Mosaic Tile Birdbath using Recycled DVDs

A few years ago, we bought a bird bath on clearance at the end of the season. We brought it home, set it up, and within a week, it had fallen over and broken into several pieces. And that could have been the end of the story, except that Hubby decided to glue it back together a couple of weeks ago. He’s a good guy like that.

There were still some pretty big cracks to patch up though.

So in anticipation of all the birds that would be flocking to our birdbath this year, I got out my secret weapon: J-B WaterWeld.

It’s specifically designed to “repair and seal in underwater and wet conditions,” not to mention that it’s drinking water safe, which makes it the perfect repair for a birdbath because it won’t harm the birds.

It comes in the form of a tube of clay. Just cut some off and kneed it together really well, mixing the two compounds so they form a strong epoxy. And no Hubby, that is not one of our kitchen knives. It just looks like it. ;)

Smooth it over the crack, and let it dry for 60 minutes. I probably used way more than I needed to here, but you get the idea.

Next, I sanded it down with my orbital sander to make it nice and smooth. At this point, our birdbath is water-tight again. Yay!

But it wasn’t exactly the look I was going for. Let’s face it, the only way this birdbath was ever going to look good again was if I completely covered it. So when I ran across this Mosaic Gazing Flower Pot by Dannielle at The DIY Show, I knew exactly how I would do it.

Mosaic Gazing Flower Pot

Isn’t that pretty? So I went through my stuff and came across some computer backups that I had made on DVD about 10 years ago. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t going to need that stuff again, right?

As I began cutting them apart, I realized that DVDs have two layers, not one.

I decided to pull the layers apart, because they were coming apart anyway.

UPDATE: Because I had so many questions about this part, I posted a quick tutorial showing step by step how I separated the layers, which you can read about here.

For this project, I used the silver part only, and set aside the clear part for another day.  (CDs only have one layer, and using them will result in a more subdued color.) I cut each DVD half into 6 or 7 “pie” slices, leaving a little attached at the center to keep them from popping all over the place.

Then I tore each pie slice from the center ring,

and cut the edges off. I didn’t show it, but I made one more cut to the piece shown below, sort of half way across, tilted at an angle.

The side you want showing on your finished project is the part that was inside the two layers of the DVD…that really shiny silvery rainbow stuff. I’m such a sucker for all those colors.

I realized quickly that that beautiful shiny stuff will wash right off if you don’t protect it with something. So I used Krylon Crystal Clear Gloss to spray the individual pieces. It’s non-yellowing and good for indoor and outdoor projects. (This step isn’t necessary if you’re using CDs.) I’m not sure how well it will hold up to constant submersion, but I have a plan to deal with that later. And in case you’re tempted to spray the DVDs before cutting them, I think it’s better to wait so you can get all the edges covered too. Just spray them several times from different angles to be sure.

Next, I started gluing the pieces to the edge of my birdbath. They look really purple-y here, but don’t worry.

I used Liquid Nails Clear Seal. I didn’t worry about getting the pieces completely covered on the bottom, I just dabbed a bit under each piece. Not that I know any better, just that I didn’t think I could do it any other way without making a gigantic, sticky mess. I was trying not to get glue all over the pretty shiny side.

With the rim of the birdbath covered, it was starting to look so much better already.

I covered the edges too, to give it a finished look.

Here’s what it looked like, about 20 DVDs later, when I was done gluing the pieces on. I think I took about a hundred pictures of it like this, because it’s so striking, and looks different from every angle.

As much as I loved it though, I was afraid the bathing birds would get their little feet stuck in between the cut DVDs. And I didn’t know how well the pieces would wear without some grout in between.

I did a lot of research before I chose a grout. And I’ll be honest, I don’t know if what I used will last or not, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I used Mapei Keracolor S Sanded Grout with Polymer in white, with Grout Boost mixed in, both available at Lowe’s.

This was the scariest part for me, because I’ve never done anything with grout before. Nor mosaics for that matter. I just knew I was going to ruin those beautiful rainbow colors as soon as I started spreading the grout over it. And no, Hubby, that is NOT our kitchen spatula. It just looks like it. ;)

After spreading the grout between the pieces, I used a damp rag to carefully wipe the excess off.

And low and behold, the results were exactly what I was hoping for.

It has a much different look from before, with the white grout in between.

And once again, I snapped about a hundred pictures.

I can’t get over how the colors change with the angle and the light.

Here it is atop its pedestal in a little bed of hostas and impatiens.

It has three weeks to wait until I can put it outside for good, according to the instructions on the package of grout.

And that’s fine with me. It gives me some time to do a little more research on whether I should cover it with another layer of protection, and what that layer would be. If you have experience in this type of thing, I would LOVE to hear from you!

Also, I need to decide what to do about the underside of the basin, as well as the pedestal.

Do you think I should do it like the top? Leave it as is? Paint it a solid color? I’m open to suggestions.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend. As always, thanks so much for stopping by!

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