Mosaic shower surround finally finished!

My shower surround is finally finished!

Okay well, the niche isn’t but that involves a promise and procrastination.

I finally bit the bullet and decided to JUST. DO. IT.

And I’m so glad I did!! Showering in it is as delightful as I’d hoped.

In taking photos of it, I have decided to make this a post about the whole bathroom. This is possibly the first themed room I’ve ever done. It is SO fun!  Anyhow, the shower is about half of the space.

I was concerned about making the grout stick to the celiling. Obviously it is not straight up but at a pretty steep angle and I felt that if I got the grout the right consistency and also if I positioned myself correctly, I would be able to do it and indeed that was the case. I made the grout a little thicker but not so thick that it was not sticky which can happen.  The hardest part was actually getting it up in the pointy peak part where the ceiling the wall meet because it is a small pointy space.

The big mistake I made and the thing I learned was that my placement of tape was STUPID. I put it in places where I could not extract it and did not need to protect that surface. Namely on the skylight, the floor and the side of the trim. see that hint of blue along the edge? TAPE.

Anyhow, here is the end result

and let me just say that showering in here, night or day is SUBLIME. Yes, a little bit of water bounces off your body or the shower floor and gets onto the bathroom floor but a nice absorbent rug takes care of that- way better than some suffocating and ugly off-gassing shower curtain.

The only plumbing glitch we encountered was that the brand new shower head was not working.  Apparently it had gunk in it from the new plumbing- we took off the head and pulled out the putty-like stuff and then it worked wonderfully!

Here are some detail shots:

a goldfinch,

a nest,

yes, the grout on the slate looks a bit sloppy- let me just say in my defense that slate is tricky with hidden cracks and a certain “attraction” for grout.

a redwinged blackbird and its nest, this one I made and it has holes in the bottom to drain any water.

a rabbit hiding in the prairie grasses;

I’m afraid the grey grout helped this rabbit hide a little more than I would have liked.

all the little details of the shower. The shower has a prairie theme  and the overall theme of the bathroom is birds and nests.

Another note on paint color. I picked it before the lights were installed. Once they were in the green (on the bottom) was overpowering in such a small space so I picked a much lighter green and had the upper half painted with that. I love the two tone- I think it worked out well. Props to Ray, my painter!

I made this toothbrush holder/vase- I think it’s what inspired the whole theme!

Now, does anyone know where I can get some egg-shaped soap? I had to carve these myself!

Mosaic Time Line Finished!

Whew!  I am very pleased to have finished the Murphy school Mosaic Time line.

This is the 3rd year I’ve worked on it with the 6th graders.

I am continually impressed with the level of capability amongst so many of the students there.

This year we added 3 more eras:

a Sampan from Feudal China,

a Building from the Renaissance

and a Globe and ship to represent the Age of Exploration.

The steps of the process were as follows:

All the students drew pictures of things representing something from one of the three time periods.

I chose some images and made life-size drawings.

The kids came in small groups of around 8 to lay tile out on these drawings.

After the mosaic was completely laid out students or I taped the whole thing.

I then cut it into manageable sized parts.

Students applied mastic

and then with two student assistants, I lifted the parts up and held them in position while my helpers pressed it into the mastic.

Once everything was up, the students helped me with two more steps.

I had a student glue the actual time line “dashes” individually up onto  the wall while the clear tape was being removed by other students

The mastic was allowed to dry for several days.

The last stage was the grouting. I put up an outline of blue tape around each mosaic to contain the grout and then I put down a drop cloth. (These drop tarps are great in that they are pre-taped and come on a dispenser roll!)

I choose to grout alone as it is too tricky to try to manage students at the same time- it is messy, requires a fair amount of skill and can cut one’s fingers. I wear latex gloves but they offer little protection.

In fact, now that I think of it, this is the first mosaic I have done where I have escaped without sliced fingertips!  Yay!   I must be getting better at this!

After using sponges to  apply the grout using a kind of sweeping ‘S’ shaped movement to bring the grout into the cracks from various angles, I go back to the earliest piece that I grouted and hope that it has reached the “dusty” stage of dryness.

Lastly, I clean them off vigorously with paper “rags” and then remove the tape before the grout hardens completely. If I didn’t, the tape would actually get trapped under the hardened grout (it’s cement actually).

and VOILA!! The finished Time Line.