Let your creativity bloom with DIY Mosaic Flower Pots! Upcycle your broken dishes or thrift store finds with this trash-to-treasure craft and create one-of-a-kind flower pots for your garden or for gifts.
Happy Thursday! I have a fun craft project and DIY for gardening season:
Mosaic Flower Pots!
This is a fun and creative way to transform plain terra cotta pots, turning them into a one-of-a-kind pieces of garden art for your flowers.
The beauty of this craft project is that you can recycle your broken dishes, use thrift store finds, ceramic tiles, glass marbles or whatever pottery you might find.
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A long time ago in a land far away, I made and sold mosaic flower pots. My mom used to work the Atlanta gift market and had access to import pottery and ceramics and was able to bring home broken pieces for me to use for mosaic projects. . . trash to treasure! I mixed the broken ceramic pieces with tiles, flat marbles and unloved, chipped dishes to make mosaic flower pots.
I’m embarrassed to admit how long I’ve been hoarding this last stash of pots in the garage, waiting to be grouted “one day”.
“One day” = pandemic, a great project motivator while stuck at home!
I made these pots before my blogging days and don’t have any step-by-step photos of the mosaic process, so I took a few photos to demonstrate.
Here’s a list of materials used:
Materials for mosaic assembly
Terra cotta pot(s)
Dishes / tiles / ceramics / flat marbles
Tile nipper (optional)
Liquid Nails Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive
Materials to grout pots
Sanded grout (premixed recommended)
Sponge (2 recommended if grouting several pots)
Bucket of water
Newspaper or cardboard for work surface
Painter’s tape and plastic bags (optional)
Mosaics are a creative way to salvage a favorite broken dish . . .*sniff*. I still keep a box of broken pieces stashed to use “one day”. . . much to my hubby’s dismay and preference for a clutter-free garage.
For the edges of the pots, I used some 1 1/4-inch square ceramic tiles I found in the flooring department of Lowe’s.
To break your ceramic pieces or dishes, lay an old towel on a hard surface like a piece of plywood or your garage floor or driveway. Cover your dishes/pottery pieces with the towel and lightly tap them with a hammer. Sturdy stoneware and some ceramic pieces will require a hard blow. . .a great way to vent your frustration. ;) The towel will keep the sharp shards contained and from flying, but it’s still a good idea to wear safety googles to protect your eyes. Check the size of your broken pieces and repeat until you have the assortment of sizes you want. I like a mix of large and small pieces but the same size pieces work fine too.
You can also use a tile nipper to control the break in your pieces or if you want to keep a design or pattern intact.
I use a caulk gun and Liquid Nails Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive to attach the shards to the pots. It’s low odor, sets in about 15 minutes and creates a strong bond that’s waterproof. It cleans up with water while wet, but I wear latex gloves to avoid contact with skin while using it. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for use, applying it outdoors so you have adequate ventilation and wear a mask if needed.
A little adhesive is sufficient but apply enough so you have good contact between your shards and pot, especially if some of your larger shards are curved. Don’t worry if some seeps beyond the edges of your shard, as it will be hidden by the grout as long as it’s not level with your shard. Otherwise use the edge of a putty knife to remove the excess that wouldn’t be covered by the grout. Cover the surface of your pot, fitting your pieces together to your liking like you would a puzzle. Don’t leave more than 1/2 inch space between your shards for the grout to span. Unlike the grouting process, you can stop and start, picking up where you left off and working at your desired pace.
Once your adhesive is cured and your pieces have bonded, (24 – 48 hours), you’re ready to grout. Premixed grout is a big time saver! You’ll need a sanded grout as it’s best for gaps up to 1/2 an inch and resists shrinkage and cracking. Grout comes a wide variety of colors so use whatever color you like. I like gray as it tends to disappear allowing your mosaic pieces to be the focal point rather than the grout color.
I found my sanded grout on Amazon. It’s available in quart and gallon size buckets. I purchased the gallon size and used 2/3 of the bucket to grout my 7 pots.
To help create a nice clean edge I used some painter’s tape lining the rim of the pot. I also tucked some plastic bags inside the pots to keep the interior relatively free of grout. This is totally optional but it makes your pots look neater, especially if you’re making flower pots for gifts.
You can use a putty knife or a rubber grout float to apply grout to the pot, pressing the grout into the gaps and joints. Rather than a float or knife, I find it easier to use my gloved hand, dipping it into the grout bucket and smearing it onto the pot. If you use this method, make sure you’re wearing rubber gloves that will provide some protection from the sharp edges of the shards, rather than thin latex gloves.
