How to Create a Mosaic Bird Bath
Creating your own mosaic bird bath is a great, creative project you can probably finish in one afternoon. It will give your garden an interesting focal point. You can also save a lot of money by making it yourself.
Step One: Design
Since you will be laying tiles on a curved surface, your design will be a bit more difficult to plan if you're trying to draw it on paper. Its a good idea to do this to scale as closely as possible so you know what you are working with before you begin to work with tile and adhesive. This will also help you to know how much tile you actually need for this project. It's easy to underestimate.
Another way to design is use a pencil to draw the design directly onto the surface where you're putting your tile pieces. Pencil can be erased or drawn over as you edit your design.
Step Two: Apply the Tiles
Once you are satisfied with your design, you can start adhering the tiles to the base. Start in the center of the piece and work outward. Try to keep the area between the tiles very small with the idea in mind that the less grout you must use, the better the finished project will look. Tile is also more sturdy than grout, so more tile will make the project last longer.
Apply the adhesive or silicone to the back of each tile piece and a tiny bit on the base where you are putting the tile. This is called "buttering" the tiles. When you push the tile piece into the adhesive, wiggle it into place a bit so it will lock into the adhesive. If you want to move tiles, do it almost immediately, as the adhesive dries quickly. If you move it when partially dried, it may not adhere when water is put in the birdbath.
Continue on in this matter until the entire base is covered in tile and you are happy with the design. Then, allow your adhesive to dry at least 24 hours or per manufacturer's instructions. Don't skip this step. Let the adhesive dry on its own and don't use a heatgun or blow dryer or sit it in the sun.
Step Three: Finishing the Birdbath
The next step is to grout the birdbath. When purchasing your grout, talk to a store clerk so that you get the correct type. Be sure to tell them it is for a birdbath and will always be under water. Apply the grout as directed on the container. Scoop up some with your putty knife and lay in a thick coat vertically across the surface, then horizontally push the grout into the cracks between the tiles to make sure they are filled. Work this way over the entire surface.
Once the area is completely grouted, go over it with a wet sponge to remove excess grout. You will need to do this several times until your surface tiles are clean. Don't push hard with the sponge or you will remove grout between the tiles also. When the grout is dry, usually about 24 hours, you can seal the birdbath and fill it with water.