Introduction: Broken China Flower Pot
What do you usually do with a china cup or plate when you break it? If you are like most people, it goes into the trash. But if you are me or someone who likes to make treasure out of trash then you save it and make a beautiful mosaic for the garden. I often use upcycled pots from garage sales or thrift stores and also glass gems to add a little sparkle to my project. Even the thinset and grout I will find on Craiglsist or Nextdoor from someone who has it leftover from a tile project and wants to go to good use. I also use tile I picked up from a tile store that would normally be going to the landfill, all for free. The only cost for this project was 50 cents for the flower pot and maybe 10 cents worth of glass gems procured at a garage sale.
This Instructable utilizes all of these components and uses “Trash” to make a treasured flower pot. This is just a small version as I often make larger flower pots, as shown at the end of the Instructable. Follow along with me and I will show you how you can take trash to make your own treasure.
· Clay flower pot of any size
· Broken china pieces from different plates and cups including cup handles
· Glass gems of any color
· Small tiles
· Grout sealer
· Wheeled glass nippers for cutting china ( not necessary but handy)
· Dust mask for mixing thinset and grout
· Protective eyewear for cutting china
· Plastic spoons for mixing grout and thinset
· Small paintbrush ( for sealing pot beforehand)
Step 1: Seal the Pot and Layout
Although I have skipped this step in the past, your project will last longer if you seal the pot before you start. Use 1:4 ratio of Weldbond ( or other white glue) to water and mix in a small bowl or container. Seal both inside and outside of pot and allow to dry.
Choose the china pieces you want to use and while wearing protective eyewear, cut to small pieces with the wheeled nippers appropriate to the size pot. Next lay out your design on paper with a rough outline of the pot size so it will give you a general idea what the pot will look like. I used 2 small teacup handles to attach on the sides so I laid those out as well with some glass gems. I also added some small tiles at the bottom for interest.
Step 2: Thinset the China and Gems
Now you are going to start attaching the components. Mix a small amount of thinset ( whatever color you have ) with water and stir to a brownie batter consistency. Let set for 10 minutes. Stir again and you are ready to go.
Start with the pot upside down and attach the top china pieces and glass gems. They tend to slide down so I will usually do this part and let it set for a day. Since I was also putting handles on, I filled the handles with plenty of thinset and attached to the pot and secured with masking tape to hold it while it dries. The china doesn’t need very much thinset but I tend to overdo it to make sure the pieces will stay on. The excess should be taken off with a long bamboo skewer or other small tool before it dries. In this instance I also attached the small tiles at the bottom since they are lightweight and don’t tend to move very much. Let everything set for at least 12 to 24 hours. Finish attaching the rest of the china pieces and let dry another 24 hours. Just before grouting I usually look over the surface and remove any thinset that is protruding too high and scrape it down with a small screwdriver so that it will not show after grouting.
Step 3: Grout Your Flower Pot
While wearing a dust mask and gloves pour a small amount of your grout color of choice ( I use sanded as the grout lines can be wide in some spots and sanded is stronger) into a disposable container ( sour cream or cottage cheese containers are good) and slowly add water until you have a brownie batter consistency. The grout should just barely fall off the plastic mixing spoon. Let set 10 minutes. Stir and you are ready to go.
I use a small spatula and start applying the grout to the pot, rubbing into the crevices with your fingers. Make sure everything is covered and scrape off the excess. Let set about 20 minutes and then use a wrung out sponge and wipe off the excess. Don’t use too much water as it can pull out the grout. I often use a blue shop paper towel to wipe the surface so it doesn’t get too much water. Wipe and smooth the grout surface with the sponge, wringing out in a small bucket of water. I doesn’t have to be completely cleaned off and can have a haze that will be removed later. Let set about 90 minutes. Now take a piece of old t shirt material and buff the surface until you get the desired look. Depending on the brand of grout sealer you use, it will have to sit usually about 48 hours before sealing.
Do not dump the water in the bucket down the drain as it will collect in the drain and eventually clog. Instead let the grout settle to the bottom for a couple days and then the mostly clear water can be dumped somewhere in the dirt and the bottom of the bucket scraped off with a putty knife into the trash. Clean the bucket with old newspaper and dispose of in the trash.
Step 4: Apply Sealer
Apply sealer with small piece of t shirt material and then wipe off excess with another cloth after 5 minutes. Although the sealer in not essential, it does help protect against staining over time. Let the sealer set for 24 hours.
Now your treasure is ready to add a beautiful plant and can be placed indoors or outdoors. Now wait for the compliments.
Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Contest