Sometimes it's ok to break a dish (or two)...

July 18th, 2009 in blog, projects     
shabbychick Kathy Stantz, contributor
27 users recommend

This one is way too pretty to go rolling down the gutter (thats where mine usually end up!).  A scene from a broken teapot and pieces and parts of the bottom made a perfect base.
This one reminds me of my Grandmas dishes.  Almost wish I hadnt sold it!
Terri made this one - dont you love the whimsical dragonfly she created?
Heres the beach ball...  I wont be throwing this one to anyone (its the only 14 pound beach ball Ive ever seen!).
A little closer - this one is my favorite!  I sold one like this - but am going to hold on to this one.
I did this one for my daughter while she was in college - very durable surface (an absolute must for college use).  (Its now being stored in my basement until she has somewhere to put it - with all those other things...ha ha!)
Used some ceramic tiles on this - and broke them to fit!
A cute two-tiered stand - A couple pastel floral plates fit just right!
Everybody loves roses, right?
This sweet little childs hutch turned out so cute.  I used some chipped flow blue plates and a trivet for the centerpiece.
Isnt she the sweetest little thing you ever saw?
A little three-legged stool - using more of the flow blue china.  And a crystal on the handle for a bit o bling!
This one is way too pretty to go rolling down the gutter (thats where mine usually end up!).  A scene from a broken teapot and pieces and parts of the bottom made a perfect base.

This one is way too pretty to go rolling down the gutter (that's where mine usually end up!).  A scene from a broken teapot and pieces and parts of the bottom made a perfect base.

Well....I'm in the midst of getting ready for a garage sale (which is long overdue...), and one of the "piles" I've sorted through are a bunch of old plates...which have been collected with mosaic work in mind.  I did my first one a few years ago, and you know how it is when you're new into some kind of project and/or idea, and you go a little overboard collecting pieces and parts for your newest junk venture???  I know it's got to be more than just me...ha ha!  Anyway...I don't need to tell you...but I'm getting rid of "a lot" that I didn' really need!!

But, I then decided to look back at a few pieces that I've done - so thought I'd share.  The first few were bowling balls in their former life - they're so much happier now!  The one that I did with seashells and sea glass was the easiest - just glob the grout on the ball and stick 'em in (kind of like they're buried in the sand) - no wiping off necessary - and then finished off with a light sprinkling of sand from the Sunshine State (I always bring back a little for projects...)!

The rest are tabletops or stools.  They're fun to do - and each one is definitely one-of-a-kind!


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posted in: blog, projects, vintage, tabletop, cottage, artwork, furniture, mosaic, china, bowling ball

Comments (25)

junkinator writes: Your mosaics are beautiful, especially the bowling balls. Since most thrift store bowling balls are dark colors, this is a great way to give them a pretty 'face lift!' I've been stockpiling broken ceramics for of these days...
Anita Posted: 9:54 pm on September 30th
frstyfrolk writes: I am like you when you started , I have a binful of china to break up and use, but have not started it yet.

Your projects are awesome. I would say you are a master at it and can do whatever your desire. Of course, I adore the dragonfly as that is ME! Your tables and cabinet are wonderful. Thanks for the idea of the beach ball. And I have a bowling ball just sitting in my garden waiting to get done.

Many thanks for the ideas and prodge to get me going!

SMiles, Cyndi Posted: 10:30 am on August 25th
Stanforth writes: I love these piecees and they are so fun to do. I use tub caulk as a glue and it lasts for a long time. Not damaged by rain but I'm not sure how many times it could freeze and thaw.

Nancy Posted: 1:37 pm on August 5th
shabbychick writes: Thanks everybody! Hoping to see some of your mosaic projects posted soon!

eveh - I looked at your bowling ball covered in pennies - it's very cool!

Barbara - thanks for the hint about coloring the grout - I'll have to try that.

Connie - have you tried tile adhesive? I think that should hold the pieces in place for you...let me know.

