Artistic Inspiration For Your New Hobby!
Mosaic is a brilliant craft to master and the results are very long lasting - both indoors and outdoors. Your projects can be small or you can really let your imagination go wild!
On this page you will find the information you need to start making your own mosaic patterns and projects, with links to beginner's instructions and ideas to inspire you to give this addictive art a go. Mosaics are a 4-step process; designing the mosaic pattern, gluing the tiles to the base, grouting and sealing, and you will find step-by-step tutorials listed below that will walk you through every stage.
I hope you find lots of inspiration here :)
Mosaic Art Map
Mosaic Making Supplies
An Introduction To Mosaic
A Summary Of The Craft Process
The very first things to decide before you make your mosaic are whether the mosaic will live indoors or outdoors, and also what the size and design of the piece will be. It's best to start small as a beginner, such as adding broken ceramic plate pieces to a flower pot. Once you have the basics sorted, you can get creative with your designs.
There are 4 things you need to create a mosaic:
- Tesserae; the pieces which form the patterned surface of the mosaic. These pieces can be made with so many materials from stained glass to shell, and pebbles to broken plates. To cut ceramic tiles you use specially designed nippers; for cutting glass you use glass nippers and cutters.
- Substrate/base; the solid non-porous surface onto which the tesserae will be attached. Outdoor projects usually have a base of cement/concrete, ceramic, glass or stone, whilst indoor projects can have a base of wood instead if preferred (although porous surfaces should still be sealed before having mosaic applied on top.)
- Adhesive; The glue which sticks the tesserae onto the base.
- Grout; This looks like a paste and is used to fill the gaps in between the tesserae after they have been stuck onto the base. You can buy unsanded or sanded grout. Unsanded grout is finer and is used to fill gaps of only a few millimeters, whereas sanded grout is for wider gaps. Grout comes in powder form (unless it's pre-mixed), and you mix it with water in order to use it. After applying to the mosaic, the excess is removed (with a sponge usually) so that the top surfaces of the tesserae can be entirely seen. When the grout has dried slightly, you can use a cloth to further clean the surface. A few days after grouting you should then add a grout sealer to protect your grout from dirt and to keep it looking good.
The Steps of Creating a Mosaic
1) Prepare the rigid base you are using for your mosaic.
To do this, first clean the surface. Then, if necessary, sand the material to roughen it up and make it easier for the next layer to adhere strongly to it. You only need to do this for very smooth surfaces.
If you are using wood (such as MDF or plywood) for the base you should seal the surface of it as part of this preparation step.
2) Plan your design and draw the position of the basic outlines onto the base.
3) Use tile cutters, nippers and other cutting tools to create tesserae in the sizes you require. Then lay the tesserae/tiles out in the design you want on the base so that you can see what it will look like and make any alterations before permanently attaching the pieces.
4) Apply the adhesive.
Many different adhesives can be used to stick the tiles/tesserae to the base material, including PVA, epoxy, tile mastic and cement/mortar-based adhesives such as thin-set. It is important to use an adhesive suited to it's environment; if your mosaic will be outdoors, the adhesive will need to be strong and waterproof.
Apply the adhesive with a spatula or other spreading tool, then position the tesserae on top and press down into the adhesive. Do this bit by bit; don't cover the whole base with adhesive first but instead cover the base one small section at a time.
You don't want to use so much adhesive that it fills the gaps in between the tesserae, as this will prevent the grout from filling the gaps. Therefore make sure to remove excess adhesive from in between the mosaic pieces.
Leave the adhesive to dry.
5) Add the grout.
You will most likely be using sanded grout as this can be used for any size of gap between the tesserae, however unsanded can be used if the gaps are very narrow. You can buy the grout pre-mixed but most people opt to mix their own from powder. You can choose the colour of grout to best suit your mosaic design.
Spread the grout over the tesserae, pressing it into the gaps, until the whole piece is covered. It's easier to manipulate the grout if you are using your hands for this step - although remember to wear disposable gloves.
6) Clean the mosaic.
After the grout has been in place for about 5-10 minutes (or whatever length of time your grout instructions recommend), use a damp sponge to start wiping the excess grout off the mosaic, until the tesserae surfaces are clean. Keep rinsing the sponge regularly to clean the grout off it. It's best to have a bucket of clean water to rinse your sponge in; grout shouldn't be put down the drain.
7) Leave to dry.
Leave the grout for the recommended time for it to set completely. You may want to spray a fine mist of water onto the grout every 30 minutes or so to stop it drying too fast and perhaps cracking.
8) Seal the grout.
Applying grout sealer protects it from liquids, so is an especially important step if you wish to keep your mosaic outside.
Beginner's Lessons & Technique Tutorials
- Tips, Terminology and More
Tile cutting advice, plus info about adhesives and grout.
