Smashing! Tips for broken china mosaics

Making mosaics out of china has to be one of the most enjoyable crafts I’ve tried.  Here’s a tea tray I made using china plates and saucers.  It started when I broke one of my mother’s Blue Willow plates (an accident!) and then snatched up the pieces before she could throw them away. The other plates I found at a thrift shop. My mum now has this tray… with pieces of her broken plate visible in the lower left corner.

There are many tutorials on mosaics available online so I won’t go into all the steps, but here are my top five tips:

1. If you use china, rather than tile, try to find pieces of a similar thickness so you end up with an even surface to your mosaic.

2. Teacups, bowls, or other curved china pieces won’t work as well as plates, if you’re covering a flat surface.

3. Test your adhesive! Glue on a couple of pieces of china, let them sit overnight, and then see if you can pry them off. I learned the hard way on an early mosaic project…  I made a pretty blue and yellow mosaic picture frame, only to discover after a few months that the pieces were falling off.

4. Mix up the pieces randomly, group them by colour to make a design, or keep the patterns from the china intact. Or do as I did, and use the edge/rim pattern from one plate, and the centre from another. Save the plain white pieces for background.

5. Don’t leave gaps of more than 1/4 inch between pieces of china. If your china pieces are far apart and there is a lot of grout showing, it will be harder to distinguish the design of your mosaic. Or it might look like you didn’t have enough pieces of china, or were in a hurry to finish.

Most of all, enjoy the process… mosaics are a lot of fun. I particularly like the part where I get to smash the dishes!  It’s also a great way to turn something broken into something beautiful.


About Kate

An artist and creative living advocate, I blog about Creative Canadian Women at

Posted on May 31, 2010, in crafts and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Well thats just beautiful! I’ve only really seen mosaics using the pieces to make a picture (Dont like it much) but the way you used the pieces to look like what they were originally…love it!!!! xxx

  2. Great hints for the beginner! Thanks for sharing … I’ve posted a link.

  3. I just recently stumbled on your website and love it ! I especially like your tips on mosaics as I have a drawer full of broken blue willow and want to do something with it. I imagine a blue willow bird bath but your tray idea is appealing. You have many inspiring ideas.

  4. Hey there! My name is Megan and I am doing a mosaic project for my art class. Part of the assignment includes interviewing a “mosaic artist.” Would you be interested?

  1. Pingback: How-to: DIY Mosaics–No Kits, Just Concrete!

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