Found Object Mosaic Wall Art by guest blogger Renee
I’ve been enthralled with mosaic art using found objects since I was a kid. This project is a great way to share mosaic with your kids. It’s a fun and easy project but the best part is that it uses up lots of odds and ends that tend to gather in and around the house and otherwise end up in your trash can and ultimately in the landfill. You know - those stray doll shoes, stubby pencils, loose beads, fast food toys, etc. Get ready for this project and go clean out your junk drawers, look in between the couch cushions and under the seats in the mini van!
Gather up plenty of fun and colorful objects of various sizes: beads, paperclips, pom poms, sequins, epoxy stickers, doll shoes, buttons, bottle caps, game pieces, small toys, hair clips, silk flowers, miniature animals, action figures, trinkets, seashells, tiny stones, marbles or any small colorful bit of something, broken or not. Metal, plastic, and wood items work fine but avoid items made of paper or cardboard as it may warp from the moisture in the mastic. Ribbon and fabric can work too but can be more difficult to work with.
A plastic knife or some other tool to spread with.
Tile Mastic- Any brand will do. I’m currently using Henry brand ReadySet premixed mastic adhesive. You can find tile mastic/adhesive at your local hardware store.
Screwdriver to pry the lid off the mastic
A substrate - or surface to work on. For this project I chose a pre-cut wooden letter purchased at the craft store. Other suitable substrates are metal, masonite or plastic letters or shapes. Buy them pre-cut or cut them yourself if you are handy.
A protected work surface
Set up a hand washing area nearby.
1. The first step is to apply the mastic to your substrate. It’s as easy as frosting a cookie! Just spread the mastic on thickly - about ¼” thick and clean the edges off with your knife or spreading tool as you go. Work a small area at a time. You don’t want your mastic to dry out too soon. I find that an area about the size of my hand is a good working area. Remember to lay the lid back on your tub of mastic so it doesn’t dry out while you work. My project is just about the size of my hand so I’m covering the entire surface at once.
2. Begin placing your bits and bobs onto the mastic. Choose your biggest & coolest items first so you don’t run out of room and be sure to save some of your tiniest items for finishing the edges and filling in between other objects.
3. Lay the items lightly on the mastic while deciding where things
should go. If you don’t like where something is you can change it
around. Once you’re sure about placement, press them gently into the
4. Start filling in with smaller items. You just can’t have too much
stuff on a mosaic! Try to cover as much of the mastic as
possible. Try filling in any object openings with smaller items. See
(below)how I added a tiny bead into the hole on the key? You can create patterns and color themes or go completely random. On my project today I’ve used mostly blue
items because that’s my daughter’s favorite color.
5. Please note that if you accidentally get mastic on the top side of
one of your baubles it should easily wipe off with a damp cloth. If it
has already dried, it should easily scrape right off of most objects.
6. If you are doing a larger project continue by adding another area of
mastic and repeating steps 2-4.
7. Once the entire surface area is covered and filled in as much as you want you can start the sides. It is easier if you let the project dry before doing the sides but it’s not absolutely necessary. I’m impatient and usually dive right in. Carefully pick up your piece and spread mastic on the edges (one side at a time), being careful not to get mastic on the back side of your project. (If you do, just wipe it off). Again use the edge of your knife to clean off the edges.
8. Use your smaller bits and bobs and press into the mastic on the sides, being careful not to extend the items beyond the back edge of the project. A bumpy back side will make it difficult to hang your finished piece. Again, it might be easier to let your project dry between sides for easier handling.
9. Let your project dry thoroughly. 24-48 hours is best depending on your brand of mastic adhesive.
10. Once dry it is complete and ready to display.
1. When working with younger children you can spread the mastic and they can place the baubles onto the surface.
2. Make sure you have enough mastic for your entire project. On one large project I switched brands midway through and at first it looked fine but after aging for a couple of years the second brand of mastic I used changed from bright white to a more yellowed white. On it’s own that would have been fine but it was right up against the very white mastic of the other brand I’d used. It looks bad!
3. Make it collaborative! Have a group work together to collect the found objects and do a big project together. I did this both with my local library and with my son’s Kindergarten class. I set out a container and the children brought in their found objects for several weeks I then had giant letters cut out of masonite to spell the word “READ”. When finished the letters were hung in the library. I did have to “edit” the collected items before starting by removing items that were not suitable (paper, cardboard, etc.) and for items that were just not appropriate for a children’s public art project (beer caps, guns).
4. For extra fun you can do what my daughter’s class did and pick a substrate that is 3-D. They used a plastic pedal car that had seen better days. The art teacher covered it with mastic one section at a time and let the students cover it with the bits and bobs that they had collected from home. You can see it here. They also covered a plastic toy guitar!
5. Mastic washes off easily with soap and water but the package suggests avoiding skin contact and working in a well ventilated area.
6. Try the same technique on a empty can or other rescued object. Use your imagination!
7. The pre-cut letter I used had a keyhole cut into the back for hanging which really simplifies things. If your object doesn’t have a pre-cut hole you can always add picture hangers to the back before or after completing the mosaic. I like to add it after so I have a nice flat surface to work on while creating the mosaic but it does make putting the picture hanger on a little trickier.
Thank you so much to Renee for putting together this wonderful tutorial! Renee is a crafty mom that blogs at I Love My__ Life where she shares family adventures, her creative work and eye candy she finds on the internet so be sure to go for a visit.
Today's guest post is brought to you by Amida who writes at the wonderful blog, Journey Into Unschooling. Here she shows you a great way to re-use plasticsodabottles or juice cartons to create an upside-down tomato planter!
I've always been fascinated with growing tomatoes upside-down, but,
$19.99 (which was what my local garden supply store was selling it for)
seemed a bit steep to pay for what essentially is a bag you fill with
dirt! So I decided to make our own using some very basic materials we
had around the house.
Here's what you'll need:
2-liter bottle or
juice carton Garbage bag Duct tape Tomato
plant Utility knife Paper towel Cotton
1. Using the knife, carefully cut
off the bottom of your bottle or carton.
2. Roll up a garbage
bag around your arm and insert into the bottle. Once inside, loosen the
bag and try to spread it evenly within the bottle. The reason I used the
black bag was to keep the roots covered and hopefully warm in the sun.
3. Fold the top edge of the bag over the bottle and secure with
4. Wrap a tomato plant with paper towel and
carefully insert into the bottle and out through the spout. The towel
will help keep the soil together.
5. Fill the rest of the bottle with soil.
6. Wrap some
twine or string at the mouth of the bottle, stretching along the length
of the body, and tape in place.
7. Stuff some cotton balls
through the bottom opening to help keep water in.
8. Hang in a sunny spot and water thoroughly.
plants have been growing strong for at least three weeks now and appear to
be doing well. Within the first week, the plant flipped around and
started growing upwards.
Another advantage I've noticed is
that there that are no bugs on the plants! Perhaps in this way, they
will survive a little longer than our usual crop and maybe even provide
us with some juicy tomatoes this summer.
Amida is a homeschooling mom of three and crafter at
heart who loves to make something out of nothing. She has tried growing
tomatoes every spring but never upside-down. Visit her blog at Journey Into Unschooling for tons of great ideas!
We had to get our corks from a local restaurant because I'd only accumulate about one cork a year if our stash was dependent on how much wine I drink. Try some of these ideas with your kids but I imagine if you pour out a pile of corks in front of your kids you'll be amazed at all the things they can come up with :)