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 3×4 section onto a 9×12 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.


8 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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