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Cover a plain planter with a mosaic of stone tiles for an attractive centerpiece or room decoration.
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From the 1/4 x 6 board cut four sides (A) 5 inches long. From a 1/2-inch square dowel, cut four corner cleats (B) 5-1/4 inches long (1/4 inch shorter than the width of the sides). If possible, use a stop block on your saw to cut groups of parts to identical lengths -- a necessity for keeping the box square.
Buy the flattest and straightest boards available. Cupped or warped boards will make the sides difficult to assemble. When sawing a fresh board or dowel, remove about 1/2 inch to 1 inch from the end to make it square and free of tiny cracks.
Glue and clamp a corner cleat (B) to a side (A) with one edge of the cleat flush with the end of the side and the end of the cleat flush with the top edge of the side (Project Diagram, Drawing 1). Repeat for the remaining three sides and cleats, taking care to create four identical parts.
Glue and clamp one side/cleat assembly to a second side/cleat assembly using a carpenter’s square to ensure a 90-degree angle. Repeat for the remaining pair of sides/cleats and let dry.
Glue and clamp the two L-shaped assemblies to form a box. Check that all the corners are square on the assembled box.
When assembled correctly, there should be a 1/4-inch recess between the bottom of the open box and the bottoms of the cleats to accommodate the bottom board (C).
Measure the bottom opening of the box, and cut the bottom (C) to size. Glue and clamp the bottom to the box.
Paint the inside and outside of the box (Lincoln Cottage Black shown).
From a sheet of mosaic tile, remove the individual tiles from the mesh backing. Use a putty knife or utility knife to remove any loose adhesive, mesh strands, or flaking stone from the back. Separate the tiles into four groups of nine in the patterns of your choice.
Avoid damaging any of the tiles as you remove them. All 36 tiles will be needed to make one vase surround.
Apply a dab of adhesive to the underside of a tile and press it firmly against the box at one bottom corner. The edge and bottom of the tile should be flush with the side and bottom of the box. Add two more tiles to complete the bottom row -- all three tiles should be flush with the bottom of the box, but overhang the opposite side of the box by about 3/8 inch (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Add the two remaining rows on that side, allowing the top tiles to also overhang the top of the box. Let the adhesive dry for at least two hours before moving the box.
Turn the box to expose the side next to the tile overhang. Add a second facing of tiles, again allowing them to overhang the side of the box. Let dry, and repeat two more times. The edges of the overhanging tiles should be roughly flush with the faces of the tiles on the adjoining sides.