This past January a dear friend told us she was to be married this May. I was excited for the both of them and flattered when they asked to use our back yard as the ceremony site.
Back in January we had no idea yet that were at the start of Chicago’s worst winter in the record books. I sent them this card and settled down to wait for spring daffodils and tulips to come up. When they came over to look at the yard three weeks before the wedding the ground was still frozen if you dug down 4 inches and there was still a patch of snow on the North side of the house! But in true midwest fashion spring came on fast and we did see those flowers blooming on the big day.
I made this mosaic stepping stone to mark the spot on the lawn where the ceremony took place and they have it as a memento of the day. I used the Cricut cartridge Straight from the Nest for the design. I combined two designs to make the final drawing. I made 6 similar stones for our garden
last spring and they survived the winter.
- 12 x 12 beveled cement paver (Home Depot)
- stained glass
- sheet of glass wall tiles
- Sanded grout with polymer
- Clear 100% silicone adhesive (Liquid Nails)
- Grout and tile sealer (TILELab)
- Rubbing alcohol
- Glass tile nipper
- Glass cutting tool
- Kitchen rubber spatula
- Small cello sponge
- Safety glasses
- Vinyl or latex disposable gloves
- Soft leather or rubber coated cotton gardening gloves
- Small hammer or mallet
I start by cleaning my cement paver to remove dust and loose concrete. I used scrap card stock and my Cricut to cut the designs and transferred them to the stone with a Sharpie. A lot of my glass supply is left over from my Dad’s stained glass projects. I discovered that the local stained glass supply store sold their scraps by the pound. I had to search through the boxes for the colors I wanted and it came in all sizes and random shapes. When they closed the store late in the summer the prices were even lower and I stocked up on colors I liked.
I am no expert on cutting glass, in fact it scares me a little. I duct tape all the edges and open inside flaps of a low sided shipping box and line it with several layers of newspaper. I cut and nip the glass inside this box to avoid spreading slivers of glass. The larger pieces I pad with even more paper in the box and strike with a hammer to break into smaller pieces. Wear safety glasses and use rubber coated or leather gloves. Take glass slivers very seriously. A trip to the emergency room with an infected glass sliver is the hard way to lean this!
I start with the main parts of the design first and finish with the background. It’s a lot like doing a puzzle except you cut the pieces to make them fit! When I use the silicone glue I am careful not to leave thick build up in the spaces between the glass so there is room for the grout. A wooden skewer is good for this. A “frame” of square glass tiles makes a nice finish to the piece.
Most clear glass works fine on the stone, although the color can change. I had a dark purple that looked black when glued to the stone. I did learn from this project not to use clear glass over the dark black sharpie line. I had to pry up a piece, remove the glue and sand away the black ink before replacing the piece.
Allow the adhesive to dry before grouting. Rubbing alcohol works to remove the silicone from the surface of the glass. The sand in the grout seems to scrub away some of the excess but if the glue is too thick I clean first. Follow the directions on the grout package. I use a rubber spatula kept for this purpose only as a “float” because the work surface is too small for a tile float. My last step is to put two coats of grout sealer on the stone to protect it from the weather.
Backyard Mosaic by Connie Sheerin is a helpful reference.