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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

DIY Mosaic Birdbath Project

Wildlife in the garden is an important and vital feature for any serious gardener. One of the ways to attract more wildlife is to keep fresh water readily available in several places for our feathery friends. We've complied with this by serving up several different styles of birdbaths throughout the garden. It is so satisfying to watch the birds enjoy a refreshing splash at familiar spots.

Photo from summer of 2007- before the huge expansion of this planting bed.

Can you see the birdbath standing among the caladiums? The basin of it is a flat structure that balances on the pedestal as they are not attached to one another.

Unfortunately, last summer (or was it the summer before?) it fell off the pedestal onto the flagstone pathway and broke in two places. Undoubtedly a rascally squirrel poking his nose where it shouldn't be caused this problem.

Regardless of how it happened, I was just not willing to give up on it. My mom's husband attempted to use some sort of caulking to seal it back together. It probably would have worked except (if I remember correctly) I got a little impatient to get it back in service and didn't let the sealant 'set up' long enough. My impatience has caused me worse problems in the past... so it is the likely scenario. :-)

On my 2009 list of projects was to mend the birdbath with a mosaic treatment. After trying several kinds of sealants and glues that didn't hold the heavy weight of water this idea came to me as the last possible alternative before giving up.

With very few tools and little time this project is easier than one might think.
For this cement, flat surface the tools needed:
Tile nippers
Tile and plates to crack (official mosaic term for breaking up the medium)
Hammer for cracking
Liquid Nails
Sponge for wiping grout
Soft Cloth for wiping grout

I decided to stick with just blue and white for this project as my 'must use piece' was a blue and white plate I had bought at an antique store in Franklin, TN several years ago when visiting Marmee.

After placement and gluing each piece down it's important to wait 24 hours before grouting.

After the grout is secure another wait time of 72 hours is necessary.

This time I was patient.

Not only that but it was really cold when I was working on it. For extra precaution I added a couple of days to the wait just to be sure it didn't contract and expand unnecessarily.

Now for the real test. Will it hold water?

It is in the garden and some landing rocks for the critters have been placed in the water. It's been 'holding its own' for about 3 weeks with no leaking!
I admit I was so glad I didn't have to give up this favorite birdbath.

That little one just can't help himself. He absolutely must pick up those rocks when he gets near that birdbath. I don't mind at all his curious, wonderful character.
The newly mended birdbath is placed away from the flagstones now. If it does fall it will just crush some flowers ... but I don't think they will break the basin.

Update note: Bird bath continues to hold water 2012.


  1. oh i am so glad you did a little tutorial on this, as we did not have the time while i was there.
    it seems easy enough. i am definitely going to be trying to mosaic something with all the broken pieces of blue ridge i have. i just need to get my supplies and decide what i will start with. huummmm?

  2. Meems, Isn't it the most fun to mosaic! I love it! If I may add this~~Marmee...You can do it, you are very crafty. meems, the simple blue and white pottery you've chosen, looks wonderful with the tropical colors in your garden! I am planning a glass on glass project for this spring...have you tried that yet?


  3. Your birdbath turned out real nice. That was clever thinking on your part to salvage a favorite garden piece. I like the idea of placing a couple of rocks inside for butterflies to land on. Another clever idea!

    1. I agree! I love the blue and white mosaic, and am so glad she was able to fix your treasured bird bath so creatively

  4. Looks like you did a great job on this. I'd used thinset tile adhesive(mortar) it likely is more waterproof. Guess you'll know in a few days. I've a project to do this spring too, a curved two person concrete bench with raised creek pebbles and inset stones like soapstone and turquoise. Not so hard to form then cast, the big trick will be moving and installing it in the garden.

  5. that's beautiful and your recipe seems a little more doable than some mosaics I have read about. Let that little one play with the stones for now, one day he will be too busy to.

