How to Mosaic Garden Stones

 Mosaic Garden Stones: A Step-by-Step Guide

I'm enjoying my latest mosaic project: garden stones. These are flat stones decorated with colorful mosaic designs. Here's how to make a beautiful, durable, weather-resistant stone mosaic to line your flower bed.

1. Find a Stone

First, I find a small flat stone. This one I photographed is between 6 and 10 inches. I found a few scattered nearby. One garden center gave me several of them. Then some are natural stone tiles or granite tiles. I cut the straight edges for a more natural look.

It is also possible to create mosaics on round stones, but in this article I will focus on the small flat stones that I photographed.

2. Choose a Subject and Material

Next, I choose the theme and material for the mosaic. Stained glass is perfect for this project and I have several on display.
My favorite material is bone china, which is cut to make the best use of the design. To make dragonflies and butterflies, using designs from the edges of china plates and plates is more difficult than using stained glass.
I like to use the mosaic over grid method for these projects. The grid is not necessary, but it makes the project easier and more flexible. Using mesh allows the design to be glued and stuffed together.

3. Select the Design

Google Images can be used to find patterns, which you can then print. I want to save it in Word and then adjust the image size. You can design your own image, or you can find pictures in books and magazines. According to the instructions on how to mosaic on the grid, on a flat surface, attach the layers with masking tape, first: your paper design, second: a square of clear bag, and third: a piece of mesh.

4. Proceed to Create Your Mosaic

I want to soften all the edges of my mosaic so that it is more friendly. I use a kitchen sharpening tool to do this. Parts can also be ground or smoothed with a glass grinder.
I use jewelry - usually glass beads - to make the bodies and antennae of dragonflies and butterflies. Use string or elastic thread to hold the beads together before gluing them.

5. Glue the Pieces

I glue the pieces (small sections of the mosaic) to the grid using dabs of McGlue, making sure to have drops of glue on each piece, leaving the sections unglued so that when the mosaic is attached to the stone, I apply it, so there are places that allow for both content. To unite their ranks.
When the glue dries, tear the mesh design away from the bag. Using sharp scissors, cut the mesh near the edges of the mosaic.
You can end up with one piece containing the entire design, or you can cut it into parts. Cutting it into sections sometimes allows for more elegant placement of the butterfly's wings.

6. Mix the Mortar and Apply the Mosaic to the Stone

Now, mix a small amount of mortar. I collect plastic lids like Jeff Peanut Butter jar lids and use them to mix the slurry and dispose of it later.
There are two different ways to apply mosaic to stone and I will describe them both.

*One way is to glue the back of your mosaic. Make sure each piece has a touch. Apply the mosaic to the stone, pressing each piece individually. Then close the tape around the outside of the mosaic. Next, spread the mortar liberally over the mosaic (as you would with plaster). Wipe (gently, without disturbing the mosaic position). Remove tape for final cleaning.

* Another method is to place the mosaic on the stone and tape around it. Lift the mosaic up and set aside. Spread the slurry over the area marked with the tape. Then press the mosaic into the mortar. Apply more grout to the mosaic, clean it, remove the tape and do a final cleaning.
Be careful not to use mortar as plaster, it dries very quickly and needs to be cleaned with mosaic immediately. You can't wait until later to polish the mist like you would if you were using regular grout. You should do a thorough cleaning immediately because the grout becomes permanent once it sets.

*Another caution about using mortar as plaster - after grouting, cover the remaining mortar and store it for a while, especially if you have painted it because if you have more it is difficult to match colors if mixing is required. I'm not sure why, but mortar is more prone to creating small holes than grout when it sets and dries. You may want to correct it.
So, clean the grout, put your piece down, and then come back and check it in about 10 or 15 minutes to see if it has air holes and unsightly little pockets that need to be dealt with.

7. Spray With Grout Sealer

I wait 24 hours and then spray the entire stone with a sealer designed for interior and exterior use. This may not be necessary since we're not using plaster here, but it makes me feel more comfortable since these are meant for outdoor use. The edges of the china are porous, and I think a sealer could extend the life of this mosaic. I currently use DuPont Grout Sealer for both interior and exterior use.

You can put some sealant in a small container and apply it with a brush, but I prefer spraying it. Pour some of the sealer into a small spray bottle. I take the garden stone outside and spray the entire surface of the stone liberally. Then I clean and clean the mosaics. I pour the rest of the sealant back into the bottle and rinse the spray bottle well. This method is more effective and more economical.

8. Display Your Stones

I imagine these stones randomly scattered in flower beds, adding charm and whimsy to your landscape. So far I've made butterflies and dragonflies and now plan to try snails and other designs and maybe an iridescent ladybug or a chunky bumblebee.

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