Friday, January 28, 2011

How To Make Concrete Mosaic Garden Art Ball

You can make very fun garden art using found objects and scrap glass.

This post details how I made the garden ball pictured above, using a glass globe from an old pendant light fixture. You likely don't have one of those handy :) , but a little thinking outside the box and you can come up with other unique 'molds' to make bases for your own personalized garden art.

First- some general supplies:
  • Some sort of 'mold'. Ideas- glass bottles, plastic containers such as milk bottles, takeout food containers... IMPORTANT: If you use a plastic form, you must have an opening wide enough for the cured concrete to be removed through. For milk jugs, cut off the entire top before adding concrete mix. The opening needs to be as wide as the widest part of your shape.
  • concrete mix
  • eye protection!, hammer, prying tools
  • glass nippers
  • scrap stained glass- often local stained glass shops will sell scrap by the pound or ebay and etsy both often will have listings for scrap.
  • thin set mortar
  • grout
Before adding concrete mix, I lightly coated the inside of the shape with a mold release- Vaseline but cooking spray will work in a pinch.

Add concrete mix slowly and tap occasionally (with your hand!) to raise air pockets. Don't want to break that glass yet! If your shape includes thinner sections, you will want to reinforce them with hardware cloth sections embedded in the center. See my stepping stone instructions.

If you use a plastic form, you can unmold, carefully, usually after one day.

If you use glass, WAIT a minimum of 10 days for the concrete to cure before breaking glass. Full cure is at 30 days.

Be sure to wear eye protection when breaking the glass off! I used both the hammer and the knob end of a glass scorer to break the glass in sections. Old dental tools and flat blade screwdrivers worked well to pry off sections.

Now that you have your blank concrete 'canvas', have fun creating!! I used the glass I removed to make the white flowers on my garden ball. They were especially pleasing to work with because the glass was curved and fit nicely back on the ball. I used thin set mortar to attach my glass. This is a weather friendly glue though if you live in a freeze zone, mosaic art lasts longer if brought inside in winter.

For adding flat glass to curved sections, smaller pieces fit around the curves better- and are less hazardous! Use extreme care when handling your piece as there will likely be sharp exposed points and edges. Grouting will minimize this.


I don't just play with concrete!! 

See my Etsy MosaicSmith shop for available mosaic art:


I make original design sterling silver jewelry too!!


cconz said...

Very cool, love your beautiful creation. Thanks for sharing!

. said...

Lovely creation....and step by step very interesting....So thanks for sharing for us. This is very good! ;-) Joe - Brazil

Linda Smith said...

Thanks so much Cathie and Joe!

Dos Manos said...

I've been looking all over for a "Garden Ball" I could mosaic (can't use bowling balls here because of freeze/thaw cycles). This is the perfect answer...make my own. So simple! Thanks you so much!


Deni. said...


ericablueeyes said...

I am in love with this project! I can't wait to make one of my own, thanks to your step-by-step! Thank-you!

Linda Smith said...

Have fun creating!!

Unknown said...

Would it not be possible to simply silicon your design onto the glass light fixture and grout? Do you need to do a pour and break the light fixture?
I imagine you would have to avoiid areas of the country where there is a freeze/thaw issue, correct?

Linda Pieroth Smith said...

Hi Sue, Yes, silicone to add material directly to glass, then grout, would be another way when using a glass shape. At the time I made this, I was experimenting with concrete. Concrete is also heavier and less affected by wind. (If your container is plastic or some other material that has flex, it will look fine initially but the flex will eventually cause grout cracking.) And either way, I'd err on the side of caution and bring mosaics inside in winter. Thanks for asking and happy mosaicing :)