When there are thousands of great ideas sometimes it’s hard to pick just one. This was one of the last crafts that I did as I prepared my A to Z challenge posts. I kept circling around from one upcycled craft to another. I was like a dog distracted by a squirrel my attention tenuous as I moved from one upcycled craft to the next all being brought to life with glorious possibility on Pinterest. As I veered from one craft to another, I took a step back and took a moment to breath.
I looked at my project list to identify specific things on my to-do list to see which ones actually worked with an upcycled project. Why make something that I really don’t have a use for?
When I found a pair of bed risers at Goodwill, I had my answer. I have been looking for four matching planters to use in the spring when I attempt yet another round of growing indoor herbs for the season. Last year I used various planters that I already had on hand. They worked but they were mismatched and they just didn’t have that personal vibe. Time to try and craft some new ones.
I recently completed a remodeling project on our downstairs bathroom. As part of that project, I tiled the backsplash to our new vanity using cork tiles. I loved how it came out although admit the actual project was extremely stressful as I was tiling around the faucets making it a tight space to work. But, like childbirth, you eventually forget the pain. I was up for another tiling project and I already had most of the supplies on hand.
What I had to brace myself for was the fact that there would be no way to get a perfect tile job on a curved surface that also tapered down as you got to the bottom. It would be a good test for the perfectionist deep inside myself to try something that I knew in advance would be perfectly imperfect. I was up for giving it a try.
I picked up some sheets of white penny tile. I stuck with white. I liked the contrast with the black risers and thought it would be a nice look with the gray grout I had on hand. This project did not have a lot of steps but it takes time as you do have to wait as things dry between steps.
I spread out on my kitchen table which has essentially become my craft space for the last two months. I actually have a craft room / office but had so many creative things happening for this challenge that I needed a extra room. I’m sure my family will be excited to be able to actually eat at the kitchen table again soon.
My husband drilled the bottom of each riser with three holes so that there would be drainage for the plants. We used a 1/4″ drill bit and the holes seemed to be the right size.
I applied the tile adhesive with my hand. I made sure to wear a rubber glove for protection. This method allowed me to get an even layer of adhesive over the curved surface.
I used the grout trowel to add groves to the adhesive. Not sure if I needed this step, but it’s how I’ve always tiled so I figured, why not?
I cut my penny tile sheets in half which was the perfect width of my risers. From there I cut the tile into strips of about 3-4 penny tiles per row. I applied these smaller “sheets” one section at a time. As I suspected, there were gaps between my rows.
I had an epiphany while I was waiting for my adhesive to dry. I had some miscellaneous mosaic pieces. I went through and picked out all the red ones. I would use these to fill in the gaps.
I let my tile adhesive dry for a day and then added the mosaic glass pieces to the larger gaps in the penny tile. I did this by adding tile adhesive to the back and placing them one by one. They were thinner than the tile so I used extra tile adhesive to raise them more level with the penny tiles. This was a slow process but I liked how the red mosaic pieces contrasted with the penny tile. I had to bring out the tile nippers in order to resize some of the red glass pieces to fit in the spaces available.
I waited another day to let the adhesive dry fully. Once dry I cleaned up any adhesive that was on top of the tiles or completely covering the groves. It’s hardened at this point so it’s a bit like chiseling. You don’t want to overdue this step as you might pull up a tile or two. The goal is to remove any tile adhesive that would be visible after grouting. I did accidently pull up a few of the red mosaic pieces but I simply super glued them back into their spots.
I let the risers sit for another day to be sure the adhesive was fully dry and then it was time to grout. It was a small surface so didn’t take long to cover the tile in grout. After applying the grout, I used a tile float to clear off any excess grout and to make sure the grout was pushed into all the crevices.
I wiped it down with a sponge until I removed all the grout from tile surfaces. This takes some time. It seems like you’ll never get the grout off the tiles but eventually the white started peaking through the gray.
If you’re not careful to remove the grout fully from the tile surface, you can get a haze that adds a dullness to the tiles. I’ve had grout haze before. I don’t like it so now I’m always careful to wipe my tile surfaces fully after grouting.
I love that the red mosaic tile made what was an imperfection into a more intentional artistic choice. Damn – that perfectionist vibe is strong. I just couldn’t let it go.
I am excited to have four matching planters for my herbs this year. They’ll go well with the plant markers that I made earlier in the challenge: Name that plant by prepping some long overdue plant markers.
I’ve lined them up along my picture window where they wait for seedlings to be ready in Maine.
