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

Susan Goode
by Susan Goode
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.

Laser cut wooden base
Find a laser cut wood 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.

Pieces of crockery cut into triangles
Glue the base

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.

Glue around edges
Sticking the tesserae to the base

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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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 6 questions
  • Joyce Joyce on May 17, 2020

    Will this work on ceramic

  • Lil29933086 Lil29933086 on Jul 14, 2021

    Can you tint white grout black with paint or food coloring?

  • Leslie Leslie on Jul 03, 2022

    Hi Susan, I was trying to figure out what you used for the body of the butterfly, I am thinking it is grout and you let it dry before grouting the whole mosaic?? This came out beautifully and thank you so much for sharing and taking the time to answer.

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