How to Make a Backyard Ceramic Tile Mosaic

mosaictitlefinal

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

The Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network challenge for July is “outdoor art.” I decided to pay tribute to one of my favorite artists, Fernando Llort. When we went to El Salvador in 2011, we visited The Catedral Metropolitana in San Salvador – a cathedral full of history and which featured a colorful tile mosaic façade by Llort. Months after we returned to the United States, that façade was thoughtlessly torn down. It’s difficult to say how sad and angry this made me – it still upsets me to this day. Making a replica of part of Llort’s mosaic felt like the right thing to do.

The cathedral before its destruction, and the section of the mosaic I decided to replicate.

A photo I took of the cathedral before the mosaic’s destruction, and the section of the mosaic I decided to replicate.

This project is time-consuming but worth it. Here’s how to make your own Backyard Ceramic Tile Mosaic.

How to Make a Backyard Ceramic Tile Mosaic

Materials:

square white ceramic tiles (amount depends on desired size of mosaic)
glass paint (gloss opaque in desired colors)
fine tip paint brush
ruler
rubbing alcohol
cotton balls
1/2 inch deep wood board cut to desired size (depends on desired size of mosaic)
screwdriver
2 screws
hanging wire
Gorilla Glue
needle-nose pliers
scissors
pencil
colored pencils
permanent marker
plastic gloves

Instructions:

1. Choose a design for your mosaic. This can be an existing design you want to re-create or one you created yourself. Decide how many tiles wide and high you want your mosaic to be and using a ruler and pencil, divide your image into a grid with an equal number of blocks. If your image is small, you may have to re-draw it larger. I recommend doing this the old-fashioned way instead of blowing the image up and applying a grid through computerized image editing, since the old-fashioned way gives you practice drawing the design. Use colored pencils to lightly color in the image if desired.

mosaicgridsketchFINAL

2. Number the blocks on the grid and the backs of the corresponding tiles to keep things organized in case you don’t finish in one sitting. (If your tiles come attached to each other, separate them and remove as much of the glue as possible using pliers.)

3. Screw the screws into the top edge of the board. Later you’ll tie the wire on but do this part now. You don’t want to do this after the tiles are attached and have the board crack.

4. Clean the surface of each tile with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol and then allow each to dry before applying paint. You can use a pencil and/or permanent marker to draw the outline of your design before you paint it.

5. Paint each tile, referring to your grid as a guide. Allow to dry.

6. To cure the paint on the tiles, place tiles in a cold oven on a foil-lined baking sheet. Set oven to 350 F, bake for 30 minutes. The foil is especially important if there is still glue on the backs of your tiles. This glue will melt in the oven and the tiles will attach themselves to your baking sheet! Turn oven off, allowing tiles to cool completely inside the oven before removing. Note that your tiles go into the oven when it’s cold and come out when it’s cold. They must be allowed to heat up and cool down properly. If you have a lot of tiles, you may have to do this in batches. Note: When moving tiles be careful not to chip the paint. The paint is not permanent until tiles are cured. If you do chip the paint, touch it up and wait for it to dry again. The tiles, (I believe because of the glue), smell strongly while being baked. I recommend having a few windows open while baking.

MosaicCollage2

7. Now you’re ready to assemble the mosaic and attach it to the wood. Put on some plastic gloves to avoid getting Gorilla Glue on your skin. Lightly moisten the back side of each tile with a damp paper towel and apply a very small amount of Gorilla Glue. Place tiles on your piece of wood in order using your grid as a reference. (Remember to check that the screws are at the top before attaching tiles!) Carefully place a flat heavy object, such as books, on top of the glued tiles to apply pressure. Wait 30 minutes until dry. If your mosaic is large, I recommend doing this step one section at a time. Note: You may want to test this process with extra tiles and a scrap piece of wood. Gorilla Glue expands and what you may think is a small amount, will be too much if you aren’t experienced in using it.

