How to Transform Broken Crockery Into a Beautiful Piece of Yard Art

5 Materials
3 Hours

The first step is to find a laser cut wood template of something you’d like to mosaic. I chose a butterfly.

Also gather up all your broken crockery -china, saucers, cups and plates etc ready to cut.

Find a laser cut wood base

Laser cut wooden base

The crockery choice is what I had available and I begin by thinking about the colours I would like where and similar thickness to work with so it’s relatively the same height all over.

Using safety goggles is a must and round wheeled tile nippers are the easiest to use I find.

Cutting crockery with nippers

Cutting crockery with nippers

I begin by cutting the china into squarish shapes then diagonally in half for triangle shapes is the easiest to do for a beginner. The china pieces are now called tesserae.

Glue the base

Pieces of crockery cut into triangles

I use PVA glue and begin To glue around the edges of the butterfly wings.

I work all the way around sticking pieces of similar colours and well fitting pieces ( it’s like a puzzle) to form the border. It is much easier then to fill in centre with tesserae after you have created the border.

Sticking the tesserae to the base

Glue around edges

I continue filling in with the tesserae leaving a slight gap between pieces ready for the grout cement later.

Stick the tesserae on to base
Mosaic the Edges
Filling in with broken china

Next step is to grout it.

I like to use dark grey or black grout. White has the effect of separating the design and I want it to look cohesive. I use ready mixed in a tub.

I begin to apply with a strong but flexible piece of plastic. I used a piece from a washing powder box and cut to size. An old credit card also does the job well.

Put a dollop of grout in middle and work around to the edges, making sure to fill in all the little gaps.



Once the grout is covering the piece well and edges are all neat , I use the wet wipes or just as good is a damp cloth to wipe off all the excess grout.

This is where the magic happens and it is so exciting seeing your design come to life!

Cleaning off excess grout

Cleaning off excess grout
Cleaning the mosaic

I am so amazed at the beautiful butterfly mosaic with all its texture and individuality! The garden is going to just love it!

Mosaic yard art
Mosaic yard art
Mosaic yard art
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Shelli Biediger
    on May 11, 2020

    How are you sealing the wood to protect it from the elements? You didn't cover the back of the piece with grout or any kind of wood protectant/sealant that I can see. I think it's beautifully done, I fear it won't last more than a few years before pieces will fall off and the wood will warp.

  • Grace Gleason
    on May 12, 2020

    Why did you use MDF "wood" instead of real wood? It will fall apart the first time it gets really wet. And PVA glue is water soluble, so that's not good for outside. This is a beautiful piece for indoors, not the garden.

  • Joyce
    on May 17, 2020

    Will this work on ceramic

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