When life breaks your bowls, make a mosaic.
I think that’s a much better adage than “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” because when are lemons just given? The current price of one lemon at my local grocery store is $0.79! I would love to have life give me any kind of citrus.
What life occasionally does do is break things, like my cereal bowls. The cabinet shelf that held them collapsed and broke 6 out of 10. But I didn’t throw them out right away because I’ve been meaning to make a mosaic for, oh, about the past 6 years or so.
Here are two of the survivor bowls to show you what they used to be:
And close up:
Of course, on paper, making a mosaic is pretty simple.
- Break up tile using nippers (if you have them) or a small hammer while wearing eye protection.
- Glue or cement the pieces of tile to the base (in this case, a terra cotta pot). It helps if at least one of the surfaces is porous in order to help adhesion.
- When the glue or cement is dry, grout the spaces between the tile pieces. As you’re grouting, wipe the extra grout off of the tile surface. It doesn’t need to be clean, but you don’t want any lumps in the profile of the piece.
- When the grout is set and seems mostly dry, wipe off the grout “dust” from the tiles with a lightly damp sponge.
You can find many more instructions with more detail online. But the basic idea is simple.
There were a number of advantages and stumbling blocks to this project.
PRO: The cereal bowl pieces were mostly curved, so they fit somewhat closely to the surface of the pot.
CON: The curved pieces did not fit perfectly flush to the pot, leaving a gap underneath the tile that needed to be filled with grout before the tile was placed on top.
PRO: The six cereal bowls provided more than enough “tile” for the pot.
CON: Those pieces are sharp! I really should have been wearing heavy duty rubber gloves, because I gave myself quite a slice or two on my finger tips.
PRO: Using little round glass gems and stained glass bits filled in the spaces where the tiles didn’t cover, while also giving the piece more visual interest.
CON: I didn’t have enough of one color of grout, so I had to mix different colors to try to get the same tone, but it was never quite right.
Well, for a bunch of broken bowls, a terra cotta pot that was on its way to breaking, and grout and glass bits on hand, it was a fun project that widened my base of knowledge. Now I have to go plant something in it!