8. Wait 72 hours to be sure that paint and glue are fully cured before tying the hanging wire to the screws and hanging outside.

9. Optional: For a more finished look, you can glue thin pieces of wood molding around the outside of your mosaic. To make the mosaic more weather-proof, you could apply a ceramic tile surface sealer but I did not attempt this and can’t tell you whether it would affect the appearance of the painted tiles.

Note: Although the paint and glue are permanent, harsh weather will take a toll on your mosaic. Consider bringing your mosaic indoors during cold or rainy months, or display it in a sheltered area, such as a patio under an awning.

How To Make Your Own Fútbolito (Table Top Soccer Game)

I’m excited to show you the project I made for May as part of my partnership with the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network and I think you guys are going to love this one, too.

Remember a couple years ago when I went to El Salvador and one of the souvenirs I came back with was a “fútbolito” (little table top soccer game)? … I mentioned in that post that we had actually always wanted to make our own “fútbolito” and so that’s what I decided to do for May’s project.

DoItYourselfFutbolito

For the month of May, the challenge was to use the PANTONE Universe’s Color of the Year, Emerald Green, (available exclusively at Lowe’s in Valspar Signature Paint.) … The color kind of reminded me of a soccer pitch and with my older son trying out for the soccer team again this summer, fútbolito is what came to mind!

To make your own, check out the directions below!

Make Your Own Fútbolito (Table Top Soccer Game)

You Need:

green paint (I used PANTONE Universe in Emerald, satin finish)
white paint (I just used craft paint)
a wooden board – 10 inches wide x 14 inches long x 3/4 inch deep
1 1/4 inch nails (I used white-colored nails but you can use nails of any color)
coffee straws (optional: Use different colored straws for each team)
hammer
pencil with eraser
scissors
medium flat paint brush
fine tip paint brush
ruler
protractor
drinking glass
white mason line (string)

suppliesMay

Directions:

1. With medium flat paint brush, paint the wood board green, allow to dry.

2. Measure and mark lines in pencil. (Refer to or print the diagram I made below!) Use the protractor for the half-moon at the front of the goal box. If you don’t have a protractor, you can use a drinking glass. Also use the drinking glass, (or a drafting compass if you want to be technical), to draw the circle in the center of the field.

(Click for full size version)

(Click for full size version)

3. With fine tip paint brush, paint lines white, allow to dry.

4. Mark spots for players, goal posts, and border in pencil as shown on the diagram.

5. Gently hammer nails into spots marked for goal posts and border. Note: Be careful not to crack the wood. This is more likely to happen when you’re close to the edge.)

6. Cut coffee straws into 3/4 inch sections. Slide a piece of coffee straw on each nail for players before hammering into place. Optional: If you can find two different colors of coffee straws, make one team one color and the other team another color.

7. Wrap string around nails on the outside line and around goal posts. I don’t have an exact method for this. Just tie the string on one corner nail and start going nail to nail, keeping the string taut, wrapping the string once around, before going to the next nail. Go around the entire perimeter and goal posts 4 times before tying off. Note: On your last pass over the goal posts, criss-cross at a diagonal as seen in the photos.

futbolitocollage

8. Erase stray pencil marks.

9. To play with your “fútbolito” (table top soccer game), you can use 2 popsicle sticks and a marble or other small round ball that will fit inside the goals. Another option is to use a penny or other coin and take turns flicking it.

10. Feeling extra creative? Paint or decorate wide “jumbo” popsicle sticks with brand names to make it look like the advertisements you see along the sides of real stadium soccer fields!

playfutbolito

Check out more from Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network by subscribing to their Creative Ideas Magazine and E-Newsletter, liking them on Facebook, following them on Twitter, (Hashtag: #LowesCreator), watching their videos on YouTube, re-pinning them on Pinterest, and by seeing what the other Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network members are up to.

