Sample Project From Crafting a Colorful Home

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Crafting a Colorful Home

I have a weakness for dishes, and on each trip I take, I usually find a potter who makes colorful pots and bring some home. I also collect old dishes in pretty colors and patterns from flea markets and yard sales. When they break, I cannot bear to throw them out. I began saving them at least a decade ago, stashing them in the basement in the hopes of using them for mosaic work. I have been intrigued by the pique assiette technique, which uses shards of broken dishes to make new things—whether they’re new vases or pots, walls, or buildings. To find out more about the art of mosaics, do some Web searches using these key words: Maison Picassiette, Antoni Gaudí mosaic, Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village, the Little Chapel, Guernsey. You, too, will be inspired to save your broken dishes!

Making a mosaic-covered flowerpot is a messy project best done outside or in a space that can get wet and dirty. Give yourself several days to complete this project. First you will break your dishes into small pieces called shards. With a gluelike substance called mastic, you will attach them to the pot. Finally, you will fill the empty spaces with grout, which will hold them onto the pot.

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Crafting a Colorful Home by Kristin Nicholas

Published by Roost Books

Knit, stitch, and paint your way to a more colorful and happy home with color expert and crafter Kristin Nicholas.

     Learn how to make your home sing through handmade crafts and a bold use of color. Kristin Nicholas, color expert and all-around master crafter, shares her secrets to selecting colors and patterns and explores the variety of crafts and decorating touches that have made her home so unique. Going room by room, Kristin uses her own 1751 farmhouse as a leaping-off point for craft projects perfect for every space. You'll find a range of step-by-step projects to make your home cozy and bright, including knit pillows, embroidered curtains, crocheted blankets, and painted lampshades. Along the way, Kristin also shares DIY techniques on refinishing furniture, faux finishing walls, mural painting, and recycling wool clothes. Full of inspiration, and with vibrant photographs throughout, this is a complete guide to creating a home that reflects your own handmade style.

© 2018 Kristin Nicholas / Roost Books · Reproduced with permission. · From Crafting a Colorful Home by Kristin Nicholas, © 2015 by Kristin Nicholas. Photographs © 2015 by Rikki Snyder. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA.


  • How to make a mosaic vase. Mosaic Flower Pots - Step 1
    Step 1

    Cover your work surface with towels or a dropcloth.

  • How to make a mosaic vase. Mosaic Flower Pots - Step 2
    Step 2

    Wearing safety goggles and gloves, wrap your broken pottery in a towel and hit it with a hammer hard enough to break it up but not so hard as to smash it into smithereens.

  • How to make a mosaic vase. Mosaic Flower Pots - Step 3
    Step 3

    Use the tile nippers to shape the broken ceramic and china shards into smaller pieces. Place the nipper blades no more than ¼ inch from the edge of the shard and squeeze to break the shard into smaller pieces. The shards should be between ½ and 1½ inches in diameter. If they are any larger, it is difficult to cover the convex surface of the pot. Sort your shards by color.

  • Step 4

    Clean and dry your pot before working with it. If it’s an older pot that has had dirt and plants in it, use bleach to clean it.

  • How to make a mosaic vase. Mosaic Flower Pots - Step 5
    Step 5

    Wearing rubber gloves, apply a layer of mastic about ¼ inch thick to the terra cotta pot with an artist’s palette knife or a putty knife. Work a 5-inch-square section at a time.

  • How to make a mosaic vase. Mosaic Flower Pots - Step 6
    Step 6

    Coat the back of your pottery shard with mastic and firmly push it onto the mastic on the pot. When working with rounded shards from bowls or pitchers, decide on which side you want to feature. Typically bowls are highly decorated on the inside or convex shape of the piece and pitchers are decorated on the outside or concave shape. Either shape can be applied to the pot, but when applying concave shapes, fill the entire opening with mastic to attach it.

  • How to make a mosaic vase. Mosaic Flower Pots - Step 7
    Step 7

    The spacing between the different-sized and -shaped shards will vary, but aim for ¼- to 1 3-inch spacing.

  • How to make a mosaic vase. Mosaic Flower Pots - Step 8
    Step 8

    Wipe away any excess mastic that has oozed out from under the shards.

  • How to make a mosaic vase. Mosaic Flower Pots - Step 9
    Step 9

    Continue until your entire pot is covered with shards. You can make patterns with the pieces by arranging them by color or in stripes.

  • How to make a mosaic vase. Mosaic Flower Pots - Step 10
    Step 10

    I work half the pot one day and the other half the next day. Let it dry overnight or for several days.

  • How to make a mosaic vase. Mosaic Flower Pots - Step 11
    Step 11

    The pot can be grouted as soon as the mastic is dry, or later. It doesn’t matter. Wearing gloves, scoop up a small amount of grout with your fingers and slather it into the spaces between the shards. Build up the grout over the sharp edges of the concave pieces of tile. Try not to get too much grout on the pottery shards so that cleaning the finished surface will be easier. Work a small section at a time. Using a wet sponge, smooth out the grout, taking care not to remove too much of it. Let it dry overnight. When working a larger pot, I grout a small section each day.

  • How to make a mosaic vase. Mosaic Flower Pots - Step 12
    Step 12

    When the grout is dry, clean off any grout residue on the surface of the shards with a Scotch-Brite scouring pad.

  • How to make a mosaic vase. Mosaic Flower Pots - Step 13
    Step 13

    Let the pot dry completely for at least a week before filling with potting soil and plants. In the winter, remove the soil and store the pot indoors or under cover.

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