New questions

jmck_ncSeptember 15, 2008

Hi all,

You were all so helpful with my first ever mosaic project that now you will be sorry!!! I have a couple of questions I can't seem to find answers for, or find contradictory answers....

1. When gluing for outdoor use what adhesive? I want to mosaic an old cement birdbath stand. Do I need to do anything special to prepare the surface?

2. What to look for in china/plates to break up. I live near Replacements (replacement china and dishware) and this weekend they are having a "yard sale". I thought I'd check them out to get some materials. Should I be looking for plates only, designs in center or edges, etc.

3. What is the most helpful book for a beginner?

4. Where do people get the bowling balls they bowling alleys just give away old ones?

Thanks for any help you can offer.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Judy!

I am a newbie on this board, too (though I think that I have posted before- been so long I can't remember!). There are so many outstanding artists here that it is hard not to be inspired (or intimidated, in my case). ;-)

I am sure that others will chime in shortly, but I will add some thoughts based on my own learning experiences.

1. Haven't done one in cement, yet, but would imagine thinset would be the adhesive of choice. Not sure, though, so I will defer to those with more experience!

2. What to look for in china/plates to break up.

This really depends on a lot of things. If you are looking for "focals" (meaning a larger pattern or image that will be the focal point of the piece), you would want to look for plates with larger images in the center (flowers, etc). They are most often in the flattest area of the plate, and can be nipped/cut out intact fairly easily. Most often this style will have a nice corresponding pattern around the edge, so you can get more bang for your buck.
I have found plates with dramatic colors or patterns to be great "background" or accent materials, as they don't require really careful nipping in order to be used. I most often go after them with a hammer when I need to release some stress, though you could nip them if you want to! When using plates or other "repurposed" materials, there is always the issue of making the pieces lie flat when you use parts of the "foot" (the rim around the bottom), or the angled rims. I am still working through this issue myself, but you can either build it up with your glue/adhesive, or use something like thinset to even out the surface. You could also leave it uneven if you like the look.
You will also want to make sure that you get the correct type of china for your project- some kinds of more delicate china are not to be used outdoors, for instance.

Other than that, I would just go for whatever takes your fancy and work from there - you can always save a great find for another project. That sounds like quite a place to shop- I have found the local Goodwill/thrift store to be a great source too.

3. What is the most helpful book for a beginner?
The FAQs have a great list of books, but I have found the library to be the most helpful. If you have one near you, just check out a stack of books and go through them- hopefully you will find one that sparks your imagination! What I have done is to find the projects that I really like, then scan or photocopy them for my "idea" book (well, overstuffed folder- I will get to it sometime!). I don't have a ton of space to work with, so I just keep the bits that interest me.

4. Where do people get the bowling balls they bowling alleys just give away old ones?
Freecycle, Craigslist, word of mouth, garage sales. I called a half dozen alleys looking for some to use, and the response was really underwhelming (and downright rude, in some cases). I have been told that you have better luck going and asking in person (and maybe taking a picture to show them what you mean?), but with two babies in two during the day, that never worked for me. ;-) I got several on Freecycle, and a few at garage sales. I still haven't done anything with most of them, but they are waiting patiently in my garden as we speak!

Good luck, and I hope that you get a lot of suggestions from the more experienced folks around here!


    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 12:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm fairly new also, but have been helped and have learned from other ?s posted and asnawered. I think the majority would say either thinset or GEII to be the choice for adhesive. Selecting designs in plates etc. is a peraonal choice. Whatever takes your eye or fits a color pallette, or makes a substrate speak to you is fair game. I have had no luck either with bowling alleys. Some I found at GS and some at thrift shops. I also have BBs growing my garden. Have other projects to do, so they are in the wings waiting. As far as the best book, I will leave that to the experts. There are probably a few good ones, so I'm sure someone can advise you. Welcome to our group and happy mosaicing.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 6:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WOW - I'm so impressed w/PGH's response, I have nothing to add. Do what she said. Thinset IS, IMO, the best adhesive for ANY outside project. I use it for the grouting process as well as adhesive. You can get colorants for cement, if you don't like the grey or white that thinset come in. Dampen your concrete birdbath w/a spray bottle b/f you apply your thinset. My favorite mosaic book is: "Mosaics - Inspiration and Original Projects for Interiors and Exteriors" by Kaffe Fassett and Candace Bahouth. You can get it used off Sounds like you're in the right place to find wonderful tesserae at Replacements. Go wild.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In total envy of you living near Replacements...wish I could tag along.

