Crafty Summer: Mosaic Picture Frame

We geeks are nothing if not crafty. In our small ranks, we have knitters, embroiderers, beaders, photographers, printers, and graphic designers — producing a variety of items for personal enjoyment and sale. Chief Geek Dana has inspired me with her crafting posts (you see, she decorates tea tins and recently learned how to make temari balls) over at From My Wandering Mind to post on a little project I completed yesterday as a birthday present for my roommate. I encourage my fellow crafty geeks to take a couple pictures of a project they’ve completed this summer and post them here for everyone to enjoy!

To find out how it was made,

Back story: On my trip to England and Spain just a few short weeks ago, the skies opened up and stayed open; I had only three days where my umbrella received respite from its constant use. When I returned to Berlin, however, the skies were blue, the sun was shining and the weather has done nothing but get better.

With all that sun shining in our apartment windows and the threat of rain ruining my hard work at zero, it was clear that they needed a washing pronto. So I set to work in my own room, then moved on to the kitchen. It was there, in my haste to clean, that I overlooked my roommate’s favorite mug on the table’s edge. I opened the windows wide and readied my Windex — and her mug went crashing to the floor, breaking in two.

I went out and bought her a replacement, but the beautiful remains of the retired mug were simply too pretty to throw away. Knowing how much she loves those colors, I decided I would craft her something out of them for her birthday.

Over the May Day holiday, I helped a friend of mine pack up the remains of her old apartment, ending a moving process that began in January. As everyone knows, “moving” is in fact “sorting” — deciding what things to hold on to, what things to find another home for, and what things to throw away. This friend was tossing a perfectly good picture frame that just wasn’t her style. I nabbed it and brought it home for the project. The same friend lent me two books on mosaic making and gave me a package of mosaic plaster she found while packing to use as well.


+ mosaic pieces (if you don’t have a broken dish, you can buy pretty glass squares at a craft store — or use beads or beans or something else textural you have lying around)

+ base object of some sort — I used a picture frame

+ hot glue gun + glue sticks

+ mosaic plaster (no need to pay extra for a little package from the craft store — just go to the hardware store and get yourself a bag of cement or gypsum)

+ dish and spoon for mixing

+ damp sponge

+ newspaper

A quick and dirty how-to: if your dish is still in large pieces, put it in a paper bag, get out your hammer, take it outside and break it up further. Back inside, put down newspaper to protect your working surface. Remove the glass from frame. Layout the pieces on top of the frame, covering all areas as well as possible. Once you’ve finished, use your hot glue gun to secure the pieces to the frame. Give this a little while to cool. In the meanwhile, mix up your cement. Use a spoon and your fingers to fill the cement mixture in the crevices. Let this dry somewhat before using the sponge to wipe excess from the tiles. Leave to dry overnight. Again using a moist sponge, lightly remove any remaining plaster from the tiles. Shine with a paper towel. Replace glass and add picture. Your lovely frame is complete!

NB: this cement will not be waterproof; if you plan on making something that will regularly come into contact with water, you should probably consider using something more serious like grout.

— posted by poetloverrebelspy


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