How to Make a Mosaic Seahorse Birdbath

Form glass tiles into a seahorse shape to create this colorful birdbath.
hclvr112_1final

hclvr112_1final

Materials and tools:

14" terra cotta tray
indoor-outdoor white acrylic paint
stained glass:
- 3 shades of blue for water layers
- green or green mottled for seaweed
- yellow, yellow-orange and orange-red for the seahorse
- small bit of black or dark iridescent piece for eye
3/4" vitreous glass tiles, white and blue for the border
Weldbond PVA glue
wheeled glasscutters
black sanded grout
acrylic ad-mix for use in grout
latex gloves
eye protection
breathing mask
sponge
paper towels
1-gallon empty water or milk jug*
acrylic concrete sealer
3 foam brushes
fine-grit sandpaper

*Use as a mixing container for grout.

Steps:

  1. Clean the terra cotta tray. Seal the back and front of the tray by painting on a 50/50 mixture of PVA glue and water. Let dry overnight.
  2. Paint the inside bottom of the tray with white indoor-outdoor acrylic paint. Let dry according to paint instructions, usually about an hour.
  3. Lightly trace an appealing design onto the bottom of the tray with a pencil.
  4. Cut pieces of glass and tile to fit the design. Adhere tiles by painting tray with PVA glue using a foam brush and fill a small section at a time. Fill the entire design with glass remembering to leave about 1/8 inch spacing between the glass pieces for grout.
  5. When design is complete and covered in tile and glass, let PVA dry or cure for 24 to 48 hours.
  6. Wearing a breathing mask and gloves, mix dry grout with acrylic ad-mix. Work grout until it is about the consistency of toothpaste. With your hands, spread and push the grout down into the spaces between the glass. After the grout is spread, let sit for about 15 minutes. Remove as much grout from the surface as you can with a dry sponge. Wait another 15 minutes, then buff dry with a handful of paper towels.
  7. After grout completely cures, usually 48 to 72 hours, seal the project with concrete sealer on both the front and back. Apply two to three coats of sealer, dry in between coats. Follow instructions on packaging for drying times.

Arlene Chyke, Nashville, Tenn.

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