Cinderblock Tiled Planters for my Portulaca Flowers August 07 2016, 0 Comments

Would you ever have guessed that what you are looking at tiled were once two ugly gray cinder blocks left over from a house construction project years ago? I was tired of looking at them in the yard and decided to put glass tiles on them and incorporate them into my landscaping. This completely upcycled my cinder blocks, giving them a whole new purpose and a home to my favorite new plant...the Portulaca.

Placing the two cinder blocks side by side with the holes up was my original thought. I broke up the pattern with some triangular glass tiles forming a belt across the middle. I was lucky enough to have colors that all blended together nicely.

Here's the whole look that I ended up with next to the bulkhead to the house. And the project was fairly simple to do. 

Grab a couple of cinder blocks and similar products to the one's I've used. You'll need tiles, glue, grout and a tool to apply your grout between the cracks of your tile. Sometimes people need to use spacers to get their tile spaces perfect. If you need those, grab some at your local hardware store before you start. I did these freehand so I don't have any spacers to show you. 

Start by arranging your tile pieces into the pattern that you want. You can be as simple or as elaborate when designing.

Make sure you cover the entire surface and have all the tile pieces that you'll need. (You wouldn't want to be half way through and realize you don't have enough to cover your project). 

A close up to see the tiles unglued placement. I aimed for 1/8" to 1/4" spacing between the tiles at most. Next up was gluing them in place. I chose E6000 glue because this glue has never failed me. It's strong holding and dries quickly enough for my liking. I gave about 4 hours in between gluing and grouting.

Grouting is a process like frosting a cake. You want to be smooth about it and take your time. The grout must go in between all of the cracks and should be done on a day that no rain is in the forecast for at least 48 hours. There is something about the grout not curing properly when it's too hot, too cold or too humid.  I happened to do this project on a 90 degree day and it caused the faint cracks that you see in the upcoming finished photos. I could have gone back over a second time with the grout and filled all the cracks in, however I liked the ending result and thought the cracks gave it character. That's the fun in it all...it's YOUR project, do what you want with it. And have fun!

This is what it looks like with white grout and prior to wiping it off the tile fronts with a rag, scraping tool and water. The grout will need at least 20 minutes to stiffen a bit before moving on to this step. I've even let it harden overnight during other stepping stone projects and haven't had trouble polishing the grout off the tile fronts. 

Magically the pattern starts to emerge as the excess grout is wiped repeatedly. The scraping tool is needed to carefully pull off thicker sections of excess grout. I tend to over grout and use more than less. Because I know I can always wipe it off. 

The scraping tool glides across the tile fronts and I'm very careful not to gauge out any from the cracks or scrape the glass tile. 

    

Careful scraping with a combination of wet sponge applications will slowly reveal the green triangle in the above three close-ups. The first pic shows just a little tip of the light green glass tile. (It's barely noticeable below the scraping tool, under the blue triangle tile). The second photo shows the tile after a few careful scrapes and lastly the third shows it completely exposed. Now do this for each one until the entire pattern is shown.

 

Once completed, decide if you need another coat of grout to touch up any areas. Hopefully you'll find things that you can make into stepping stones or garden/lawn ornamental decorations, such as these planters. Good luck and be sure to check out some of my upcoming tiling projects. I've been in the mood to do this kind of art outside lately. I blame the summer sunshine calling me outdoors and still being able to create something new for the day.

Written by Jennifer Quilty for Tamm's Marketplace on 8/7/16