OK, as I was kindly given the off cuts from a stained glass maker I decided to use them up on this patio set. I was given it from Freecycle, in somewhat grotty condition. One of the chairs was broken, it was rusty and the previous lady had tried removing the terracotta tiles, leaving a broken and uneven surface. I was up against time with this project, as I have had two weddings to cope with, and it has not been a good summer.It needed to be done quickly before the weather set in and I didn’t want it left till next year. Therefore I had to rush out and do a bit here and there whenever I was free and the sun came out! (which isn’t very often in the UK!)
The first thing I had to deal with was the broken chair. The pin had broken and got wedged, and there was no way I would be strong enough to take it out and re pin it. It took it to our local ironmongers who said they couldn’t do it, and the suggestion was a blacksmith! Now I can’t afford a blacksmith, and all I wanted was the pin removed and a new one put in. I took it to my son in law who owns a building firm and he did it in a few minutes! You just needed the right equipment! The set is caste iron and I can barely move the chairs, never mind the table. The next step was to spray paint the metal. I decided that brush painting it was too fiddly and time consuming. I removed the worst of the rust first and bought a black metal spray paint.
The next problem I hit was the fact that the surface was now uneven, so I concreted the top ( son in law grumbled it should by so many millimetres thick, it was too late by the time I found out, I had just levelled it off! This was the hardest part for me, I am not a concrete person!
The chairs did not need levelling, so I felt I was over the worst!
Over the year I had periodically tumbled some of the off cuts to smooth the edges. I now had to rearrange and recut some o they would fit the table. I stuck the glass down with PVA glue after much deliberation on the best glue to use. Previously, when I had used PVA under glass it had dried in a puddle which could be seen. What I did learn doing this, however was to leave the glass for at least a week, as I could see that it wasn’t dry underneath. I couldn’t see that with opaque mosaics. I learnt from this to leave the tiles MUCH longer than I have done in the past before grouting. It did eventually dry clear and I had none of the issues with tiles coming off that I usually have when I grout.
The next job was tiling the chairs. I realised I would see the terracotta tiles would show through the glass, so I tried spray painting the seats with the same black metal paint. However this didn’t work, as when the light shone through the glass it looked a different colour with the backdrop. Going back to the drawing board, I went to get some concrete coloured paint – baulked at the price, I only needed a small amount – so instead mixed some outdoor white paint with black acrylic to get an approximate grey. This was then painted on! The next stage was to attach the tiles as before.
After that came the grouting – I chose commercial black grout, that wasn’t too bad, just a lot of elbow grease to remove the grout haze and polish it up. I had included some glass I had frosted as an experiment, but on average the clear glass looked better and was easier to clean.
Finally…all that was left to do was the paint around the sides to mask the edges of the grout and provide continuity. I sanded down any rough patches first and cheated by spraying the paint on with a mask over the top and back. The odd bit of touch up and voila!
I estimate the total cost for this project was under £20 ( $ US 30 ) The main cost was the metal paint, some makes were very expensive and I shopped around. I anticipate having to respray it every year in our climate, and I have even splashed out on a cover the protect it from our great British weather! The only issue I have now is finding any time ( and sun) to sit down and use it! I also have to tidy up my patio before winter sets in! I will power wash it next spring. The woman who helps with my garden suggested doing a matching mirror as a backdrop! It wont be this year, that’s for sure!