Cement Mosaic Box
Follow these step-by-step instructions to make a mosaic box using cement as a grout.
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Project by Lori Mitchell from San Diego, Calif.
Lori Mitchell loves to go to flea markets with her friends. It's the place where she finds her broken plates, old board game pieces, beads, jewelry and other trinkets to create her mosaics. But to make her boxes a bit more unique and distinctive she uses cement as a grout.
broken plate pieces (no bigger than 1") *
star-shaped pony beads
Oriental Trading Co. world key chain
wooden beads (for feet)
pre-mixed concrete patch cement
4-3/4" x 4-3/4" x 2-1/2" wooden box
Huls America Cal-Tint tinting colorant
wooden flat stars or hearts, assorted sizes
craft knife or tweezers
4 approx. 1" x 4-3/4" cardboard strips
1" x 1" black velvet
Crafter's Pick the Ultimate glue
* Put plates in a brown paper bag; put on safety glasses and use a hammer to pound the plates and brake up into small pieces. Works best on pavement.
1. Tape cardboard strips around the top of the box, leaving about 3/4 inch above the box. Tape all around the outside edge. Make sure to mark the top edge of the box so you put the objects on going in the right direction.
2. Arrange all the plate pieces in a square drawn out the same size at the box top. Don’t get too attached to your arrangement because it always changes, but at least you have a good feel for what will fit.
3. Scoop out a few large spoonfuls of cement with an old spoon. Fill the top and scrape off with a cardboard strip to get the top even. Tap the box to get out air bubbles. The cement comes in a gray color, but you can add colorant to change it. You could also add paint to tint it.
4. Put the most important parts in first so you know they will fit; then work around those with the rest of your pieces.
5. Once all the pieces are down, find the areas that need beads. Have your beads ready to go in the colors you choose. Pick up beads with a craft knife or tweezers and place into cement.
6. Let the cement dry for 5 to 7 days. Put the box somewhere where you are not tempted to take the cardboard off early. If you unwrap it early, it may fall part.
7. Once it’s dry, peel off the cardboard. Use a sponge to get the bits of cardboard off the cement. Then paint the sides and interior.
8. Paint the wooden stars or hearts; let dry and then glue onto the sides.
9. Paint wooden beads for the feet. Let dry. They can be screwed on or glued on.
10. Cut out a pattern for the inside of the bottom of the box. Put the pattern on the velvet and cut to fit. Spray with spray mount and set into place.