Glass Art and Mosaic Garden

Boy, I sure haven’t been here to post for a very long time. Years, maybe? I guess I ran out of steam for blogging – I tend to be fickle about my “projects” – but I’ve been doing some arty garden stuff lately and wanted to add it to my Pinterest page. But without a link to this blog, where I can explain what I did, no one can follow up on the pics I put on Pinterest. So this just might get me blogging a bit again.

To start with, this is the Glass Art and Mosaic Garden that was fairly finished up yesterday and installed on the side of my house.

Glass Art and Mosaic Garden

This project started as a result of two things… (one) I LOVE seeing all the images on Pinterest of interesting garden art… and (two) I never keep up with watering my flower pots once mid-to-late summer starts, so I need a low-maintenance garden. I’m lazy. What can I say?

And I’m a sucker for starting large projects I don’t have room for in my now-small apartment and just wrecking the place all-to-craziness. Before you know it I’m tip-toeing through a path to the bed and sleeping surrounded by glassware, pvc pipe and tile adhesive.

But yesterday I got all of this moved outside and my daughter, Ellyn, helped spread pea gravel and river rock as needed. I just can’t lift those bags anymore.

Here are some more photos:

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I tell you what…

It is really FUN to collect the stuff for a project like this. Myself – I’m not a big “shopper” for clothes or electronics or entertainment. But when it comes to dishes and glassware and kitchen items… watch out. Now I don’t mean expensive stuff. That’s just not in the budget. BUT!

There is an incredible Thrift Store not a half mile from me and it is the most dangerous place I know. Ask my kids. They want me fitted with blinders just to drive past it.

Can I help it if my treacherous little heart goes pitter patter at the sight of a cut glass relish dish? For 99 CENTS!!! What’s a girl to do? Let just anyone walk off with it? No-siree – it will go home with me and have visions of being featured at a magazine-worthy dinner party in the garden with friends who swoon over my good taste. (OK… so it COULD happen, right?) Straight out of the pages of Country Living, I tell you.

Now for a glass art project – shopping for glass was a treat. But I DID limit myself… 99 cents or less for most pieces. Should I find an item that was marked an outrageous $3.99 – back to the shelf it went! There’s no fooling me, you know!

Except for this little guy. This rabbit was very fine, name-brand, handpainted and was a whoprabbitping 5 bucks. However, I had a 50% off coupon… hahaha… you really can’t fool me on these things.

But I’m getting sidetracked here. Back to the folks who might link here from Pinterest…

Gathering the glass is fun expedition time. All the possibilities swirl through your head and you don’t know how any of it will really end up. And even when you get home and lay out all your goodies, the arrangements will change every time you leave the room and come back. Or maybe that was just me. But it’s all part of the process. Which is this…

GE SiliconeFirst off, you have to stick all this stuff together to make the “totems” or whatever they are called. I have made quite a few now and I will say that my favorite adhesive is GE Clear Silicone 2+ in this tube that fits in a caulking gun. It is under $5 at Lowe’s and for my entire batch of creations I used about a tube and a half.

This silicone is weatherproof and here in Ohio, I have left previous glass sculptures out year-round and they show no extra wear from winter weather. In my area we can get to about -20 degrees F and the silicone holds up fine. It’s a bit flexible, so will contract and expand as needed.

To bond glass to glass or glass to ceramic, make sure both items are really clean at the contact point. Wipe both pieces off with rubbing alcohol to remove any oil that might have gotten on them from your fingers. And be sure to get it right the first time. Silicone is a great sealant, but you can’t take it apart and start over because silicone doesn’t stick to itself. Once it’s on there, it’s on there. You’ll never be able to scrape it all back off for a do-over.

Now I DID try that, of course, because I changed my mind mid-stream. And of course, it didn’t work. So I’m waiting for delivery today of a glue called Devcom Home Silicone Sealant that supposedly sticks silicone to silicone. I could only find it on Amazon. I’ll have to update you if it does the trick.

IMG_20190711_152258941_HDRNote: My mistake was this… when you are building totems you have to build from larger at the bottom to smaller at the top. You can’t have two pieces with a small circumference “join” below the halfway point of the piece – it will buckle and not hold the weight above it. Now if it isn’t a LARGE piece, you can reinforce the join by putting a plate between the two smaller pieces like the blue plate in this blue and yellow piece. Still, this one is pretty uniform in width all the way up. If I had tried to put something large on top, it wouldn’t hold.