  6. Meems, how beautiful! I love the blue and white mosaic, and am so glad you were able to fix your treasured bird bath so creatively.
    Your little guy is a wonderful garden companion, isn't he? A future gardener, methinks :)

  7. Meems, that is just beautiful. Thanks for the tutorial, too.

  8. That looks great and what a good way to fix it. Great idea.

  9. Ok this was aweseome! I found another mosiac project to put on wood - I think I could really get into this!
    thanks for sharing Paula in Idaho

  10. I'm not, as a rule, a big mosaic fan, but I really LOVE your project! I'm SO looking forward to the end of winter. I'm going to try some heirloom veggies this year. Can't wait for those home-grown beefsteaks. mmmmmmmmm

    Have a JESUS-filled day! ^i^

  11. Me next, me next, meems!!
    Do you have more blue and white dishes??

  12. That's a beautiful and creative project. I love the blue and white colour scheme, which suits the birdbath. Now the birds and butterflies can continue visiting the spa, and the odd mischievous squirrel too.

  13. Great idea Meems. Love the color combo. Looks very tropical.
    I especially like your garden partner.

  14. Wow that border with the caladiums and grassy tufts, (variegated liriope or society garlic, or agapanthus I'm guessing) is absolutely stunning. The birdbath looks very much at home there. The little boy is a cutie pie.
    I'm glad the birdbath is mended. I wouldn't want to lose it either. I'll remember this trick should one of mine topple.

  15. What a great idea! The blue is perfect for the birdbath, it makes the water look blue!

  16. Perfect, it's perfect! I love the blue.

  17. What a great idea!I'm going to have to try that.And I love your garden!

  18. Meems,

    Your birdbath is beautiful! I like it better with your colorful mosaic! A nice, signature to put on it, too.

    Thanks for the instructions.


  19. Your project turned out beautifully. The blue and white plate worked perfectly.

  20. Meems, I love your birdbath! You are a creative lady. Mosaic is something I have had on my 'learn to do' list for some time. I want to make some stepping stones for my garden.

  21. That's lovely! I so admire mosaics. You make it sound so easy.

  22. Good job, Meems! I'm impressed with your creativity :) My 'grandboys' also think Mimi's garden is Paradise!

  23. Your Mosaic is beautiful Meems. My neighbor does them and has given me a few of her projects. She wants to make us a mosaic picture for inside the house. John does handyman work for her as she is a single woman than needs help with her house occasionally. He has become the neighborhood handyman...he calls it his ministry. :)

  24. Very beautiful Meems. I love the rocks that you've placed for them to land on.

  25. I've always wanted to do a mosiac project like yours - what a beautiful and creative remedy for your cracked birdbath! It looks like more than birds like it, too.

  26. Thank you all for letting me know you like the birdbath. I apologize for the delay in responding. Gardening is at a peak for me these days and I'm finding it more challenging to spend time on the computer. I'll get around to your blogs as soon as I can... I promise.

    Just about any surface can be mosaic'd. There are different mediums to use for certain surfaces. Check with me before you start and I'll tell you what I know. another hmmmmm in order here.

    It is fun... but I admit I don't DO it as often as I 'think' about doing it. :-) I've only done one glass project which I found more intricate and a little (lots more actually)difficult. I hope you display your project... I'm sure it will be beeeeeautiful.

    Thanks. I can't take credit for the rocks for birdies and critters to land on. I read it somewhere and thought it would be an added help since the basin is so shallow.

    Are you saying I should have used thinset??? Yikes. Your project sounds really great but way above my pay grade!

    I know what you mean about one day...

    Thanks for the nice words. My little guy stopped by yesterday and helped me in the garden again... he does love to help at this age... hope it lasts.

    Thank you.

    Thanks and glad you stopped by.

    You are welcome and I'm happy you liked it.

    I AM a big fan of mosaic but have very particular likes an dislikes. It is really fun to do.

    Working in the garden the last several days has made me believe the last of winter is here for us. So magnificently beautiful... birds everywhere... I'm loving it. Your winter is so much different than ours and only 300 miles north. What a difference a couple of zones can make!!! I've got my veggies planted... happy to hear you are putting your hand to the veggie garden too!!

    Okay, next time I'll call you and I'll take you through the step by step. yes, I have blue tiles left.