This project went surprisingly smoothly. The only mishap was when my husband made the mistake of asking, “Why don’t you just buy planters?” If he wasn’t helping me drill the holes, things might have gotten ugly.
Bring on the basil, I’m ready for you!
Have you ever done a mosaic project?
I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2021. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Craft Projects for my Home. To read more of my A to Z posts from this year, click HERE.
38 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge | Upcycling bed risers into planters to give my spring herbs a lift”
I can’t remember if I did a mosaic project in my youth. Probably.
There is a home in our neighborhood that is completely covered in mosaics! It’s amazing! (And I’ve only seen the outside). https://gonzaloduran.com/
The mosaic tile house is so cool. It must have taken a long time to make.
This looks good but a lot of work.
It did take a lot of time because you have to wait between every step but it was surprisingly easy once I got into the groove. I’m sure it helped that I’ve done tile projects before so I knew what to expect.
Those are very nice. I would never have imagined just how you were going to make planters out of bed risers, but you did it! I love mosaics.
I was so excited when I saw that it was going to work out the way I had it in my head. That is not always the case.
Love the pots Karen. I can picture basil, coriander, rosemary and sage:) Oops–it’s your kitchen–what are your plans?
Your husband’s remarks remind me of the kind of banter my husband indulges in–but they have their uses, so it’s good to keep the peace.
Like you, I used mosaic tiles to create a back splash for my kitchen. We used to live in London then and we were ‘doing’ up our house. It turned out well.
I love how tile can really transform a space. I bet your backsplash was beautiful.
I am excited for May to arrive so I can buy my seedlings. We still need to finalize our herb selection but I love your suggestions!
Very clever! And the red is a nice color pop. Great job
I think the red mosaic pieces really did add a nice little touch to the final look.
I’m betting you’ll get an extra dose of satisfaction from your plants as you harvest them each time you took at those charming pots. Love your cork backsplash as well.
I think it will make me extra happy this year to see my herbs growing in pots that I made from hand.
Nice job! I like the splash of red there too.
Thank you! I’m always up for a pop of color.
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Perfect – good luck with the basil. Have a great weekend!
I am so excited to get my herbs this year!
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You’ve done it again — up-cycled/repurposed something I would never have thought to use. They came out great — and you KNOW they are sturdy! https://mollyscanopy.com/2021/04/undaunted-seventh-blogiversary-atozchallenge/
They are so sturdy! It was fun to see them transform.
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Hahaha, sometimes husbands don’t understand ;)) I love your pots, the red pops a lot of joy. Have fun with plants 😉
Thank you! Now, if only the weather would warm up here in Maine!
Those look great. I have never seen this project,very unique.
I couldn’t find anything similar online so had to wing it a bit and am so happy that it worked out.
I love penny tile! The floor of our master shower is penny tile (a metallic gray)… but it wasn’t a DIY project. Your planters turned out so cute!
I love penny tile. It really adds some fun to a space. I have some in my shower too although as an accent strip not on the floor. I bet it works well on the shower floor too.
Like childbirth, you eventually forget the pain, hahaha! I can tell you about tiling a curved surface 😉 A good ten years ago, my then toddler and I wanted to make our own Earth Day lamp by sticking square blue and green tiles onto a round lamp. The half-done project must still hide somewhere in the attic…
So apart from basil what will you be planting in your pretty pots?
Curved surfaces are hard! Fortunately this one was a soft enough bend where I could make it work.
I think we’re going to do some Rosemary, Mint, and Sage. There are so many great herbs to choose from so that may change.
Well worth all the time spent making them. I’m sure Basil and his fellow herberts will be very happy in their new homes!
I think they will too!
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So awesome and creative!!
I had been looking for matching planters for a while without luck so this was a great solution.
They came out great. That’s funny about your husband…. that sounds like mine whenever I ask him to help me do a project… “wouldn’t it just be easier…” My basil is coming along (in plastic cups right now).
Have a great day!
So glad your basil is coming along. That’s great!
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These look amazing! And what a creative idea! I never would have put all of those things together.
– Allison (https://lightningflashx.blogspot.com/)
I was so excited when this idea popped in my head and relieved when I finished and realized it had actually worked!
That’s a cute idea that I could get behind as I’ve done a little mosaic-ing.
Mosaics are so interesting. I haven’t done a lot of it but did do a mirror frame using sea glass that I still have in one of my bathrooms. I love the look of mosaics.
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Oooh, sea glass. We don’t seem to have it here but I’d love to go exploring and find some.
It did make for a cool mosaic.