Thursday, October 8, 2009

Make Gazing Balls with Mosaic Art Supplies

A wide variety of mosaic art supplies and glass mosaic tiles can be used to create beautiful personalized outdoor ornaments and gazing balls. When flower blossoms have fallen and trees have lost leaves, sparkling gazing balls can keep a winter garden lively and fresh throughout the season. Mosaic art supplies, found in hobby shops and online, can be artfully used to create table tops, stepping stones, chair seats, wall decor as well as decorative gazing balls. Use glass mosaic tiles in original designs to bring light and color during any season to an indoor or outdoor decorative space. Follow the steps below to create a glass mosaic gazing ball.

Step 1.  If using a custom design for the gazing ball rather than an overall pattern, draw it out first on paper to scale.

Step 2.  Buy precut, tumbled glass mosaic tiles from a place that sells a wide variety of mosaic art supplies or make them yourself. To make your own mosaic tiles, place decorative glass or ceramic pieces in a paper bag and gently hit with a hammer to break into smaller pieces ranging from ½” -1” in size.

Step 3.  Place glass mosaic tiles onto the paper stencil to be sure they fit in a pleasing pattern. Choose a variety of colors and textures from the mosaic art supplies center where you can mix and match to find a look that is pleasing to the eye.

Step 4.  Mix putty per directions on the package in a disposable loaf pan with a plastic spoon for easy clean-up.

Step 5.  Fill holes of the bowling ball halfway with crumpled aluminum foil, then top with the putty mixture. Smooth putty across opening as much as possible and allow to dry for several days. Then sand smooth.

Step 6.  Transfer the pattern from the paper to the gazing ball with a sharpie marker or tracing paper. The glass mosaic tiles and grout will cover the pattern so it does not have to be perfect.

Step 7.  Apply a bit of glue to the back of mosaic tile pieces and attach to the ball in the area you have designated. Do a small section at a time. Leave a 1/8" space between the glass tiles for grout. Use the bamboo skewer stick or a mosaic tool as a guide in between tiles to be sure the grout lines are even.

Step 8.  Let the glass tiles set for half an hour and then move to decorate the next area repeating application process until the visible area of the gazing ball is covered with glass mosaic tiles. Allow to set for a minimum of 30 minutes and then turn the gazing ball over and complete the design on the other side. Use the stand to support the gazing ball as you are working.

Step 9.  Once all glass tiles have been applied, allow 36 hours to for glue to fully dry and set.

Step 10.  Mix grout with waterto the consistency of peanut butter in another disposable pan. Grout may be tinted from a wide range of colors available at the same store where mosaic art supplies are purchased.

Step 11.  Using the medium stiff brush apply grout to the surface of the entire gazing ball a section at a time. Make sure there are no air bubbles. Grout should cover every nick and cranny on the ball and if it gets on the glass mosaic tiles, it can be removed at the end of the process.

Step 12.  Let grout dry until it flakes off easily. Depending on the time of year and the weather it can take up to several days for the grout to dry completely. Keep the ball under a covered area if outdoors, while drying. Once grout is thoroughly dry, polish the gazing ball with the Scotch-Brite pad to remove grout from glass tiles to bring out their color and shine.

Step 13.  Allow ball to dry 24-36 hours before applying sealant. Purchase sealant from the mosaic art supplies center and apply as directed. Allow to dry thoroughly. If the gazing ball is placed outside, reapply sealant at least every six months.

Buy a sturdy stand for your mosaic gazing ball in either heavy metal or cement to display in the garden.

  • If using home made glass mosaic tiles, be very careful as edges are extremely sharp. Mosaic art supplies stores sell tumbled tiles whose edges are smoothed and safer to use.
Things You'll Need

  • Bowling ball
  • Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty
  • Mosaic art supplies and tools
  • Glass mosaic tiles
  • Weld Bond or E6000 glue
  • Grout plus color tint if desired
  • Medium Stuff Brush
  • Scotch-Brite scrubbin pad
This is such a fun project and makes a great gift idea. Have you ever made a gazing ball with mosaic tiles?

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