IMG_20190712_092236655Another note: This blue and yellow bird piece is sitting in the hole of a cinderblock. The cinderblock is stacked on another cinderblock below it. How is it holding there? Two things… The stacked cinderblocks are filled with pea gravel to keep them in position on the ground. Then there is another ceramic jar you can’t see right IMG_20190712_092318900below the flowered plate. It was filled with some pea gravel for weight before being siliconed to the bottom of the plate. The cinderblock hole is filled with pea gravel up to the point where that jar can sit without pulling down on the piece above it. It is quite heavy and sturdy there and shouldn’t move even in a storm.

Likewise, other pieces had a “jar” of some sort on the bottom that got buried and surrounded with pea gravel and river rock to hold it in place.

IMG_20190711_172324550IMG_20190712_092301831Then, for the tall, skinny ones, rebar was put into the cinderblock hole, pounded into the ground and pea gravel poured in around it to hold it in place. Then all you had to do was slide the piece onto the rebar.

tile adhesiveThere ARE a couple of mosaic pieces as well. I bought some 2′ sections of PVC pipe and glued both glass and ceramic tile to them using Mapei Type 1 Ceramic Tile Mastic from Lowe’s. A quart is about $7 and it was plenty. After the mastic was set, I grouted the pieces with Sanded Grout – the “sanded” is supposed to be stronger for outside use.

sanded groutAll you do to mix the grout is add water and stir until it is like thick oatmeal. I used a plastic spoon and disposable container and added black craft paint to darken it. Glop the wet grout all over the tiles and push it in between each tile to get it solidly in all the spaces. I tried using a small putty knife for this but found it better to just use my finger to smooth it all out. Wearing latex glove will protect your skin. Scrape off any huge excess of grout to make the cleanup easier.

Then you wait about 20 minutes and start rinsing it off with a damp sponge to expose the tile. It’s helpful to have a bucket with some water in it to squeeze out the sponge fairly often. Be sure to get as much grout as you can off the tiles – it IS cement. Later you can go back with a cloth and buff any haze off the tiles.

I did attempt to use grout sealer to finish it all off but I didn’t like it. I just got out an old can of trusty polyurethane and gave everything a good coat of that.

triple thickIMG_20190711_172703530For pieces like the bird figurines and the frog and lizard, I just gave them a coat of Triple Thick to try to weatherize them a bit. Fast and easy fix for that. Triple Thick is about $7 at Hobby Lobby but you can use your 40% off coupon, of course.

I did some decorative painting on some of the pieces with Deco Art Americana Gloss Enamels. I know you can heat set that paint in the oven but I didn’t. I just gave it a coat of poly or Triple Thick and will hope for the best.

Note: I did all this by the seat of my pants. I would read instructions from others until I lost patience and then just dive in and do something. If you would like to leave suggestions in the comments below, feel free. But keep it positive. I don’t need criticized for doing things “wrong” – this isn’t the Sistine Chapel here. It’s just my little garden that I will enjoy no matter what. I hope you enjoy it, too.

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Those little bits of blue glass on the globe were glued down with E6000. It runs about $4 at Hobby Lobby and is a good, universal glue.

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Don’t you just have to have a pink flamingo or two?

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And a few Frogs and Lizards?

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Froggy has a crown made of two water bottle caps glued together, beads added and painted gold.

So now the Glass Art and Mosaic Garden is in and I sat outside last night with a glass of wine and admired my handiwork. It’s a no-water garden for sure. And by the way – the bit of greenery you see in the big blue pot is fake. You really can’t tell from any distance. It is plastic, not silk, and was purchased during a sale at Joann Fabric.

You die-hard crafters know all the shops and coupons I refer to here, so go make your own water-free garden now. It’s rain-proof, no-maintenance and winter-friendly, so what are you waiting for?

Check out my Pinterest page for lots of ideas. And thank you, Pinterest community, for sharing your ideas and expertise with me.

 

 

 

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jean Miller. --Officially divorced from "Ader" with my real name back!
    Jul 12, 2019 @ 20:33:49

    It is wonderful to see your update. You have so many creative bones in your body. 😀

    Reply

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