A bird bath in white mosaic

I use a lot of old crockery for mosaics and have saved up broken plates for years. But it is always the pretty bits that gets used. I wanted to make an object using only the blank white pieces. 

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MATERIALS:

  • SNOWCRETE (white cement)
  •  kiln dried sand
  • broken crockery
  • Spray bottle with water in
  • Safety googles
  • Mask
  • Plastic gloves
  • Plastic sheet to protect the floor
  • Plastic bin bag
  • Old towel

The first thing you have to do is a sand mound. Decide how deep you want your birdbath and mould that shape. Then you can start squeezing crockery into the sand surface. Spray water on the sand if they don’t stick in place. Try and match your pieces up as tightly as you can.

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Don’t forget that you are turning your crockery pieces up side down. The side facing the sand mound, is the side that will be visible later on. Be careful with the edges, you want them to look good!

Mix your concrete. You need to use one part Snowcrete to two parts sand. Start with stirring the two together well before adding the water. Add small quantities of water at a time. It is easy to make concrete to thin. Aim for the consistency of a solid porridge. You don’t need a large mix. It is heavy work mixing concrete in great quantities, but very easy in small batches.

Be safe. It is important to use googles, a mask and plastic gloves. Breathing in the concrete is dangerous and it can burn your skin and damage your eyes.  I always read the manufacturers safety data sheet for further instructions and I advise you to do the same. Be careful as you handle it in both powder and wet form.

Plop it on little by little. You don’t want to disturb the pieces as you go along, so be light handed.

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Keep an eye on the thickness. A birdbath doesn’t need to be nimble, It needs stability.

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It needs to be wrapped up in plastic so not to dry tot quickly. Concrete dries harder if it dries slowly. Wrapping it  up the concrete air tight as it cures, will add a few days to the process and therefor increase the quality and strength of your final piece. Leave it for a minimum of four days, lift it off and scrub it clean. Most of the sand will come off, but it will look a bit rough at this stage.

Concrete dries out your skin. It can also still be curing even if it is hard to touch. Curing concrete can corrode your skin and cause serious burns.  Therefor you should always wear your plastic gloves as you remove items from moulds, sand them, scrape them or handle them. 

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The edges will be uneven and the crockery sharp. What you need is a layer of grout. Mix the grout with a little extra sand. I use 1 part snowcrete to 3 parts sand. Slop it on, rub it in and remove the excess with a towel. Use the grout to sculpt the edges smooth. It is not hard, but takes a little patience.

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Wrap it back into plastic when you are happy and let it dry slowly.

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