Masterpiece Mosaics: a Collaborative Art Project for Grades K — 8

5th Grade/Middle School Masterpiece Mosaic of "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh

5th Grade/Middle School Mas­ter­piece Mosaic of “Starry Night” by Vin­cent Van Gogh, 24″ x 19″

These col­or­ful projects, which I call “Mas­ter­piece Mosaics”, were a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort by my stu­dents in grades K through mid­dle school. Each grade level cre­ated their own copy of a famous paint­ing — six mas­ter­pieces in all, on dis­play now through Christ­mas at our local art store. These were really pretty easy to do, and super FUN! We’re hop­ing they’ll com­mand a high price at our school auc­tion in the spring!

Check out the rest of our Mas­ter­piece Mosaics below, and see them on site along with their “orig­i­nals” on my Teach Kids Art Face­book page.  Then try it your­self by fol­low­ing the direc­tions at the bot­tom of this post, or visit my Teach­ers Pay Teach­ers store to pur­chase and down­load a con­ve­nient pdf of this project!

Kindergarten Masterpiece Mosaic of "Waterlilies" by Claude Monet

Kinder­garten Mas­ter­piece Mosaic of “Waterlilies” by Claude Monet, 31″ x 20″

1st Grade Masterpiece Mosaic of "Wheatfield with Cypresses" by Vincent Van Gogh

1st Grade Mas­ter­piece Mosaic of “Wheat­field with Cypresses” by Vin­cent Van Gogh, 18″ x 12.5″

2nd Grade Masterpiece Mosaic of "Montagne Saint Victoire" by Paul Cezanne

2nd Grade Mas­ter­piece Mosaic of “Mon­tagne Saint Vic­toire” by Paul Cezanne, 18″ x 12.5″

3rd Grade Masterpiece Mosaic of "Fruit and a Jug on a Table" by Paul Cezanne

3rd Grade Mas­ter­piece Mosaic of “Fruit and a Jug on a Table” by Paul Cezanne, 22.5″ x 18″

4th Grade Masterpiece Mosaic of "Goldfish" by Henri Matisse

4th Grade Mas­ter­piece Mosaic of “Gold­fish” by Henri Matisse, 15″ x 24″

Mate­ri­als for one Mas­ter­piece Mosaic:

  • Inex­pen­sive fine art poster (I ordered ours online from,, and — all one com­pany, by the way!)
  • Card stock (black or white, depend­ing on your print)
  • Oil pas­tels
  • Foam core board (black or white, to match your card stock), cut to the same size as your poster
  • YES! Paste
  • Old credit card or plas­tic mem­ber­ship card
  • Mod Podge (gloss)
  • 1–1/2″ foam brush
  • Uni Frame for hang­ing (optional)


  1. Divide your fine art poster into equal size pieces, one piece per stu­dent.  (To make the num­bers work, I some­times have a teacher and/or teacher’s aide par­tic­i­pate by cre­at­ing one of the pieces!)
  2. On the back of each piece, write the row (A, B, C, etc.) and col­umn num­ber (1, 2, 3, etc.).
  3. Cut your card stock to the same size and same num­ber of pieces as your poster.  Label them the same way you labeled the poster pieces.
  4. Pass out the card stock pieces with their cor­re­spond­ing poster pieces and a set of oil pas­tels to each stu­dent.  Make sure you write down and keep track of who has which piece — the par­ents will be ask­ing which piece their child did!
  5. Have stu­dents dupli­cate their poster piece onto their card stock, match­ing shapes and col­ors as closely as they can.  Lay­er­ing and blend­ing col­ors with oil pas­tels will greatly increase the range of col­ors you can achieve!  Remind stu­dents to pay care­ful atten­tion to the edges of their piece so the pieces will line up well with each other.
  6. Use an old credit card to spread a thin layer of YES! Paste over the foam core board, all the way to the edges.
  7. Lay your oil pas­tel pieces onto the foam core board, start­ing along one of the edges. Then lay them along one of the adja­cent edges, and work inward from there.  Using YES! Paste will allow you to slide your pieces around to get them posi­tioned just right, and it will dry really flat and permanent.
  8. Lay some parch­ment paper (or wax paper) over the whole thing and press it flat (I use a rolling pin!).  Pile some heavy books on top.… art books work best! ;-)  Let it dry overnight.
  9. Uncover and check for any lit­tle stray bits of oil pas­tel that need to be picked off.
  10. Finally, use a foam brush to spread Mod Podge (gloss) over the top.  Let that dry and apply a sec­ond coat.
  11. I use Uni-Frames for a light­weight, low cost hang­ing sys­tem that doesn’t require a mat or glass.

You can also have stu­dents  make their pieces larger than the orig­i­nal (for exam­ple, enlarge a 3x4 sec­tion onto a 9x12 piece of con­struc­tion paper) and put the pieces together to make a mural for the wall.  This is more chal­leng­ing for the younger kids, but can also be really fun to do!  I’ve done mural ver­sions of this project suc­cess­fully with 4th grade and up.


6 Responses to Masterpiece Mosaics: a Collaborative Art Project for Grades K — 8

  1. Mimi December 30, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    Hi there, we run a men­tor­ing pro­gram for kids and always look­ing for cre­ative art projects for kids/young peo­ple to do. I liked your one on mosaics

    • Cheryl Trowbridge December 30, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

      Glad you liked it, Mimi! I’ve done this project many times, with a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent fine art prints, and it’s always a hit! If you decide to try it, please let me know how it goes!!

  2. Lorraine July 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    Hi Cheryl,

    My daugh­ter Naomi intro­duced me to your site. I’m so glad she did! I was look­ing for a class project for our next school year.

    I’m so excited, I can’t wait to get them started! Now to pick the pic­ture were going to paint.

    I love your site and am sure I’ll be using more of your ideas.

    • Cheryl Trowbridge July 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

      You’ll love this project, Lor­raine, and so will your stu­dents! It’s really fun and the results are fan­tas­tic!! Let me know how it goes!


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