Kathy Posted: 10:08 pm on July 27th
Cjsweeney writes: Love your mosaic work, I have been doing this type of work off and on the past couple of years and I have done a few bird house's. I am having a problem finding a GLUE that won't let loose after a while Can You recommend ONE??????????????????????????????????? Thanks Connie Posted: 4:49 pm on July 27th
lguajardo writes: Just love, love, your pieces. I bought a set of dishes at an auction last year to use...and some of them are chipped....but they are so colorful that I want to do a mosaic table. Have the dishes, have the table, now all I need is the time.
Is it very hard to do? Never have done mosaic but love the look. Posted: 2:08 pm on July 24th
bitsandpieces writes: Way to go Kathy! Im going to try using a beach ball instead of a bowling ball.####'s A good way to keep the dishes you break in order is to put it between two pieces of contact paper, then smash it with hammer. I also use a lot of popsicle sticks (craft sticks) for spreading glue. I mix my grout in baggies and use paint to color it in the mix. You can also color the grout after the projet is complete, the paing will not stick to glass or dishes but will color the grout and seal it. Barbara Posted: 9:38 pm on July 21st
eveh writes: Back in 2002 or around that time, I belonged to a group called Garden Junk on MSNBC. It has been taken down now but we did hundreds of bowling balls covered in all sorts of things. I covered one in pennies, those half marbles from the craft store, and old jewelry. One girl even covered hers with nails, gluded on upside down so the sharp point stuck out. She called him Spike...yes we named them. LOL It was an addiction But my favorite of all was the mosiac ones.

Your pieces are beautiful. I love Terri's dragonfly. The colors are so pretty. That table needs to come to my house. LOL Below is a pic of my Ladybug Bowling Ball. Posted: 8:47 pm on July 21st
RustyDiva writes: I've been out of town for a week and wow have the projects filled in. I'm still trying to catch up. These are beautiful Kathy - my fave is the Hutch. I like your style girlie! Thanks for sharing.
Kenda Posted: 2:06 pm on July 21st
byabpryor writes: Beautifully done... I am always afraid to start.. but you have given me renewed hope... Nice job! Posted: 11:40 am on July 21st
shabbychick writes: Stellaluna,

Here are some thoughts (I'm sure others have some tips too - please share!!! We can all use a little help from our friends!!)

Breaking: I put my plate, tile, etc.. in a box wrapped in a towel (so, in breaking, pieces don’t fly…). (And, check it each time you hit it - to maybe pull out pieces that are the size you want...). If you want the piece/design to stay intact, (before breaking) I’d cover the back side with masking or duct tape to hold the pieces together, so you’re not trying to figure out what goes where…(or even take a picture of it before breaking). (Be sure to wear safety glasses when breaking and/or using tile snips.)

Some basic supplies:

Gloves (use when breaking glass)
Safety glasses (use when breaking glass)
-Tile snips (for plates or tile) (can be used to cut in more uniform pieces – try this on a practice piece to see how it works. I cover the piece with a cloth while I'm cutting it.)
-Tile adhesive (to put the pieces in place prior to grouting)
-Tile grout (sanded) (this can also be used as the adhesive instead of tile adhesive)
-Grout sealant (optional)
-File (to file down sharp edges – if necessary)


You can lay your pieces out on the tabletop (or whatever surface you choose), and use the grout and/or adhesive to stick pieces in place…allow to dry, and then start filling spaces with grout.

After applying grout, be sure to wipe tile/pieces with a damp cloth before grout dries on surface (follow directions on container).

If you’re doing a bowling ball – be sure to clean the surface well (to get rid of oil from the bowling alley – if it was in the gutter a lot – like mine is...there will be more oil on the surface - haha) – I use soap and water, and then rubbing alcohol - you could even sand it a bit.

To work on it, I place it on a stand of some sort (I have a metal candle stand that I use - for a large candle.) – this will help hold it in place. I also put a towel over the stand (provides a bit of a cushion for it to rest on – it helps protect the pieces that you’ve already adhered to the surface as you turn it.). Allow an area to dry well (I let mine sit overnight) – and then you can move it to begin on a new area. This process takes a few days – if you move it too soon, pieces will slide and/or fall off. (Again, be sure to clean the grout off the surface of your tiles with a damp cloth after its “set up” a bit.)

Good luck with your mosaic - hope to see it in a future post!

Posted: 10:49 am on July 21st
stellaluna writes: These are fabulous and I'm so envious of your talent. I had a favorite plate hanging on my wall and my parrot flew into it and broke it. I tried unsuccessfully to glue it but saved it anyway with the idea that I could try turning it into a mosaic, although I've never attempted this before. I'm comfortable creating a layout or design once broken, but am afraid to try to break the glued plate into pieces for fear that I might ruin it so it won't be usable. Any tips? Also, any tips on the basic materials a beginner like me should stock up on? Thanks for any suggestions. Posted: 9:14 pm on July 20th
stellaluna writes: These are fabulous and I'm so envious of your talent. I had a favorite plate hanging on my wall and my parrot flew into it and broke it. I tried glueing it back together but it's missing some pieces and doesn't look right. So I saved it and now have one broken piece to work with but I've never done mosaics before. I'm comfortable creating a layout or design but am afraid to try to break the glued plate into pieces for fear that I might ruin it so it won't be usable. Any tips? Also, any tips on the basic materials a beginner like me should stock up on? I have a small candlestick table that I got at an auction for $1 which needs a new top and I was thinking of covering that. It would be just the right size. Thanks for any suggestions. Posted: 9:09 pm on July 20th
shabbychick writes: Thanks for your comments!