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s to purchase products to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

Siestas in a Hammock and Feeling Altruistic

hammock_novica

It is 35 degrees outside today but I am not deterred. I am already thinking ahead to when I can hang a hammock on the frame in the yard and nap in the sunshine. Today, thanks to the people at NOVICA/National Geographic, I ordered a new one to replace our well-loved Salvadoran hammock which might not make it through the season.

Our new hammock (pictured above), is hand-woven by Maya artisans in Mexico using traditional techniques. This particular hammock is called “Magical Isle.” According to the website, “The tropical isle of Holbox, at the tip of the Maya Riviera inspires the color selection for this hammock. The sea assumes both green and blue undertones that merge around the isle to give it a mystical illusion.” – I’ll be daydreaming about that isle of Holbox when I take a nap in the hammock but I’ll also be feeling good about the purchase I made, knowing it supports people who are keeping traditional culture alive.

All of the products purchased on the NOVICA website support artisans around the world – and each handmade object is so incredible. Let me show you a few of my favorites.

curate1
curate2

All of these items here are actually part of my “Colorful Soul” Collection. On NOVICA you can curate collections of images, (kind of like Pinterest), and your efforts help highlight products for customers, thus supporting the artisans.

I have a feeling that most of you think this is all just as chévere as I do, so I’m very excited to tell you that NOVICA/National Geographic is allowing me to hold a giveaway! (Did you really think I’d brag about my new hammock without giving you the opportunity to get something, too?)

See the details below to enter!

THE GIVEAWAY

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a gift code for $75.00 USD to use on a purchase made in the NOVICA/National Geographic online store. (If you choose an item valued more than $75.00 or the total comes to more than $75.00 with shipping costs, you will be responsible for the remaining balance. Gift code expires 5/8/2013 and if not used before that date, will not be renewed.)

Approximate value: $75.00

How to Enter:

Visit the NOVICA/National Geographic online store and then leave a comment here telling me which item you love the most and which country it’s from. (It doesn’t have to be from Latin America!)

For a second entry, create an account on NOVICA, and curate at least one collection. Leave the link to your NOVICA collection in comments.

(Please read official rules below.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the company in charge of prize fulfillment. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid E-mail address in the E-mail address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between February 21st, 2013 through February 28th, 2013. Entries received after February 28th, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte!

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. NOVICA/National Geographic allowed me to pick something from their website for under $75 for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

10 Tarjetas de San Valentín!

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation in italics!

Sí, ya sé que es muy temprano por escribir sobre El Día de San Valentín, (también conocido como “Día de los Enamorados” y “Día del Amor y la Amistad”), pero yo no puedo esperar porque les tengo una sorpresa.

He creado algunos “valentines” para ustedes en español! Por favor, siéntase libres de compartirlos en las redes sociales, a través de E-mail, o incluso imprimirlos y darlos a su amorcito. Son completamente gratuitos. Besos!

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Title: 10 Valentines

Yes, I know it’s too early to write about Valentine’s Day, (also known as “Día de los Enamorados” and “Día del Amor y la Amistad” in Latin America), but I can’t wait because I have a surprise for you.

I have created valentines for you all in Spanish! Please, feel free to share these in social media, through E-mail, or even to print them and give them to your sweetheart. They’re completely free to use. Kisses!

callate_valentine_latinaish

cielitolindo_valentine.latinaish

corazondemelon_valentine_latinaish

lollipop_valentine_latinaish

mipasion_valentine_latinaish

papichulo_latinaish_valentine

parasiempre_valentine_latinaish

semio_valentine_latinaish

teamounchingo_valentine_latinaish

tueresmimuneca_valentine_latinaish

Please note: The license on each of these photos put in place by the individual photographers allows for non-commercial use and adaptations of the original with attribution. Each photo has been watermarked by me with the photographers name and linked to the original photograph. I want to thank the photographers for making their photos available for use under Creative Commons.

