Leafy mosaic pavers
Make these beautiful pavers for your outside pool or deck area. They look great in-between groundcovers, sunk into lawn or to enhance that little corner where nothing will grow.
By Karin Wainwright
Alcolin Wallpaper Paste – 50g powder sachet
Alcolin Ready Mixed Mortar – 20kg bag makes four pavers
Alcolin Latex Bond Cement Additive
A sheet or bag of mixed marble squares and rectangles
Green river glass and iridescent tiles
Thick brown paper cut into 300 x 300mm
Regular chicken wire cut 20mm smaller than the brown paper
Pencil, eraser and ruler
Wheeled glass cutter
Drill with cement mixing attachment
Bucket in which to mix cement
Building the jig
*Four 35mm x 70mm x 325mm pine for the sides
*360mm x 360mm square of plywood
*Eight 4mm x 100mm bolts with hex heads and eight 4mm wing nuts
Drill 8mm (not 4mm) holes through the narrow edge of the pine sides and through the base
Make sure to countersink the holes underneath to allow the hex heads to sit flush with the
Step 1: Check that your paper fits into the recess of the jig and trim if necessary. Draw a 10mm border right around the edge of the brown paper on the shiny side, then roughly draw the outline and veins of an ivy leaf inside the square.
Step 2: Mix the Alcolin Wallpaper Paste as per the instructions on the packet. Paint a little bit on the inside of the frame line. Place the marble squares face down into the paste and press down gently until you feel they are settled. Note that the brown paper will pucker, this is normal. If you do not have Alcolin Wallpaper Paste, you can substitute it with Alcolin Cold Glue. Mix three parts water to one part glue. This mixture is wetter, but it works just as well.
Arrange a row of squares onto the dry surface first for the entire side, so that you can see what the spacing needs to be.
Step 3: Next cut the green river glass into quarters with the wheeled glass cutter. Paint and stick them face down along the outline and inner veins of the ivy leaf. Allow this to dry for a bit.
Step 4: Cut the iridescent tiles into random shapes and fill the inside of the leaf with these pieces. As the paper may be quite uneven at this stage, it is helpful to place a flat object with a bit of weight onto the leaf to smooth it out.
Step 5: Use your tile nipper to cut the marble into random pieces. Some of it will be quite rough because marble breaks unpredictably, but this does not matter as it all adds to the character of the picture. Paint the leftover spaces with wallpaper paste and set the marble face down in a jigsaw fashion, making sure to leave enough space between the tiles so that the mortar can seep in. Once again, you can use something to weight it down as it dries. This also helps with contact. The mosaic side of things is now complete and you can set it aside to dry properly overnight.
Step 6: You are now ready for the next step of casting the paving stone. Using the drill attachment, mix the Alcolin Ready Mixed Mortar as instructed on the packaging, substituting every third of water for Alcolin Latex Bond. It improves adhesion to the tiles on the brown paper and flexural strength of the paver. Let it rest for a few minutes.
Step 7: While you are waiting, coat the inside of the jig with a thin layer of petroleum jelly. Make sure there are no clumps in the corners as this will affect the shape of the paver. Now place the mosaic into the jig as shown in the image with the brown paper downwards. Wash your hands and make sure no petroleum jelly gets onto the tiles as the cement will not stick to it and the tiles will end up loose.
Wear a glove when applying the petroleum jelly. You can then remove the glove and have no residual jelly on your hands that can get onto the tiles.
Step 8: Gently spread a thin layer of mortar onto the mosaic, coaxing the mortar into the gaps by smearing downwards with your gauging trowel. Next, lift the edge of the jig and bang it down onto the work surface a few times to help the mortar fill into all the gaps. You will see air bubbles appear on top.
Step 9: Weigh the leftover mortar and add half of its weight in rough gravel. This makes it strong like concrete. Spread another thin layer of this and smooth it out. Place the chicken wire square on top of this while making sure the wire does not come near the edges of the jig. Fill the rest of the jig up with the concrete mix to 10mm under the rim.
Step 10: It is very important that this dries and cures slowly. Do not place it in the sun. It needs to go in a cool place and be covered with plastic. Spray the pavers with water once a day. After a week of curing, the pavers will be ready to take out of the jigs.
Step 11: Remove the wing nuts and flex the walls slightly outward to loosen. This is the reason you need to drill 8mm holes but use 4mm bolts. It is to enable this movement. Now you can remove the walls.
Step 12: Take the paver and turn it over so that the brown paper faces up. Wet the brown paper with warm water and dishwashing liquid. Do not rub. Once the paper is saturated, loosen one of the corners and gently pull the paper back onto itself. Sometimes you are lucky and it all comes off in one piece, but not always. Remove all the brown paper and clean. Don’t worry if you notice some little holes, just mix a tiny bit of mortar and fill them right up. Clean and polish with a dry cloth. Once you have placed it in your garden, it will give your family joy for many years as it is very strong.
Karin Wainwright, 083-309-1682, firstname.lastname@example.org
All materials and tools available from Mosaic Workshop Store in Killarney Gardens, Cape Town and online at Mosaic Workshop