Moonscape recycled mosaic…& free mosaic material for you!

Moonscape is a commission which I have made almost entirely from recycled material. The base and background is made of tiles in the local Tile Store breakages bin. The coloured tile is from the client and the silver glittery tiles are a material you may well have in your home and throw away! Read on to find out more…

The client wanted me to use thick ceramic tiles left over from his bathroom decoration. He liked the design of another of my mosaics (From the Rising of the Sun). The rest was up to me as long as it ‘had some glittery bits’. Me? Glittery?!

Spot the unusual material? All will be revealed at the end!

The ceramic tiles given to me were really thick so I used cement adhesive (thinset) to build up the base so I could use coloured mirror (much thinner) within each moon. This was the only non-recycled material used,

  The three moons are finished.
Doing the background.
Ready for grouting.
Voila! Mounted on whitewashed wood – also recycled.
I get a few days to enjoy Moonscape before my client comes to collect the piece. Can you see the shiny silver bits in the background? Believe it or not, its an everyday object that gets thrown away. Can you guess?
Yup, halogen light bulbs. If you use them, keep them when they are spent. If you don’t, ask your friends to save them for you. It is a source of beautiful, reflective material which you can make into tesserae (mosaic term for small tiles) .  Here’s how to do it :

I wrapped them in a tea towel and bashed them. Please, please don’t try this unless you are wearing protective goggles and gloves as the shards are sharp.Once you have cracked the bulb open, remove the clear glass disc (mmm…what can we use this for??). Using tile nippers like these…

…or two wheeled cutters like these, carefully cut the shiny material into workable sized tesserae.

You need to break the curve of the glass sufficiently so it doesn’t stick out too much when stuck down. Here’s what you end up with.

When you come to stick them down, make sure you stick them with the curvy ends pointing up to the sky (like a flat ‘u’ shape). If you stick it the other way round, the adhesive wears away the reflective film and you end up with clear glass (as I tried and discovered!). The results are beautiful, almost holographic tesserae that really sparkle and catch light like a rainbow – tesserae which embody the spirit of recycling and re-purposing rather than throwing things away. And its free. Happy days.

If you want to see another use of halogen light bulbs in mosaic, click here and look at my award winning Owl mosaic. It all started one day when I was just about to chuck two light bulbs away and said those immortal words “I wonder if there’s anything I can do with these….”

14 Responses to “Moonscape recycled mosaic…& free mosaic material for you!”

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  1. Dana Barbieri says:

    This is so gorgeous Concetta. I LOVE the use of the halogen bulbs. I have never seen such pretty halogen bulbs here in the US. What a lucky customer you have. Thanks for sharing your process. I am assuming your studio is under lock and key with little ones around.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What a fab idea – freecycle here i come! Somehow cannot get to sign this beyond anon… sorry
    Katy in Crieff

  3. Anonymous says:

    You are so clever Concetta and moons look gorgeous
    Kind regards
    Dawn Chamberlin

  4. Jennifer says:

    It's gorgeous, and I think the sparkly bits add just the right touch.

  5. Louise Gale says:

    ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. I love the glitter and so super seeing your process and materials i would never of guessed of, like using the bulb. xxx

  6. Barbara Peacock says:

    Love that you used the smooth edges of the tiles for the moon edges.
    Looks Fab!!


  7. jacqueline says:

    Dearest Concetta, this is awesome!! I love the gilttering! Thanks so much for sharing your process and materials with us!! Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you!

  8. Jenny Lee Wentworth says:

    I love seeing your artwork start to finish, it turned out beautiful! Hope all is well in London. 🙂


  9. Cathy Cant says:

    Lightbulbs! what a great idea. I shall use this, and look for other unlikely materials as well. (Hmm, some of my halogens are looking a little murky …) Thank you!

  10. Concetta says:

    Thanks all for your kind comments on this recycling project…hope you can find some good creative use for them!

  11. Irit says:

    What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Rachel Nixon says:

    I remember you talking about these, they look gorgeous- I'm a bit of a sucker for glitter!

  13. Frameless Shower Door says:

    Frameless Shower doors have evolved like every other design feature in today's bathrooms.
    If you're remodeling or building a full bath, chances are you will be tempted by this attractive design choice. Ordering a frameless shower door is a little bit like building an addition!


  1. […] over 100 years, no less) and my pot of home made tesserae recycled from disused halogen bulbs (see here for how to do […]

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