Stories from el Corazón

On SpanglishBaby I talked about a non-profit organization called Story Corps which records people’s true stories to create a sort of archive of American history for future generations. Some of these stories have been animated, and I shared a really hilarious yet heartwarming video from the Story Corps collection called Facundo the Great – (go check it out on SpanglishBaby!)

While I clicked around on the Story Corps website, I found several other animated stories I loved just as much as Facundo the Great. Here are two more, and if you love them mucho, check out Story Corps for más.

Piñatas Peludas

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is below!

Ustedes ya saben que me encantan las piñatas, (Bueno ¿Qué tipo de persona sin corazón no le gusta de ellas?)

Pero, la semana pasada encontré unas piñatas que nunca vi antes. Las piñatas eran bien grandes pero la cosa que me impresiono más era que las piñatas eran peludas – ¡sí! Peludas!

Les voy a enseñar para que me entiendan mejor qué estoy diciendo.

Ya ven que no estoy loca y tenía razón! Las piñatas son peludas, ¿vá?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

You all already know that I love piñatas, (well, what sort of heartless person doesn’t like them?)

However, the other week I found some piñatas that I had never seen before. The piñatas were kind of big but the thing that impressed me most was that the piñatas were furry – yes! Furry!

I’ll show you so you have a better idea of what I mean.

You see, I’m not crazy, I was right! The piñatas are furry, are they not?

Random El Salvador

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is in italics!

Cuándo regresamos de El Salvador yo compartí con ustedes un montón de fotos que tomé mientras estábamos allí pero todavia tengo unas fotos interesantes que no encajan fácilmente en un tema. Hoy comparto esas fotos “random” con ustedes.

When we returned from El Salvador I shared a whole bunch of photos with all of you which I had taken while we were there. However, I still have some interesting photos that don’t fit easily into a category – Today I share those “random” photos with you.

Una Tía de Carlos tiene un van decorado con un imagen de los “Thundercats” – no sé por qué.

One of Carlos’s aunts has a van decorated with an image of the “Thundercats” – I don’t know why.

La próxima vez que se quejan de tener que lavar la ropa, mejor estar agradecidos por su lavadora y secadora. Esta es la forma de lavar la ropa en la casa de Carlos.

Next time you complain about needing to do laundry, be thankful for your washer and dryer. This is how you do laundry at Carlos’s house.

Camisas de la Selecta (equipo de fútbol) para toda la familia por venta en una tienda en Metrocentro.

La Selecta (soccer team) shirts for the whole family for sale in a store at Metrocentro.

Donas por venta en WalMart, San Salvador. (Fijaste que no están en una vitrina?)

Donuts for sale at WalMart, San Salvador. (Did you notice they’re not in a glass case?)

Pregunté por qué los árboles y postes de teléfono estaban pintados de blanco en la parte de abajo. Se me dijo que le da un aspecto limpio y simboliza la paz, (no sé si es verdad.)

I asked why trees and telephone poles were painted white on the bottom. I was told that it gives a clean look and symbolizes peace, (I don’t know if that’s true.)

CD’s, DVD’s, etc.

Chalet Teresita, Chalatenango

Estos jóvenes estaban usando pintura en aerosol en la pared en plena luz del día. Estaban destruyendo la propiedad o creando arte? No lo sabemos.

These young people were spray painting the wall in broad daylight. Were they destroying property or creating art? We don’t know.

¿Quién quiere agua de coco?

Who wants agua de coco?

Este era el pasajero en frente de nosotros en la fila mientras esperábamos abordar nuestro vuelo de regreso. Una familia en los Estados Unidos iba a comer Pollo Campero por la cena. (Tenga en cuenta que la bolsa tiene una foto de la catedral antes de que fuera destruido unos meses más tarde.)

This was the passenger in front of us in line while we waited to board our flight home. A family in the United States is going to eat Pollo Campero for dinner. (Note that the bag has a photo of the cathedral before it was destroyed a few months later.)