Jim - if you send broken plates, no need to mark the package "fragile" - the damage has already been done, right? :)

Janis...I wish you were going to be there too!!! We'll work it out one of these days (promise!!)

Thanks LuAnn - I'm thrilled to be a part of this very talented group!

Gretchen - I'm looking forward to seeing your "beach" ball!!

Take care all!

Kathy Posted: 3:56 pm on July 20th
MimiToria writes: Beautiful post Kathy! I have a bowling ball that is waiting to be embellished. My basement has 2 totes filled with china and goodies with good intentions to do mosaic with, and need to unload a bunch of it at a garage sale as well. I guess I had the same bug you had, "the over anxious one". lol
Love your bowling balls, and especially the beachy themed one. It would be a great use of my much collected seashells and beach glass.
Gretchen Posted: 9:53 pm on July 19th
LuAnn writes: Kathy--these are great but what's even better--I just noticed you're a "contributor" congrats!!!

LuAnn Posted: 2:03 pm on July 19th
JunkArchitect writes:
What a great bunch of projects. You’re a talented girl Kathy. My kids smash a plate a week so I’ll send you the pieces.


Posted: 1:33 pm on July 19th
fellowjunker writes: Kathy,
You never cease to amaze me!! What a gorgeous collection of mosaics......I tried this once with bird houses, but they didn't turn out nearly as beautiful as yours.......I love the bowling ball idea. Great work as usual. So glad you raised the money for the trip, but so sad I won't be there!!
xojanis Posted: 12:30 pm on July 19th
shabbychick writes: Thanks everybody! My favorite is the "beach ball" (and the easiest one to do too).

Candy...Terri isn't posting yet... Will see what I can do! ;)

Midge - it's definitely time to get out the grout! (and save your toes!) (And, Alice - yep - another "reason" to pick up more shells on vacation!!)

Lani - throwing plates at your hubby??? Well, that's one way to break them! ha ha!!

AND...garage sale update: (drum roll)...I made my road trip money! Woo hoo!!

You guys are the best and I really appreciate your comments!! Thanks, again! Kathy

Posted: 11:35 pm on July 18th
junkermidge writes: Great projects! I love them all, but I'd have to say I'm especially drawn to your bowling ball ones (love the cheerful grandma's dishes one, and also Terri's whimsical dragonfly). I have a bowling ball that I keep kicking out of my way, maybe it's time I followed your lead got my hands "grouty". Hope your sale goes well.
Midge Posted: 11:17 pm on July 18th
Sue_Sullivan writes: Kathy, Your projects look like so much fun. I love the 14 # beach ball!! LOL I guess I'll start saving the broken stuff... So when's the garage sale? hugs, Sue Posted: 4:16 pm on July 18th
CottageElements writes: Kathy, looks like a great way to recycle broken dishes thrown at the hubby. LOL! Just kiddin'. But really, how many things get thrown out that could have been recycled into a beautiful piece of art. I think my fav is the sea shell one. You could use collected shells and sand from your favorite place and make it very sentimental. Btw, hope your garage sale is going well and your selling lots and lots!

Lani Posted: 11:46 am on July 18th
alicemom writes: Kathy,
They are all super-dooper! I love the beach/sea glass the best. We are on our way to the beach in Aug. That will give me a reason (ha ha) to pick up more shells & glass.
smiles, alice Posted: 10:27 am on July 18th
suewhitney writes: Ab fab projects, and all! Looks like a lot of imagination and hard work went into these beauties and it shows! Thanks for the inspiration.

Take care,

P.S. Good luck with your garage sale!! Posted: 10:00 am on July 18th
Junk_Sophisticate writes: Love them all, Kathy! The pieces of green seaglass add so much to your shell piece. And that little child's hutch is absolutely precious! I think Terri got super creative with her beautiful butterfly project and I absolutely love it too! (By the way, is she on JUNKMARKET Style, yet?)

Thanks for a beautiful post!

Posted: 9:44 am on July 18th
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