I did a cement BBath last winter, and used thinset. Yuppers, it'll work fabulous. Here's a pic:

I don't do books. I find more inspiration and information on the how-to of it all right here and from the folks over at Carl's place on any given day. It seems that those writing books seem to only touch on the basics of what the artists here have done in depth for a long time. And you NEVER seem to get the 'unique' stuff from books like we have here.

Bowling balls- I have only 3 in my possession, but got the first one from DH, and found a couple others deserted from a tenant...not sure where I got the other one. Yes, from what I understand, you CAN inquire at B-Alleys, and they'll be able to tell you how they dispose of their old ones. I've found that when people yard-sale them, they want about $20 for them, which I'm not willing to fork out.

Another thought on where to get "orbs"'s coming up on holiday season. There are usually big honkin' tacky balls at your local Walmart on the clearance rack in January. Snatch them up for little or nothing and use them! Once they are weighted down with tess, they'll do just fine!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 3:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I will chime in with my two cents worth. All the gals are right about outdoor concrete projects use thinset. You can use GEII Silicone on bowling balls. I have a penny covered bowling ball that has been outside for 5 or more years with no penny loss. I find my bowling balls at yard sales mostly. Usually they are sold with the shoes at a ridiculous price on the first day, usually I go back by and offer they $3-5 for them. Usually they take it to get the heavy thing out of the way. A lot of bowling alleys will save them for you as they usually throw the damaged balls out.
I wish I lived close to Replacements also, you are a lucky gal. I just go for what appeals to me plate wise, I like bright bold colors, so overlook the pastel and filigree and a lot of the chintz and flowers. So it is really personal preference as to what you choose. There are a lot of good tutorials on the web, google search for help. HappycraftingMosaicSupply has a lot of good tutorials on their site, especially in regard to cutting plates.
I have to agree with Slow on the book and another one at Amazon is Sonia King's book. She tells all. I look at the books, but am not a pattern type gal, so do my own thing mostly.
Good luck and we will help if we can.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 5:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Judy, hi, and welcome if I haven't said hello before! It looks like you got good advice on your questions. I've found 3 bowling balls by asking at thrift stores. At the first place they had one in the back for $2.00, and then I found 2 for $5.00 apiece but they were so anxious to get rid of them (they're heavy and bulky for them to store) they gave them to me BOTH for $5.00. They are hiding in my guest closet until I have the nerve to tell my DH I bought them. LOL He's GOT to learn to trust me. (Grin)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 8:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all the helpful info. I will check out the local thrift stores for bowling balls...I want at least two to mom wants to make one too. I guess I'll look at some books for ideas but really it seems like all the inspiration I need is right here. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions once I have all my materials ready to go!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 7:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jmck_nc, welcome!Nothing to add...they've said it all. You will get all the help you need from these wonderful folks! What a great and talented group of people! Good luck and post lots of pictures...we love pictures! Your name indicates you might be from NC? I live in Asheville, where are you from? Again, welcome.

ramona (rchovey)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 8:50AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Bonding mosaic tile to metal
Hoping for some advice here--planning a mosaic sign...
Need grout colour suggestion.
I have been working on this project through the holidays...
some mushrooms done
Hi, Here's some mushrooms that I made and mosaic'd....
Thrift Store Remake....
I thought it needed a little something extra.
"Footprints in the Sand" Mosaic
Artwork of footprints in sand usually accompanies the...
Sponsored Products
Trends Suzani Chocolate Brown Wool Rug (8'0 x 11'0)
52" Modern Fan Ball Hugger Brushed Aluminum Ceiling Fan
Euro Style Lighting
Caviar Metallic - Satin Silver White Shade Ovo Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
Barstool Arm Chair in Gray
$189.99 | Dot & Bo
Sonneman | Glass Pendants 5 Light Grand Oval Pendant Light
Professional Skincare System
$34.50 | FRONTGATE
22691 Wall Control by Hunter Fans
$28.80 | Lumens
AICO Furniture - Beverly Blvd 7 Piece Upholstered California King...
Great Furniture Deal
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™