Category Archives: recycled art

putting the pieces back together

 matilda’s birdland – circa 2011

A $5 thrift store mirror, a gifted box of glass & porcelain birds, a bunch of vintage china, ceramic tile, gold glitter tile, mirror tile, glass gems, found objects and glue.  what a beast.

mosaic tile projects

mosaic tile projects

 

mosaic tile mirror
tough to photograph

 

happy
done and done. happy. happy.
love you
thank you, miss tilly xoxo
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mosaic tile garden

mosaic tile pots

Creating garden art with empty terracotta pots. I glued three in an afternoon, let them dry and then grouted them 24 hours later.

Here’s how you’re suppose to do it … (directions vary based on how long you want a piece of mosaic tile garden art to last.:) preparation is everything!

  • Before gluing, clean the terracotta pots out with soap and water. Let them dry overnight. (it’s a good thing)
  • Seal the inside and outside of the pot with a water-based polyurethane or a couple of coats of Weldbond adhesive. (If you don’t seal it no biggie just don’t water a plant in there.) Let it dry between coats and make sure the piece is completely dry before tiling.
  • Use mastic adhesive. (there are other good adhesives for tile but mastic works for me.)
  • Use a sanded grout ( I used charcoal) and mix the grout with a grout additive (instead of water) for more flexibility.
  • Seal the grout with grout sealer, once it’s dry.
  • Reseal the outside of the piece with grout sealer, once a year,  especially if the piece is exposed to the elements or water.

Totem Pole

Mosaic TileTotem PoleInstructions

  1. Prepare clay pots with similar size drainage holes.
  2. Glue mosaic tile materials to pots. Let dry.
  3. Grout mosaic tile pots. Let dry.
  4. Seal pots with grout sealer. Let dry.
  5. Glue clay pots together as shown. (May need to insert the pole first)
  6. Glue the stacked pots to the bottom of the saucer to protect the bottom pot.
  7. Insert a piece of re-bar or heavy pole into the holes of the pots and secure with silicone
  8. Dig a small hole for your garden art totem and secure with rocks and dirt.
  9. Bring mosaic tile pots and garden totem poles indoors when cold weather hits.
  10.  peace.
box of tile tools © mara lee
box of tile tools © mara lee

all rights reserved copyright © mara lee. please do not copy, distribute, duplicate or create derivative works using my original designs and photography. thank you very much!

Daily Distractions and Time Outs

Trying to organize the studio and decided that if I just glue everything to something else, it will take up less room.

This is what happened in April.

Glass on Glass – “Any Which Way”

glass on glass
Lost a Few More of My Marbles
glass on glass
Any Which Way © mara lee

 

Recycled Art – Vintage China & Glass

Should post more of my vintage china on the Etsy Shop but then I’d have to find a box for it and that’s not always easy. Especially when you sell weird shaped stuff, like a porcelain elephant planter, that plants died in because of no drainage, and a gorgeous blue vintage china dinner plate that I bought for a buck. Trunk up for Good Luck!

recycled glass art

Somehow these 3 vintage plates ended up together, along with a crystal candlestick and 2 glass bud vases. Think the snack pics added a nice touch. Sort of a Mackenzie Childs vibe … may have to keep this one.

centerpieces

Finally finished a glass on glass window, that I glued a ceramic tile to 6 years ago, and she ended up as the “Goddess of the Boobies”

recycled art
“Totally Out of Place”

 

and …. these 4 little pieces just screamed to be stuck together. For eternity. Unless you drop it.

recycled-art
Have a Heart

Happy Friday!

Peace!

 

Gluing Things Together

It takes up less room.

“Ode to Mom” … a vintage Centerpiece 3 tier Cake Plate Assemblage in blue,white and floral using a Mayhill Federalist Ironstone plate, Windsor Browne Stoneware Plate, a vintage China Mother Cup, a blue and white Egg Cup Made in Japan, vintage clear glass juice glass, a glass flower candy dish, 8 piece Retro Cocktail Fork Set and a glass red Heart inside the Mother Mug.

Upcycled Art
Ode To Mom

Then I gathered a stunning vintage Aristochrome China Florida Travel Plate and 3 Random Glass Objects and made a 2 tier Centerpiece, or Cake Stand, dubbed “Retire to Florida.”

florida-travel-plate-2-tier-cake-plate

The antique ladies across the street might cringe that I glued a very rare Aristochrome china Florida Travel Plate to a very heavy & fancy crystal fruit cup or … maybe it’s a crystal goblet … not sure … then I added a lovely little crystal candy dish that rests on a tiny glass bud vase.

florida-travel-plate-2-tier-cake-plate

So much more to come …

Just Needs a Little Light

Simple 8 x 10 white picture frame from Ikea … glued the piece of glass into the frame (with Weldbond) and let it dry overnight.

The little glass fish dish was the catalyst … the rest of the glass pieces magically fell into place.

Doesn’t look like much but ….

In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary. ~Aaron Rose

Glass on Glass Project #3

Shadows only mean that there is light nearby. Go to the light … 

Glass on Glass Project #3

Feeling very accomplished this week. All is good.

as always … work in a well ventilated room when using toxic adhesives and always wear safety glasses when working with glass!