- Mosaic Techniques
Including what surfaces you can mosaic and how to prepare them.
- How To Tile a Backsplash
Step by step walkthrough of this process.
- Grouting Tutorial
Using sanded grout to finish a mirror frame.
- Another Grouting Tutorial
I like the tip for using a Lazy Susan underneath your work.
- How to Use Nippers
The different types of nipper tools and techniques.
- Grout Choice Tips
What your choice of grout means for your artwork.
- Making Garden Art
Instructions as well as inspiration for what you can make.
Mosaic Garden Chair
This chair started life as just a regular metal garden chair and was built up with chicken wire and concrete before mosaic pieces were attached all over.
Best Mosaic Books
For expert tips and advice, these mosaic guides are hard to beat:
Shabby Chic Mosaic Table
Fun Weekend Projects
- 3 Mosaic Tutorials
An amazing chair, un-grouted mosaics and a mosaic stone how-to.
- Glass Pebble Backsplash
Pretty backsplash made by assembling glass nuggets.
- Garden Ball Ornaments
Easy and creative decorations made with Styrofoam balls.
- Stone Tile Table
Expensive-looking revamp of a plain metal table.
- Mismatched Tile Wall
How to combine mismatched, multi-colored tiles together.
- China Mosaic Pot
Cover a flower pot with pieces of a broken plate.
- House Number Sign
Creative statement art to display your house number in style.
- Mini Mosaic Tray
Simple and practical beginner's project.
- Pixel Mario Tabletop
Mosaic tiles are perfect for creating pixel designs such as Super Mario.
Day Of The Dead Tray
House Number Sign
Creative Mosaic Tutorials
- Sea Glass Serving Tray
Make use of the lovely sea glass colours with this tray revamp.
- Stepping Stones
These stones would make unique features for your yard.
- DIY Plant Pots
Do away with boring terracotta and transform your pots with glass tiles.
- Bottlecap Table Tutorial
DIY tabletop using a bottlecap collection as the tiles.
- Photo Frames
Display your photos with pride in these mosaic frames.
- Window Box Planter
Sheets of mosaic tiles make covering large surfaces very easy.
- Soap Dish
Pretty little dish decorating, perfect for a gift.
- Heart Ornaments
You can even embed letter tiles to personalise the design further.
- Mosaic Mirror
Build a mirror from scratch with an MDF backing board.
- Unique Birdhouses
Decorative bird houses that really sparkle in the sun.
Coronation Street Portraits
Impressive Things to Make
- DIY Fish Scale Tiling
Beautiful blue tiles made from scratch using Sculpey clay and a stencil.
- Cool Pacman Desk
Awesome bright and colourful mosaic desk.
- The Mosaic Store
Tutorials for projects including murals and a guitar.
- Arty Garden Ornament
Create an interesting feature for your garden.
- Mosaic Flagstones
Pottery shards arranged on flagstone pieces make great garden art.
- Camper Van Tray
Fun design with inspiration taken from a photo.
- Stained Glass Wall Light
Stunning lighted mosaic created on a large glass tabletop.
- Mosaic Doormat
You can even write a welcome message with the tiles.
Mosaic Pizza Oven
Tiled 'Sun' Staircase
Ideas & Inspiration
- Shed Mosaic
Huge project with a brilliant result.
- Michael Sweere
Fine art mosaics made with recycled products.
- Recycled Skateboard Tiles
Amazing tiled backsplash made by recycling broken skateboards.
- Kitchen Backsplash Revamp
This gorgeous statement piece really lifts the whole room.
- Modern Projects
I love the idea of recreating pixelated graphics with tiles.
- Mosaic Inlay
Chisel a shape into a wood surface to allow you to add an embedded mosaic.
- Edging Technique
Attractive finish for a mosaic edge.
Broken China Flower Pots
Mosaic Video Tutorials
Please Leave a Comment!
maureen butler on January 15, 2019:
i purchase my crockery plates from our local charity shop, they have odd plates with lovely designs on them etc willow design
Kris-Tina May on July 17, 2018:
I have a question,
I've been asked to put mosiacs on all the tables at the cafe I work at.
What would be the best thing to apply to it so that it is level, smooth, and able to take a lot of washing not to mention plates etc
wellingtonboot (author) from U.K. on June 22, 2014:
@marcelovg: Hmm, I'm not sure, I usually buy them online. You could ask people who do tiling for a living as I'm sure they'd have a few bits and pieces left over after each job? Good luck!
marcelovg on June 21, 2014:
We live in Miami, Florida. We want to do mosaics but the problem is where to find the broken tiles or china pieces for free! Any idea?
teelover on February 26, 2014:
Wow, this is incredible!!!
Rose Jones on January 22, 2014:
I started a mosaic once. It is a lot of work, but very beautiful and relaxing work.