Mosaic Memories  

I received 3 perfect, old Blue Willow plates as an heirloom gift.  Sadly, by the time I unpacked them after a particularly bumpy journey home, they had all broken.

I sat and cried.

I had planned to hang them in my country kitchen as a feature above my window.  As I pondered over my shattered plates and broken dreams, I realized that I could use the pieces and create mosaic kitchen items.

So, with the help of my friend who came to visit for a week, we selected my galvanized metal watering can,  vase and little metal basket, and had fun making mosaic.

Broken plates, glass tiles & galvanized items

Here’s the tutorial ~

First, smash  the plates pieces into small, similar-sized, tile-size pieces.

Protective wear is important!

  • Cover the table with a thick cloth.
  • Use protective eyewear and gloves.
  • Place the plate piece on a wooden board.
  • Use cloth or blanket to cover over the plate. This prevents shards flying all over the room.
  • Now smack the hidden plate 2 or 3 times.  This is the stress-releasing fun part of the project!
  • Look under the cloth to see if the pieces are small enough.
  • Repeat this until all the plate pieces are small and similar in size.

Sort the pieces ~

  • We sorted the pieces into colour groups – edge pieces, dark blues, geometric patterned, white and some identifiable pictures. (I didn’t want the project to look simply like a broken plate pasted on to an item.)
  • I kept complete pictures of doves and the boat as focus pieces on my watering can.

Now, glue the mosaic pieces ~

  • We used a hot glue gun to stick the pieces on to the tin ware.
  • Use gloves.  This glue causes nasty burns!
  • We found that it is best to place a dot of glue on the mosaic piece and then quickly press the piece in place.
  • Stick the edges or borders first.
  • I used blue glass tile pieces to edge my handles and top edges. (I bought a few packets for the project.)
  • If you have a feature piece or pattern, glue those pieces in place next.
  • Fill in the remaining spaces with suitable size and colour pieces.  (It is a bit random and yet feels like one is making a puzzle without having the picture)
  • Fill any larger spaces with smaller tiles.

Now for the grout ~

  • I used white grout and mixed it according to the directions on the packet.
  • It should spread easily and not drip, yet be firm enough to stay level especially on the edges.
  • Grout all the spaces between the mosaic pieces using a wooden ice-cream stick or a butter knife.
  • Wait a few hours and wipe the excess grout off the tiles with a damp sponge.
  • I left my watering can too long and had to scrape the grout off with a metal scraper and it was really difficult!
  • Buff the mosaic tiles with a clean, dry, soft cloth.

Ta-Da! Finished!

You can spray grout protector on your competed products or varnish the items if they will be exposed outdoors.

My marvelous plates are on daily view and in use.

My Blue Willow Watering Can

I store all my spatulas and cooking tools in the vase on the stove and enjoy the watering can and basket on my window sill.

Blue Willow Mosaic Vase

Now … I just don’t know how I will explain what happened to those beautiful Blue Willow plates …

(Update: I confessed the broken plates to my Mom-in-Love and she was grateful that I had re-purposed the pieces into these beautiful items and that they are on display in my kitchen.)

See the original post and comments here.)

8 thoughts on “Mosaic Memories  

  1. Thanks for the great tutorial on mosaics. I would love to start doing this and had no idea where to start. What a great idea to hold on to some beloved plates.


  2. Thank you for sharing this with us. I have inherited a lot of blue willow cups & saucers. I knew that I could use them to make mosaics but had no idea how to start. Your tutorial gives me the courage to try it.


  3. Nadene,
    Your site is amazing! I found it through Pinterest. I am going to use so many of your things for school. But I also appreciate the broken dish project for a personal use. It is so kind of you to share your talent and creativity.


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