The Best Glue for Glass

All gung-ho to start this project and didn’t have any e6000 adhesive … tried to use clear Liquid Nails and Lexel … NOPE

all rights reserved © 2013 Mara Lee
all rights reserved © 2013 Mara Lee

Had to get in the car and track some down … checked Home Depot and Lowe’s but they don’t carry it … finally found it at Ace Hardware for a price.

Michael’s stocks e6000 but the tubes are small and expensive.

Check out the Etsy sellers that carry it … it’s a better deal and you help small biz owners.

glass-on-glass-window

The pieces fell into place quite nicely.

Just lovely, don’t you think?

glassonglass-vintage-window

On to the next thing …

Salvaging Memories

When someone shows up with broken remains of a precious family heirloom, it’s always the same tearful look.

Peggy broke a very unique clay candle holder that her mother (who had since passed) had given her as a gift.

Seems that a chandelier had fallen on it. Maybe she should have called Angie’s List 😉

Here’s what we came up with …

Using the very cool wrought iron, double shelf table that Peggy brought, we cut a piece of concrete backer board for the bottom shelf. That way you can see the finished piece through the glass top and keep it safe from any further damage.

We arranged all of the clay children (as they were on the original piece) in the center and glued the rest of the broken pieces around them. Added a gold veined glass tile for the border and let it dry overnight.

Used a charcoal grout to finish it off, after the mastic dried.

Tears of joy all around!

Doesn’t get much better than this!

Recycled Art
Memories are made of these.

Glass on Glass Vintage Window Project #2

A 10 panel vintage window scored while treasure hunting in Orange, California with Alice. The window measures a VERY STURDY 5′ x 2′ and has really cool hinges to use for hanging or not. If I end up keeping this piece, I’m going to have it installed as the front door side window for the cabin.  

This window was probably hung the wide way over an old store front somewhere.

Amazed that the pieces magically fit together.

You don't find inspiration. It finds you.

Probably should have glued it while I was laying it out.

Perfect first pass and not a single piece glued.
Perfect first pass and not a single piece glued.

Glitter makes the world a better place.

glass on glass
10 panes © mara lee

Doin’ the Green Thing

funny old people
Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Always love emails that are worth sharing …

THE GREEN THING

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this “green thing” back in the early days.

The clerk responded, “That’s why we have problems today”. “Your generation didn’t care enough to save our environment for the future generations.”

She was right —  our generation didn’t have the “green thing’ back then.

We returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so you could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building.

We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right, we didn’t have the “green thing.”

We washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind.

The wind dried our clothes.

Kids got hand-me-down clothes.

But that young lady is right.  We didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

We had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. The TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana .

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old  newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap

We didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.

We exercised by working hard so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right, we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.

We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen.

We replaced the razor blades, in a razor, instead of throwing away the whole razor, just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

People took the streetcar or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a  24-hour taxi service.

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an  entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.

And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

Please forward this onto another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from the younger generation.

Remember: Don’t make old people mad!

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to tick us off.

Wait for it … wait for it …

The thrift store mirror just sat there (like many of my found objects) but this piece was like having a thousand pound elephant in the room and it taunted me. I suppose I could of hung it up but that would have meant attaching a really strong wire to the back and I never saw that item make the list.

After moving it onto the tile table (and off again) a dozen times, I surrendered to the zero inspiration but hope.  At least I hadn’t broken it yet.

Then two dear friends coaxed me along by gifting me broken remains of their lives … Terri, a one armed porcelain figurine of a woman (Matilda) and Tilly, a box full of heirloom birds that flew out of her hands during a move. Amazed how that inspired me to let go of the death grip that I had on my sacred box of porcelain flowers.

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The pieces magically (as they always do) found their place onto the border and were given 9 months to dry:)

Made a pact with myself that this piece needed to be grouted and hung before Thanksgiving 2011.

Decided on charcoal grout, instead of something much lighter. Prayed about my choice.

Took a handful of the black mud and pressed it into way, way, way to many places to turn back.  Needed a second to compose myself after immediately getting that sick “OMG I picked the wrong grout color!”

Kept telling myself to just “Keep Calm & Carry On.”

Five hours, a roll of paper towel, box of Q-Tips and 250 pounds later (not me the mirror🙂 …

“Paint the frame black” chimed in from the peanut gallery … appreciated the final collaboration that included the much needed help in moving this beast to its rest stop.

Love the standing back part …

mosaic tile mirror
yes ... I could have taken a better picture but this post has overstayed its welcome.

Loving Tuesday!

Cheers!

First You Don’t Succeed

bird mirror
Layed it out three times. Put it away three times.

If things don’t seem to fit together the first time … try again … and again … and then again.

Many of the porcelain flowers that I’ve collected over the years are embedded in this piece, along a cherished porcelain bird collection that was gifted to me by my dear friend, Tilly.

While moving into a new home, Tilly accidentally dropped the box of her mother’s glass bird collection.  I feel honored that she thought of me when deciding what to do with their remains:)

Should take me forever to grout this … sure hope the courage to finish the piece is fast in coming.

