Mosaic Ceiling Fan

Garden Art

I've been wanting to mosaic a ceiling fan and turn it into a giant garden flower for quite some time. I finally got around to it this past winter and wanted to share the project with you. I wish I could have had a 5-blade fan to work with, but I can't complain since it was free (rescued from a dumpster from a friend who was remodeling their new house). The cool thing about this project is that we kept the base attached to the fan blades so that the blades will turn in the wind. Here's what you'll need to do to create your own.

Materials Needed:

  • Ceiling fan
  • Soapy water for cleaning
  • Small zip lock plastic bag (I used a snack sized bag)
  • Adhesive of choice (I used No Days Mosaic Adhesive Film and Weldbond)
  • Stained Glass or Glass Tiles
  • Ruler or Straight Edge (if you are cutting glass strips)
  • Glass Cutter
  • Breaker Pliers
  • Glass Grinder (optional)
  • Eye Protection (if you will be grinding and cutting glass)
  • Sanded Grout
  • Water
  • Newspaper
  • Sponge
  • Sandpaper
  • Damp Cloth
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Outdoor Sealer
  • Heat Gun (only needed if you use an adhesive film)
  • Rubber Gloves or Nitrile/Latex Gloves
  • Dust Mask and/or Respirator
  • 4" x 4" post (optional)
  • Cement or Post Holder (optional)
  • 2 - 4" Deck Screws (optional)
  • 4 - 1-3/4" long composite deck screws (optional)

Instructions:

Prep Work

  • Take the fan apart and save all the screws inside a plastic zip lock baggie (you don't want to lose these parts).
  • Clean all the parts with soapy water and allow them dry thoroughly before you begin your work.
  • Use the sandpaper to rough up the surface of the fan blades so that the paint will adhere to them.
  • Wipe the blades clean with a damp cloth and allow to dry.
  • Use a primer appropriate for the material that the fan blades are made out of. Mine were made of wood, so I used a white wood primer. If you want to paint any of the metal pieces from the fan, prime them with metal primer. Make sure all painting is done outdoors or in a well ventilated area with an exhaust fan to remove paint fumes. Wear a respirator for safety.

The Mosaic

  • Put on your eye protection and then cut the stained glass or tiles into the shapes that you want. I chose to have my design mimic the sun's rays, so I cut strips of mirror and red stained glass and then cut some smaller shapes that would mimic the center of a flower. I used a glass grinder to smooth the edges and to help make the shapes. You could probably use a Dremel with a diamond grinding bit to smooth edges as well. You just need to keep the glass wet while grinding.

  • For this project I used an awesome adhesive film made by No Days (links to the products I used are found at the end of this article). All you do is cut the film to fit the surface and then lay the tiles or stained glass on top of the adhesive film. When you have all the pieces in place, you use the heat gun to melt the adhesive. Allow the adhesive to cool for about 10 minutes or so and you are ready to grout. So fast and easy! You could also use Weldbond, or a thinset mortar, but drying time could take a day or two before you could grout. If you use thinset mortar, the weight would be heavier also, in case that is a factor for your project.
  • Grout the stained glass when the adhesive has set. For this project I used a bright white sanded grout and added red craft paint to it to make a pink color (you must use sanded grout for outdoor applications). I added just enough water to make it the consistency of a very thick brownie batter (or fudge before it has set). A grout that is too wet is weak and takes forever to cure. A grout that is too dry will also be weak. It's important to allow the grout to sit for about 10 minutes after mixing it. This allows all the water to be absorbed by the grout. Use a gloved hand to help mix it (make sure there are no lumps).

  • Once the grout has set for about an hour, start wiping away excess grout with crumpled up newspaper. If too much grout is being removed, allow the grout to sit for another hour or two and then try again. After about 4 hours, remove any grout film from the stained glass with a damp sponge until most of the residue is gone.
  • After 24 hours, wipe down the piece with a paper towel or rag to remove any final grout residue from the stained glass. Seal the grout with an outdoor mosaic grout sealer. If you used mirror in your project, try not to get the sealer on the mirror or it will leave a film.

  • While I was in various stages of grout curing, I painted the various parts of the ceiling fan so it would look less like a ceiling fan once displayed in the garden. The metal parts were primed with a primer for metal and then painted with spray paint designed for metal. Three coats of paint seemed to do the trick. I also added some glass globs to the globe of the fan, so it looked like a sunburst or the center of a flower. Since the globe is curved, I used painter's tape to create an edge around the glass globs so that the Weldbond glue could dry without the glass globs sliding down the globe. After each row dried (2-3 hours), I would remove the tape and work on the next row.

  • After the side with the mosaic has fully cured and been sealed, you can turn it over and paint the back side, if you like. The fan blades will be seen from both sides, so I chose to paint the back of mine a darker pink (I used craft paints) to compliment the grout and add some glass globs to the ends of the blades to add some interest, but not too much more weight (I glued them with Weldbond). A full mosaic on the back side would make the fan blades pretty heavy and I wasn't sure how they would turn in the wind. What ever you decide, keep the weight the same on each blade, so that the fan will turn freely in the wind.

   

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