As soon as you have pot covered with grout and worked into the gaps, start removing it with a damp sponge. Use a clean bucket of water, rinsing your sponge out after several passes. Wipe your sponge across the shards, taking care not to remove the grout between your shards. I alternated between a sponge and an old dry towel to clean off the grout and buff the tiles clean. Grouting is a messy process so you’ll want to do this outdoors and cover your work surface with newspaper or cardboard for easy clean up. The end result is rewarding, especially for a trash to treasure project!
Once you start grouting a pot, you don’t want to stop as any grout left to dry on the shards is almost impossible to remove later. Each pot took approximately 30 minutes to grout and to wipe clean. After 30 minutes of drying time, go back and buff away any grout haze from your tile/shards. Allow your pots to cure in the shade and out of the hot summer sun for 48 hours before planting them.
Always follow the grout manufacturer’s safety guidelines and wear a mask if needed.
As with any terra cotta pot planted outdoors, you want to empty it and store it away, safe from freezing winter temperatures to prevent it from cracking.
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Thank you for today’s post. I have a box full of Haviland Limoges (all same pattern) shards waiting for a project like this to come along. I can’t wait to get started!!!
Mary, what a great post. Obviously your creativity started at an early age! Thank you and have a great weekend.
The pot project is great ! Cannot wait to srart..But I am planning to use plastic pots instead of Terra Cota pots since I think that , that way it will not be heavy when the porcelain cracks are glued on. I hope I can find a glue which can hold on plastic surface..Hulya
I’ve never tried making a mosaic, but that’s such a good idea for using broken dishes. It’s so much more colorful than a regular pot. Thanks for sharing your craft today. I love your potting table too.
Mary, how beautiful and a wonderful use for broken dishes. I have thought of making a tabletop from broken tiles. You have given me the incentive to give it a try! Happy Thursday!
Mary, I have always had a fondness for mosaic arts but must confess I don’t enjoy the process as much as the finished result! But your pretty pots have inspired me, so I’ll set aside some of my broken storm debris pieces for a future project! Blessings, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction
Well this is timely; Hubs just broke a plate and I save it away. I love the convenience of the pre-mixed grout! Now to get some flower pots :)
You are full of creative surprises, Mary. This is really nice, and so well done.I do not have the patience to do projects like that, but would buy them, in a heartbeat, from artisans like yourself. Honestly, though, I’m so bad about storing good dishes, that I think I should earn a medal or something for NOT keeping broken dishes, lol. I have an artisan friend who makes jewelry from broken china, so that’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it.
Mary, Thanks for reminding me I gave my daughter all my broken pottery because she was going to do a bird bath for me This did not happen. Think I will get them back and do my own project . Looks like fun.
These are beautiful and a great tutorial! Thank you for posting.
That looks fun! I have been laying in bed waiting for dawn’s light to get out and weed whack early with our 100 degree temps, would much rather lounge around a fountain crafting cute pots! Fun you shared your previous life, proving you can always put together shattered pieces!
Hope i can try that😉
These are just gorgeous Mary!! What a fun project and such a great way to use beloved broken pieces of things! I really appreciate the tip on using Liquid Nails, plus all the other tips on gluing and grouting. Your pots are stunning, I bet you sold a ton when you were making them! I’m so glad you have a stash of pieces stored, just tell your husband it’s your secret treasure box!!
Wow! This is an amazing, creative and unique upcycle/recycle technique, Mary! What a wonderful way to save pieces of favorite broken china! And all of the pots look gorgeous, too!
Amazing Mary. Just what I needed, another fun project! UGH! Love it, can’t wait to do. Great gifts. Your tutorial is perfect and the fact that you even told us what to buy, and where, makes it so much more doable. My face post of your’s, so far. Have an outrageous day Mary, and thanks for making mine.
Mary, Doesn’t everyone save broken pieces of their treasures? Lol I, too, have a box of materials to use in a mosaic project. One is a beautiful lamp that didn’t survive a fall many years ago. Your planter pots are beautiful, especially the blue and yellow one. Love it! Thanks for the great tutorial. Must give it a try as I really liked that lamp! Enjoy your day. Clara ♥️
I am going to have to try this craft. Looks amazing and what a way to dress up those plain terracotta pots. Love the look of them all. Great share.
