A Metal Journey!

You must be wondering why I choose the word “Journey”, the truth is that when I first started this project I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I will confess that a couple of times I felt like I had bitten more than I could chew, but I stuck to it and I LOVE it! Originally I thought it would take me 1 week to finish the project; one week turned into 1 month, but I didn’t touch it for a whole week while my son was sick and I only worked on it during “breaks” so it’s really hard to pin point an exact time frame. I will share with you my process but there might be a few tricks I missed since this is my first “mosaic” experience! So let’s get to it!

I had bought this vase 6 years ago, it worked then (we had 2 small puppies that loved to run around and we needed something that wouldn’t break), but we outgrew it and hid it in a corner. I thought of giving it away but then I realized that a was only going to end up buying a new one for the new house. I looked for ideas and though I like mosaics, I don’t like the “busy look” most of them have. I like clean looks with pizazz, hence the reason why I’m going for a Coastal look for the new house. I figured; “I can do a mosaic! but I’ll do it my way! less tiles, more grout, it’s be perfect!”, and by looking at a couple of DIY picture tutorials (yes, I did not read the instructions!), I decided I was ready and equipped to handle the task like a pro! …Silly me, I didn’t know what I was getting into!


Keeping to the theme of reusing what I already have, I skiped the mosaic tiles from the craft store and used CD’s cut into pieces. Least expensive, more time consuming. I did learn a lot from working on CD’s: not all CD’s are created equal, cheap is really cheap (they crack and they peal: not good), and they are remarkably tough. I separated them into colors and decided on a design, luckily enough the vase was filled with those dollar store beads that are flat on one side, so I incorporated them into the design.


I printed some sea gulls from my computer and traced them onto the vase, then I started placing my pieces. I used E6000 glue only because I was working on metal and other glues don’t grip as well. It stinks, it’s strong, it’s consider a carcinogen (if inhailed or digested) but it works fast and great! Do use it outside, it really does stink.



I didn’t use any specific drawing to design the top and bottom of the vase, I just went with the flow! Since the bead are tinted clear glass, I had to paint the areas where the beads would be glued with acrylic white paint in order to hide the dark brown metal.


Then after all the pieces where in place it was time to grout! The craft store does sell grout, I’m unsure whether is less “tough” than the hardware one. I simply got the one from Home Depot (in Pure White) because it had more for less. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking but I thought that grouting would be a breeze! well, it turn out to be the most time consuming part since grout needs time to cling to metal! I couldn’t take pictures of this process since my hands where all “grouty”! But it was something new, challenging but fun. Usually you use a flat spatula to work with grout, but that was not feasible in my case because of the shape of my vase. It was a lot easier to apply the grout with my hands, and it sort of worked like clay once it was moist. In order to let it set/dry, I laid the vase down and did one side, waited a day for it to fully dry, and then did the other side. This process is really not hard at all if you are doing a full mosaic, it was challenging for me because I was basically covering the inter vase in grout not tiles!

Once it was all dried up, I was totally overwhelmed! Grout can be messy, and all I could see was the clean up work ahead of me. I kept thinking to myself: “I hope this comes out or this was a waste of time”! This is when I realized I might had over estimated the project (you think!).


After some good old grout cleaning, I finally saw the light! The beads and the “tiles” showed the design beautifully and it was coming together! It took me nearly 3 hours to clean it up, my hands were exhausted but I was razing against time determined to finish before Jaden woke up from his nap!


After another full day of drying, it was up to the finishing touches: some twine for the handles and bottom of the vase. I was totally amazed how the twine gave it more life!


This baby looks great! Yes it is “rough”, it has a lot of texture, but that is exactly what I was going for. I can’t wait to display it with curly willow branches in my new home!



With only $15 dollars of materials this $29.99 six year old vase from Wal-Mart now looks like a work of art! What you think?!


2 responses to “A Metal Journey!

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