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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!).

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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?!

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2 responses to “A Metal Journey!

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