Thinking charcoal.

Woo hoo for me!

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The Thrill of the Hunt

 

Mosaic Tile
mosaic tile materials

It doesn’t take an enormous amount of material to complete a personal mosaic tile project.  Gather some vintage china, a couple of pounds of assorted tile, or glass, and a few odds and ends along with mosaic tile tools, a base to glue the materials to and the proper adhesives for the job.

Approximate number of tiles needed to cover 1 square foot

  • 225 – 3/4″ Tiles
  • 729 – 3/8″ Tiles
  • 400 – 5/8″ Tiles
  • 144 – 1″ Tiles

   Approximate Number of Tiles by the Pound

As tile weight varies by style & color … there may be more or less per bag.

1″ inch Sheet Tile – 144 tiles per sheet 12″x12″

3/4″ inch tiles – approx. 225 tiles to cover 1 square foot

1/2 pound bag = approx. 70 tiles

1 pound bag = approx. 140 tiles

3/8″ inch tiles

Approx. 720 tiles to cover 1 square foot

1/2 pound bag = approx. 300 tiles

1 pound bag = approx. 600 tiles

5/8″ inch tiles

Approx. 400 tile to cover 1 square foot

Vintage China · Gems · Bits & Pieces

Quantity of materials will vary depending on the weight

carpe diem

The Games People Play

Man Cave DecorWhen I created this piece, I envisioned guys in a basement (Man Cave) throwing darts.

Maybe that explains the finger hooks:-)

Strange how found objects make you feel.

This one wound up with …

  • Magnetic mosaic tiled chalkboard boasting funky finger hooks, off beat bottle caps, domino’s, dice dishes and a vintage Coke glass
    Perfect for a game room or kitchen. 29″ high x 19″ wide
  • Ready to hang

Hope it warms up soon!

Have a great day.  – Mara

FYI … you can save on shipping, if you live in or around the Twin Cities Metro Area. Just contact us to arrange pick up.

Man Cave

Having Fun While We’re Here

If you’re not … you should be.

Going through a bazillion photos … a few favorites.

Oh look … it turned into a little moving billboard;)

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The right tools for the job.

Lighten up … cutting takes practice.

If one of your resolutions is to bring more creativity into your life, think Pique Assiette Mosaic Tile!

Due to its random nature, anyone can do it!

Really, you’re just gluing stuff to other stuff.  Besides, it can be a very cheap hobby … or not. Depends on how obsessed you become.

Just find a space to call your own and start stocking it with the right tools, materials and adhesives to get started with Making Mosaics with Found Objects.

Start small and you’ll grow from there … believe me.


don’t forget the grout

#1 Wheeled Glass Nippers have a set of disc shaped wheels on spring-loaded handles. They should be used to cut glass, mirror, glass tiles, and the like in a manner similar to tile nippers. Replacement wheels are sold separately.

#2 Mosaic Tile Cutter are designed for cutting ceramic tiles, crockery and china. Better tile nippers have tungsten-carbide cutting edges and spring-loaded handles.

#3 Weldbond Adhesive, Mastic and Grout

Always good to have nearby:

  • Small Penny Hammer
  • Wire Cutter
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Self-closing tweezers (a little more expensive than regular tweezers but well worth the investment.) Make sure to keep them glue free!
  • Toothpicks or wooden skewers
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Paper Towel
  • SAFETY GLASSES

Mosaic Tile Tools

Now all you need is a base, tile and some found objects. Ta da.


The List That Never Was

how to mosaic tile
Release date 1/6/11

Back in 2005, I coined myself as an “Artist” … to actual people.  Even though I’ve been creating art for well over 30 years. 

Well, they asked me and I choked out the confession of being the creator of the mosaic tile pieces that they were referring to.

I would have been able to that off my bucket list, if I had had one.

Feel a resolution coming on …

It’s true … if you write it down, or just continue to put it out there,  it shows up.

Even with a bucket list scribbled in my mind, it has always included authoring a book.

Must be why I just started typing … curious punctuation and all.

Luckily, Stackpole Books stumbled upon my mosaic tile passion and they asked me to write a book about it.

Now, I can √ Author off the bucket list that never was.

“Making Mosaics with Found Objects” is available on Amazon with a really good pre-order special.

Hope you’ll check it out.

Happy Gluing!

Recycled T-Shirt Scarves

t shirt scarvesAfter searching most of Southern California for some funky scarves, I guess I’ll just have to make a few of my own!

Found a great video tutorial @ Threadbanger with some really easy T-Shirt scarf ideas.

We have plenty of t-shirts and a sharp scissor! Guess what I’ll be doing this snowy weekend?

Check it out:)

What do you get when you …

… glue a six inch piece of scrap plywood, 4 glass clear hearts, 2 red glass hearts, a vintage china saucer, 17 flat white gems, 10 red & green square glass gems, 10 pennies, a few printed words, a Santa head (that was ripped off its body), a little grout and a wire hanger?

mosaic tile santa
oh ... and Mosaic Tile Tools

HAPPY HANUKKAH!