Design a Mosaic and Glass Butterfly Bath

Bryan Mose' shows how to create this unique butterfly bath using marbles and broken glass.

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Bryan Mose' began making butterfly baths after hearing about a South Pacific custom associating butterflies with visits from deceased loved ones. In the end, this high-energy mosaic man — who looks for any excuse to "accidentally" break some dishes — creates an elaborate bath that is completely over-the-top.

Materials and Tools:

12" terra cotta flat-sided flower pot
12-1/4" terra cotta Rosen pot
15" terra cotta saucer
2 glass orbs
15 broken ceramic tiles
marbles
Dolorian gray Hydroment sanded tile grout
Hydroment acrylic grout additive
bucket for mixing
Weldbond adhesive
ceramic tile adhesive
hammer
cloth napkin
tile nippers
small spatula
coarse sandpaper
black latex paint
2-1/2" paintbrush
StoneTech impregnator pro grout sealer
latex gloves
cellophane tape
lazy Susan
permanent black marker
bamboo skewers
safety glasses
cotton rags
bubble wrap
small mixing bowl
several 1 lb. bags of beans or similar

Steps:

1. Turn the bowl and Rosen pot upside down, placing the pot in the bowl's center. Outline the center with a marker where the bowl will later attach to the base.

2. Sand the area where the flowerpot and the Rosen pot will attach. Turn the flowerpot upside down and glue the top rim of the Rosen pot to the bottom of the flowerpot. Let dry for 72 hours or until glue is very dry. Test the glue to make sure you have a good bond.

3. Sand the entire surface of the terra cotta, base and bowl, then wipe off all the dust.

4. Turn the flowerpot upside down and paint the insides. Tile the inside bottom. Let dry for 24 hours.

5. Rough up the undersides of the orbs. Tip the base on its side, steadying it with bags of beans, and glue the orb to the center of the base with Weldbond. Use cellophane tape to secure it in place. Let dry for 72 hours or until glue is very dry.

6. Find the middle of the bowl and insert the center orb for reference. Do not glue the orb in place yet. Using ceramic tile adhesive, glue marbles around the center orb in circles, creating a starburst pattern. Sand and "butter" every marble with adhesive and put each into place. Alternate blue and green marbles. Note: In order to stick, marbles must be sanded on the side that receives adhesive. Try working on a lazy Susan so you will be able to rotate the piece without moving freshly glued marbles.

7. Mosaic the bowl's rim. Let the inside of the bowl dry for 24 hours, then flip it over and bubble wrap the covered mixing bowl. Mosaic to the center circle that was outlined earlier.

8. Once the orb is secured on the base and the glue has cured, carefully remove all of the cellophane tape.

9. Glue marbles around the orb on the base. Work in circles, creating a starburst pattern. Let dry for 24 hours.

10. Start filling in spaces with small pieces of broken tile, adding marbles as needed. Put several tiles in a cloth napkin, upside down, cover with napkin and strike with hammer. If the hammer strikes the front of the tile, it will scar the porcelain. Wear safety glasses when breaking tile. Use the tile nippers to shape the pieces. Make more small pieces than large ones. Place them with approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch gaps around each piece. Apply with ceramic tile adhesive. "Butter" each piece with ceramic tile adhesive and press them to the terra cotta to adhere. Let dry for 72 hours.

11. To grout: Wear latex gloves. Mix grout in a bucket according to directions. Use Hydroment sanded grout and Hydroment acrylic grout. This makes grout much harder when it dries than it would mixing with water. Hard grout is very important since the butterfly bath will be outside. Mix the grout to the consistency of thick cake icing. Grout the base first. Force grout into gaps with your hands. Once the grout has started to set, gently start removing excess with a paintbrush, top to bottom. Use wet cotton rags to clean grout off of all the surfaces of the broken tile and marbles. Use the bamboo skewers to scrape off any grout from around the mosaic pieces.

12. Turn the base upside down and create a lip on the bottom of the base by working the grout between your thumbs. Grout the tile inside the bottom of the pot and bowl starting on the bottom. Turn the bowl over and rest it on a small mixing bowl with bubble wrap in between the two pieces. After grouting the bottom (leave the center as clean as possible), flip over and grout the top and the side. Again, leave the center where the orb will attach as clean as possible. After the grout has cured, go back and touch up any places that need it. Let grout cure for 48 hours.

13. To blackwash: Thin black latex paint with water by about half. Brush over the entire surface of the base and buff away. Do the same to the bowl. Repeat for desired results. Let dry for 48 hours.

14. To seal the grout: Brush grout sealer over the entire surface of base and bowl. Let the seal penetrate the surface and wipe off the excess. Follow directions on the seal container. Repeat four or five times to achieve a good seal.

15. Glue the base and the center orb to the bowl with Weldbond. Let dry for 72 hours.

16. Grout, blackwash and seal the seams around the bottom of the bowl and around the center orb. Let cure for 72 hours before filling with water. Cover or bring indoors in winter. Do not let water freeze in bowl as it could easily crack. Every couple of years, give the bath a new coat of grout sealer to keep it repelling water properly.

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