Last year, I saw an idea on how the children could decorate the outside of terra cotta flower pots for presents. I can’t find the original idea anymore, but the basic idea was that you covered a terra cotta flower pot with model magic clay, took broken mosaic pieces in the clay, let it dry, and voilà! You have a decorated flower pot!
For what I wanted to do, there were a couple of problems with this set of directions. I wanted these flowerpots to be able to go outside for our mothers (It was to be a Mother’s Day present), and my dad, who has worked in the flooring industry for 30+ years, said Model Magic wouldn’t hold up in the outdoor elements. Model Magic is also costly if you are doing a big pot (or many pots like we were doing.) I also did not want to use broken tiles, as I wanted my children to do the decoration part, and I did not want them cutting themselves.
Instead, my dad told me to use premixed adhesive and grout. I use the Mapei brand that is available at Menards in the quart size for around $10. It will do several small pots, and around two of the big pots you see in the pictures below. He also gave me some beautiful glass mosaics where the sheets were missing a few pieces, so they could not be sold. If you check with a local tile store, they may agree to giving you some broken sheets of mosaics that you could cut apart or tear the small pieces off the netting to stick on the pots. Or you could buy a few sheets of mosaics. Amazon even sells mosaic pieces! On the left is a picture of some of the pieces my dad gave us. So I would spread some of the adhesive onto the pot with a butter knife (spread it rather thick), and the kids would stick on the pieces. We came up with a design beforehand. For the pot that says, ”I ♥ U” Kaylin worked on the top; Karis worked on the middle, and I helped Kristi on the bottom with the letters.
Putting the tiles on the flowerpots:
Then I took a damp cloth and very carefully tried to get wipe off the tiles before the adhesive dried. (Make sure you clean the knife before it completely dries as well.) I let the pot dry overnight. After it was totally dry, I would wipe with a damp cloth and scrape with my fingernail off the rest of the adhesive off the tiles. The adhesive is not perfectly smooth, but I wanted a project the kids could do. If you want to make a mosaic flowerpot that looks professional, you could follow the direction on Craftbits.com.
The finished product:
If you live in a cold climate, you will want to put these flowerpots in a heated garage or inside your house somewhere in the wintertime. I made one for my mom last year, and it was fine outside on her porch all summer. But they put it in their shed, and the freezing temperatures that we get made the grout expand, and it all cracked off. So we my dad brushed off the outside of the pot with a wire brush, and we re-did it. I think they will put it in their garage this year, and it is not heated. It will be better than outside, though, so we’ll see what will happen.
Finally, you get to do the fun part! You get to plant the flowers! I read somewhere that I should put some Styrofoam at the bottom of a big pot to help with drainage so the dirt doesn’t pack down so much. I don’t know if that is true or not as I am not a huge gardener, but I did it!
I got some spikes and other full to part sun annuals at Menards and went to work.
Here they are on my benches waiting to go to my mom’s house:
Here they are on my mom’s porch:
We did little ones (about 4″) for the girls’ teachers at the end of the school year last year. They would also make great anniversary gifts. You could use the mosaics to put years or how many years they have been married (1973-2013 or 40 for 40th anniversary).