Display electric votive candles inside decorative surrounds covered with stone tiles.
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Start by using the flattest and straightest board available. Cupped or warped wood will make the sides difficult to assemble. The surround can be built with or without corner cleats, depending on how much reinforcement you’ll need.
From the 1/4 x 4 board, cut four sides (A) 3-1/8 inches long. If you decide to add corner cleats (B) later, cut four cleats 3-1/4 inches long (1/4 inch shorter than the width of the sides) from a 1/2-inch square dowel.
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. If possible, use a stop block on your saw to cut the sides equal lengths.
Glue and clamp two sides (A) (Project Diagram, Drawing 1) with the end of one board flush with the face of the other. Check for a 90-degree angle with a square. Repeat with the other pair of sides.
Glue and clamp the pairs of sides together to form an open-ended box. The parts should be arranged so that each side has one face and one edge.
(Optional) If you wish to add cleats, glue and clamp them in the corners so that one end is flush with the top edges of the box. There should be a 1/4-inch recess between the edges of the box and the ends of the cleats to accommodate the bottom (C).
Measure the bottom opening of the box, and cut the bottom (C) to size (about 2-7/8 x 2-7/8). 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 rock from the back. Separate the tiles into four groups of four tiles each in the patterns and colors of your choice.
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 another tile flush with the bottom of the box, but overhanging the opposite side of the box by about 3/8 inch (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Add the remaining row on that side, allowing the top tiles to also overhang the top of the box. Turn the box on its side so the tiles lay flat. Let the adhesive cure for at least three hours.
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, allowing the adhesive to cure before turning the box. The edges of the overhanging tiles should be roughly flush with the faces of the tiles on the adjoining sides.