    Northern Shade,
    Thank you.
    I don't know why I had such a hard time giving up that bird bath... it just seemed a waste.

    Thank you. Yeah, he's a favorite around here too.

  27. Grace,
    Thank you.
    The border in front of the caladiums is variegated liriope. In the forefront of the picture you are seeing bromeliads and in the background there are agapanthus in the raised bed. Good I.D.'s - you nailed them.

    Blue is a calming color with water... I hope the birdies like it as much as we do. :-)

    Thank you.

    Chris and Jon,
    Thank you... I think we are pretty much neighbors.

    I like it too, even though it remains forever scarred with the cracks on the sides. Oh well, not exactly an heirloom piece. :-0

    Glad you liked it. I have always been a fan of blue and white and don't use it anymore in my home so this was a good place for it.

    I want to do the same thing... it is on my list for spring. I haven't tried them yet but they would SOOOOOO easy... nice flat surface. Go ahead and give it a try.

    This was easy and I admit I didn't take a lot of time to fit the pieces together as nicely as they could have been. If you were doing something really important it really should be done with a better design than this.

    I'm sure they are right, too!

    Your neighbor must be really good to do pictures for the inside of the house. I've seen some and they are magnificent... way better than I am. Your hubby is in much demand... too bad I'm not closer to your neighborhood... I could use a handyman quite often... AND I'd trade stuff. Hmmm... that didn't sound so good... but you know what I mean.

    Thank you. Usually they just land on the edge and the middle of the basin is raised as well but I'm hoping they use the rocks too.

    Mary Beth,
    You know how those little ones are... can't keep their hands out of the water. I don't mind- he gets so intense when he plays. So cute.

  28. Besides gardening, mosaics are my other hobby. You did a great job of repairing your birdbath and then making it new and pretty again. Good job.

    If you ever want a wonderful community of helpful folks who do mosaics, try Flickr. The mosaic people are fantastic at that site. They have tips galore.

    Speaking of tips. Cracking plates is fun, but learning to cut them to preserve a plate center for a focal or cut out just what you want is so much fun. I am only a newbie at this but the tool to have is Leponitt glass mosaic cutter. It's addictive.

  29. Susan,
    Where do you get tiles? I am always on the look out for them. I am "really, really" a novice at this but the first piece I did I cut out the design in the center of a plate with my nippers. I will have to research the tool you are referring to... thanks for the tip.

  30. I am brand new at this myself Meems and learning as I go. It was only yesterday a lovely lady at Flickr spotted the strawberry pot I am working on and suggested I use a different adhesive for outdoor projects. I am still asking around of the consensus of that one. I don't want to do all that work and then have it fall apart in our Florida weather.

    I get most of my tiles at after I spent way too much at Michaels and Joanne's. Right now I am just learning to cut plates that I am scouring for at Goodwill. I look for plates that have flatter edges with pretty designs so the design stays flat on your project. I also look for something interesting in the middle so I can learn how to cut out the focal with the Leponitt's, which I think is much easier than nipping away with the nippers.

    Here is a site that explains cutting plates with a visual.

    And if you'd like to browse my pics and see what I am working on, go here.

    Have fun with it Meems. If we all like working with our hands this just adds to it.

  31. Your "new" bird bath looks great Meems. I have always wanted to do a mosaic of some sort. I haven't done it yet. I keep collecting the broken pieces of pottery that turn up here.

    The next time you "break" a bird bath you should use an epoxy glue to put it back together. I broke a concrete birdbath once and used a heavy duty epoxy that you had to mix together and put it back together. It is still in use after many years.

  32. Meems I love the birdbath. I can hardly wait to try it next weekend! You are awesome and thank you for sharing! Pamie G.

  33. That's pretty. The birds that visit my yard better not think they're getting anything like that anytime soon ;-)

    It's a good thing that it seems to be holding up well with the caulk. Nice to watch them have a sip and freshen up.

  34. Amazing..!
    I love the rocks that you've placed for them to land on.

  35. You did a great job of repairing your birdbath and then making it new and pretty again. Good job.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway