloth would have required rinsing and drying between and I wasn’t comfortable getting that grout wet. I almost missed some of the tiniest little pieces, so make sure you find them all and expose them!

7. This particular grout then sets for an additional 25 minutes. That’s when you can go back with a slightly damp rag and shine up each tile piece.

8. In one week, you can polishing each tile with a vinegar water solution (equal parts) if you need to remove any remaining glaze. Jan recommends spraying your project with a Silicone Sealer to keep the grout clean and protected. I’ll be doing that after I’ve done cleaning with vinegar and it’s dried.

So here is the finished project. I think it’s better as “art” because it would be much to bumpy for a tray:)

I hope I’ve inspired you all to give this a try, it’s not difficult at all and takes very little time.

There are premade tile bits at Michael’s, or probably any Hobby Shop, that would make this really easy for kids to do as a project too. I imagine the part they’d love best would be hunting for the tile pieces when scrubbing off the grout. There are also so many other containers and objects to mosaic.. I’m thinking about attacking my rusty old birdbath next. I think it may need a different grout since it would be outside in the rain. I’ll let you know if I take that project on!

Thank you so much for stopping by… have an awesome day!! xx

 

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  • This is a lovely project!ReplyCancel

  • Very pretty indeed, Barbara. I feel that my clumsiness when washing up over the years might well have produced enough fragments to start work on an even bigger mosaic:)ReplyCancel

  • This is a beautiful way to showcase those beautiful patterns from long ago.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous

    So pretty!ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen

    Now, it would have been great to keep broken dishes on hand.. I’ve quite a few in my lifetime as well, Roger, but long before I knew how to mosaic:)ReplyCancel

  • A very pretty project, Barb! I love your creativity! My Mom has gifted my daughter and me with her cups and saucers, but really, who uses those any more? (Maybe for a retro-themed dinner or tea party.) This is a good idea, although I don’t think Mom would approve if I were to break up her pieces. Getting them at the thrift store would be by far the safer plan for me!ReplyCancel

  • This is adorable! I love it much more as art than as a tray, this way it cannot get covered up with cups or magazines! I love it.ReplyCancel

  • What a beautiful piece–just lovely!ReplyCancel

  • This is wonderful post, and such a lovely project!ReplyCancel

  • Could one just smash the plates instead of using a tile cutter?ReplyCancel

    • Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen

      Norma.. you absolutely could, I think I would put it in a bag or between cloth to protect your eyes from chips.. I need to add that to my list. I wear glasses so my eyes were safe. Someone wrote you could put scotch tape in a grid across the back before you break the dish, then you can easily peel off and reassemble the plate in order. xxReplyCancel

  • What an utterly perfect project my friend, beautifully done :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    P.S. To prepare for my exams now I won’t be commenting for around 4 weeks – imagine me on a really long ‘holiday’ :PReplyCancel

    • Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen

      I will miss you CCU.. but you have important things on your mind!! Not chocolate.. books! Good luck with your exams!!! xxxReplyCancel

  • What a clever idea Barabara! So very pretty too.ReplyCancel

  • Gorgeous! And all my favourite colours.

    I’ve only created one mosaic project, and that was a birdbath. An old wedding gift—a large, Japanese blue and green plate—once met with a child and a baseball in my dining room … I was a bit shell shocked when I discovered the plate missing but telltale fragments left on the shelf. Thankfully, said child hadn’t thrown the plate out, and I used the pieces to create a mosaic on the bottom of a large china bowl. Shortly after placing it in the garden, it became a haven for birds. A friend then told me that certain birds are naturally attracted to the colour blue. The deep blue mosaic looked quite serene beneath water!ReplyCancel

    • Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen

      That’s such a lovely story and a happier ending for your plate:) I didn’t know birds are attracted to blue.. if I ever get around to redoing our birdbath, I’ll keep that in mind.. I’d love to see them splashing around in it! xxReplyCancel

  • I swear, five minutes in your house and I would feel a peace like I’ve never felt before. You just make the most beautiful things and they always look so calming and happy to me. I imagine your home is such a perfect respite. :)ReplyCancel

  • It’s very beautiful and very pretty. It looks like it would take a long time to do but you say it’s put together relatively quickly so that’s good for me – I do like projects you can do in a day! Those saucers are gorgeous xxReplyCancel

  • You definitely have inspired me, Smidge. I have been holding onto a large grocery bag full of broken china–a mishap in which I lost a lot of my good wedding china. I was hoping to one day mosaic a glass table, but I haven’t had the time–for the past five years! Maybe I need to try something much smaller to see how I like the process. I love what you did here. I think I’m ready! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Nicely done, Barb. You are so talented when it comes to crafts and your tray looks professionally made. You’ve offered us glimpses of your home and I bet it is filled with beautiful pieces like this. How very nice it must be. :)ReplyCancel

  • I have a collection of tea cups that have been passed down to me. The most exquisite china ever! But I’m always worried I’ll drop one, and hate to use them.

    NOT ANYMORE!

    Woot, woot!!ReplyCancel

  • What a cool idea…if only this would look as pretty broken kids toys! I’ve got lots of those :) Your pictures are very pretty- I especially like the tray version of this craft! What a gorgeous gift this would make (jingle bells…jingle bells…) xx EmReplyCancel

  • Smidge, you always know how to bring sunshine to my day – what a beautiful project – the saucers you found are exquisite!
    Love the finished “art-tray”.
    Have a happy day.
    :-) Mandy xoReplyCancel

  • Hello, Hello…
    I am so glad you finished your first project. I bet you want to look at it all of the time. I kept looking at mine and could not wait to try another! Actually, my first project, a stepping stone, is posted on my blog, nyourdreams.blogspot, right now. I don’t know if I told you this before, or not, for outside projects, I use silicone glue…the kind in the long tubes you purchase at Home Depot or Lowes. I also use premixed grout from there as it is much cheaper than Michaels…of course, I guess you could use a coupon. I never use saucers, because of the curved edge, but you have shown me, for art, they work just fine!!! Beautiful piece. I will now not be so anxious about buying sets with the cups and saucers!ReplyCancel

  • very cool idea……ReplyCancel

  • What a clever craft Barbara, you are certainly very talented. I just finished a project at the cottage where I used 1-2mm plexy glass, you could cut one to size and fit it right over your mosaic so that you can use it as a tray! Perfect for a spot of tea and some biscuits for sure. Were the saucers expensive? I would certainly appreciate some indication of cost for these crafts, it would help determine whether I would want to make them or not.ReplyCancel

    • Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen

      Hi Eva! I’m totally going to locate that plexiglass! I found my saucers in a box at a vintage store. Some girl who made jewelry cups with them moved and gave the box to sell. Each saucer was $2 so not expensive for 6. You have to buy the tools, but I look forward to using those again and again. If you wanted I cd mail some to you? The other place I would look is a thrift store or garage sale. These were cheap because they were missing their cups. Let me know:)ReplyCancel

  • Fun project! This looks so wonderful and is very creative. I’d definitely use it as art, not as a tray.ReplyCancel

  • Very arty mosaic!ReplyCancel

  • You certainly ‘inspire’ but I’m not so talented but I just love to see the various creative things you do…. DianeReplyCancel

  • Well, that is just absolutely beautiful! What a great idea!ReplyCancel

  • you’re so talented Smidge! A very pretty tray indeed xReplyCancel

  • Barb — I am in love with this piece of art you created! It is so beautiful and such a great way to repurpose dishware. Love it!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • What a clever idea. I really enjoy seeing what talented people can do – especially with broken dishes. :)ReplyCancel

  • I love that saying and can see how true it is. I’ve lost so many very close friends to illness and tradgedy and could see the immediate change it took over me. As sad and difficult as it is, that’s life.

    Your mosaic is lovely. It would be interesting to mount a piece of your life as it happens onto the board as the years go by eventually telling a story that maybe only you, yourself know. Interesting post and idea.ReplyCancel

  • Barb, glad to see you give mosaics a try and I love your project! Watch out – it can be addictive. I don’t work much with china because I usually want a flatter surface, and I prefer a tile saw for most of my cuts. I never break tile because I don’t like the jagged edges, and because I’m a control freak. If you try a large project and you need some help, let me know.ReplyCancel

  • Hi,

    Just saw your link from my friends at A Vintage Affair and love what you have done. I have an art studio in Spruce Cliff specializing in mosaic work if you ever want to try some more and hear some of my tips and tricks.
    http://www.wolfwillowstudio.ca

    thanks,
    MichelenaReplyCancel

    • Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen

      Hey, I will totally be checking this out when I get back home! How fun is this!!ReplyCancel

  • Smidge! This is gorgeous. This may be “easy” and not require much time, but it requires a good eye nonetheless. I could imagine an entire row on a wall, in a breakfast corner perhaps. It would be very elegant. I bet if B & B’s saw this you’d end up taking order!ReplyCancel

  • Oh, my goodness! What a beautiful piece of art! I just may try this. I get creative every once in a while :)ReplyCancel

  • […] see if they need any of these items. In just 15 minutes a day, you can use tile nippers to cut old cracked saucers into tiles for mosaics, paint coffee cans to hold art supplies or mount casters on an old fruit crate to make a rolling […]ReplyCancel

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