The ancient art of mosaic-making provides the perfect way to bring your worn-out garden décor back to life. By covering an old birdhouse with colorful pieces of tile, pottery and glass, you can give an old favorite a new, creative look. The finished product is durable and weatherproof, so you won’t have to worry about your hard work getting ruined in the first rainstorm. Before you know it, you’ll be covering everything in your backyard with colorful tile pieces.
Find a birdhouse with a shape you love. If you don’t have one already, look at thrift stores and yard sales for one that catches your eye. As long as it has a sturdy construction, you don’t have to worry about what the outside looks like.
Clean the surface of the birdhouse to remove any dirt or rust. If the birdhouse is wooden, spray it with a waterproof coating to keep the wood from warping.
Look through books, magazines and websites to get ideas for the mosaic pattern. Once you settle on a design, gather old tiles, pottery or dishes in the colors and patterns you plan to use.
Draw your design onto the outside of the birdhouse. This sketch will serve as a guideline to make sure your pattern turns out as planned.
Wrap individual dishes or tiles pieces in an old towel and break with a hammer. The number of strikes will depend on what size pieces you need for your mosaic. Use tile nippers for more precise cuts. If you have a piece with a pattern you would like to preserve, tape the surface of your object with clear packing tape before you break it to help keep the pieces in order. Always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from stray pieces of glass.
Mix a few cups of thinset tile mortar in a disposable container according to the instructions on the package. Don’t prepare more than you intend to use during a brief period of time, because you can’t store the mortar after you’ve mixed it,
Spread a layer of mortar on the back of your first tile piece using a craft stick or plastic knife. Gently press the piece onto the surface of the birdhouse. Repeat this process until the entire birdhouse is covered. Leave spaces of 1/8th of an inch between each piece.
Allow the mortar to set according to the manufacturer’s directions. Check the tiles to make sure they are firmly in place before you attempt to apply the grout.
Mix the grout according to the directions on the package. Use a spatula, grouting tool or gloved hand to spread the grout across the surface of the birdhouse. Your new mosaic will have a number of exposed sharp pieces, so don’t use your bare fingers. Work the grout into each crack in the mosaic.
Wipe away the excess grout with a damp rag. Use a sponge to smooth the cracks between each tile piece. Allow the birdhouse to dry for 48 hours.
Coat the finished mosaic with clear tile sealant. Apply two coats for optimum protection.