Mary, I used to mosaic like crazy: table tops, art, frames. There was a fabulous mosaic shop nearby and I was there all the time creating. It closed a few years ago. I loved seeing your pot project. Brought back many fun memories.
Um, I have three bins of shards…lol and old dishes, some bought for just this. I really need to set some time aside to go at this gang busters. Great post Mary, and I really love the continuity of the rims…which makes these all a set instead of a hodge-podge…grins, thanks, Sandi
Very nice! I don’t have a stash of broken dishes, but I know that Home Goods and Salvation Army have plates at reasonable prices. Saved to my ‘Someday Projects’ board, haha! I can’t wait to see how you use the completed pots in your tablescapes!
I did some of these mosaic flower pots too and they are so fun – great use of dishes that you can’t use anymore rather than just throwing them away. Thanks for sharing and lovely crafting with you!
Mary, What a fun project. I have also saved a few broken and chipped dishes with the plan to arrange them around a mirror but I really like your project and may use them on terra-cotta pots instead. As you suggested they would make the perfect gift.
What a beautiful project. I will definitely try to make this. Your pots are beautiful though. I especially liked the one where you added the cup handle. Have a great week.
Well, Mary, you may inspire me to do some of my own. I have a large stash of broken pottery. Actually it is my second time to save such pieces. I finally gave a box of shards away after they lingered for years unused. Now I find I have yet another box full, and this time sadly they are MKC shards. Sad the pieces were broken, but they would make a fun set of containers for my garden. I’ve always admired the shard urns MKC sold years ago. They were out of my budget at $1000! I’m saving your directions. Thanks!
Mary, Mary, How your garden does grow! What a fun project and I am pinning for the dog days of summer (August) as right now I am still laying bags of mulch and contining painting all of our picket fences (our entire back yard is enclosed with picket fencing and it is a large yard, what were we thinking?? 😣). I don’t have any broken dishes, but I bet I could use my surplus of large shells, right? Hehe. I am amazed at your endless creativity and am so thankful for it. You inspire us all! Blessings to you ♥️.
Mary, look at you getting all crafty!! I am SO impressed! I tried to mosaic something once and had such trouble getting all of the grout off of the surface of the tiles. I have read every last word you have written here and plan to take this on as a personal challenge! Thanks for sharing this fun project!
Mary, I knew you had many talents, but didn’t know about making mosaic pots too! These are fun to fabulous, with wonderful mixes of beautiful fragments. I’m going to have to start saving my broken bits now (my hubby won’t be thrilled as I already have so much stuff lol!). Like my vintage teacup projects, these are a great reuse of beloved old dishware.
Very pretty Mary, I love it! Might be fun to repost close to Mother’s Day too:@) I was into stained glass for a while and this made me glance, and smile, at a small mosaic cross made with chips I have hanging here in the craft/computer room. Have a great weekend:@)
Oh how I love mosaic anything! I’m going to give this a try! Yours are amazing so I will follow your directions to a tee!
Your mosaics look amazing!!!! WOW!!!! I am so impressed! Well done, indeed.
Well I’ve never tried this– and now I know where to go when I do decide to try it. What great tips– I probably would not have used a towel or a hammer, and have been very frustrated with the pieces I was trying to use!
What a fun project, Mary. I have always loved mosaics and have always wanted to try this, and now I know how from your excellent instructions. Thank you for sharing this! I just need to find some broken dishes. ❤️
I have boxes full of broken plates, cups etc.
My plan was to do stepping stones with our
Grand Children and tell them the stories behind the
Broken piece. I’m a little behind as college is either
Behind them or One is entering for the next years.
Thank you for sharing your awesome creations. And,
My husband is really happy (to be rid of) even
Offered to pick up supplies to get started..today!
What a guy…
these are gorgeous! Such a great idea! Definitely going to have to do this project! Glad to be hopping with you!
These are so beautiful. I couldn’t help but notice a sign of our times: “safety googles to protect your eyes”! ;)
These turned out beautifully, love your creativity!
I love these ! So pretty!!!
Absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait to try and create one. Thanks for such great ideas.
There are so beautiful. Such a great idea! Definitely going to have to do this project!
So pretty and timeless. Thanku for a thorough and easy to follow tutorial..much appreciated.
Cheers Kaz from Oz 😆
Your instructions talk about adhesive, and then caulk. They are not the same. What do you mean by caulk?
Love these gorgeous mosaic planters!
I’d love for you to join us over at the Creative Crafts Linky Party every Wednesday through Sunday
Followed and Pinned! 🙂