Even the pesky pebbles from your garden can be put to good use in this Zen garden-inspired frame. A mixture of tile adhesive and craft sand make a textured grout that will hold your found pebbles securely in place.
• collection of pebbles
• unfinished wood frame with a flat surface molding
• dyed desert craft sand in tan, dark brown, and natural
• burnt umber acrylic paint
• hanging hardware
• clear drying mosaic tile adhesive
• clear furniture paste wax
• putty knife
• foam brush
• measuring cup
• clean, soft cloth
• large disposable container and stirrer
1. Paint the frame with the burnt umber acrylic paint, and let dry. Add hanging hardware to the back of the frame, if desired.
2. For a large frame (cut the following recipe in half for a small frame), combine 1/2 cup (.125 liter) natural craft sand with 1/4 cup (.06 liter) each dark brown and tan sand. Place the combined sands, 1 cup (.25 liter) clear-drying tile adhesive, and a large spoonful of water in a disposable container, and mix well. Add more sand, adhesive, or water as necessary to make a smooth, thick, spreadable mixture. The texture and consistency should resemble creamy peanut butter.
3. Prop the frame, right side up and level, on some old jars or cans over a protected work surface. Spread the sand mixture evenly over the front and sides of the frame with a putty knife. The mixture will self-level and maintain a smooth surface on the top, but you may need to even out and reapply the sides manually a few times.
4. When the frame is completely covered, let the sand mixture set for 10 minutes. Scrape any drips off the bottom edges as they occur.
5. Set the pebbles firmly into the sand mixture. Let dry completely. Dip a clean cloth in furniture wax and lightly wipe the pebbles to accentuate their colors and provide a protective finish.
This mosaic technique is a perfect decoration for memento and jewelry boxes or clock faces. You can also use it to accent backsplashes, table tops, headboards, or even a chair rail in a beach house.
Excerpted from A Gardener's Craft Companion by Sandra Salamony and Maryellen Driscoll. Copyright 2002 by Rockport Publishers, Inc. Excerpted, with permission by Rockport Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.