Basic Mosaic




Make simple mosaics very cheaply. I'm mostly against buying special tiles and tools for doing mosaics because it seems a little backward to me to buy new tiles to end up breaking them. In this instructible I will document my method (I guess this could be similar to other ideas out there).

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Step 1: Tools & Tiles

Use stuff you have at home.

1) Broken tiles picked up at a construction site etc.
2) Hammer.
3) Wood glue (white glue).
4) Pencil.
5) Tweezers help.
6) Stiff cardboard.
7) Sponge.
8) Idea/picture.
9) Scrap piece of wood, Masonite works well. You could use a whole tile and garden pots, picture frames, mirror frames, small/big side tables, coffee tables, coasters...................

Step 2: Hammer Your Broken Tiles Into Pieces.

You have found some tiles at a construction site or broken ones in your basement. You will need to make these fairly large tiles into smaller pieces. I took some news paper, put the tile inside and then hammered it until the pieces were of a usable size. The size depends on you and what size project or effect that you are going for. The news paper it to stop shards of tile going all over the place and into your eye, I guess goggles are a good idea. Tiles come in various hardnesses. The tiles I found were floor tiles and were very hard to break.

Step 3: Stick Pieces of Tile Onto Something.

Stick your broken pieces onto your project piece. You can draw something and create a picture or just do random patterns, up to you. Here you can see some coffee mug coasters I'm busy making. They are about 10cm to 15cm in diameter and took maybe 45min to an hour to stick.

Step 4: Grouting.

Buy some suitable grouting from a hardware store. By suitable I mean colour and if your piece will stand outside you will need some kind of weather proof grouting. Mix to instructions on the bag. Because my tiles are different thicknesses I used a piece of stiff cardboard to push the grouting between the tiles. Scrape off the excess. Use a sponge to wipe between tiles and to get grouting off the tile surfaces. See the picture for an example.

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    6 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 3

    What type of material are the tiles sitting on? Love this by the way!

    If the mosaic will be outside and getting wet, or on a pot with a plant that gets watered, there are tiles that are OK to use and tiles that are not. Also, using white glue to stick them can be problematic for these pieces. That's what the proper tile cement is for... and it's nice to have the "proper" tools, at least nippers, to be able to break some tile to your exact needs. But, for inside projects, your method should work OK.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    The Art of Mosaic show will be held at the Somerville Museum in Somerville, MA from September 2009 throught October 2009. Submissions accepted through May 31, 2009 from all New England mosaic artists. For more information, go to


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I just gave away a ton of tile now I'm pissed. What do you recommend as a backing for most of these projects?

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    First i used some scrap wood and cut to a size i wanted. Then i just used Masonite (don't know if its called the same around the globe) its just thin box wood really. The backing must be able to be stuck by white glue and not be flexible because the grouting will crack. Cheap wooden picture frames, ceramic pots, tiles, bricks , large stones even. You can use pebbles and even mirrors and pieces of coloured glass in conjunction with tiles too.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I assume the scrap wood is the backing for the project. Good idea. :)