Mosaic projects can be adapted for all ages. Just fol­low these direc­tions and use larger tiles and a smaller back­ing board if work­ing with young chil­dren.… or any­one with a shorter atten­tion span!
His­tor­i­cal exam­ples of mosaic art have been found in Roman ruins through­out Europe and around the Mediter­ranean. Tra­di­tional mosaics were made from tiny squares of natural-colored rock called “tesserae”. These intri­cate designs fea­tured scenes from every­day life, such as peo­ple, plants and animals.

Cre­at­ing a detailed paper mosaic can be tedious work, so I made a few adjust­ments in hopes of avoid­ing this! First, I chose card stock (way eas­ier to work with than paper!) and cut it into strips, then stu­dents sim­ply cut the strips into squares. Then, I sim­pli­fied the appli­ca­tion process by spray­ing the back­ing board with Spray­mount artist’s adhe­sive, elim­i­nat­ing the need for apply­ing glue to each indi­vid­ual piece.… a huge time saver!


  • 1/2″ strips of card stock in a vari­ety of col­ors (I used old recy­cled file fold­ers in as many col­ors as I could come up with. For the col­ors I needed and couldn’t find, I used the plain manila color and just col­ored the strips with mark­ers.… quick and easy!)
  • Black con­struc­tion paper, 9x12 or smaller
  • 3M Spray­mount artist’s adhesive
  • Paper trim­mer and scissors
  • Pen­cil
  • Clear var­nish spray or Mod Podge to seal your fin­ished work

1. Draw a sim­ple design with pen­cil on black paper.… avoid details! (By using black paper for your back­ing, your pen­cil lines won’t show later.)
2. Spray a light coat of 3M Spray­mount artist’s adhe­sive over your paper. (Make sure you do this out­side and over news­pa­per, to pro­tect the area around your paper from the over spray.)
3. Use a paper trim­mer to cut 1/2 inch strips of the col­ors you’ll need, then use scis­sors to cut the strips into squares.
4. Place your squares onto your design, leav­ing just a tiny mar­gin of black paper show­ing in between. Try not to over­lap squares, but trim them as nec­es­sary to fit where they need to. (It can be help­ful to lightly pen­cil in where you want to trim.) Since Spray­mount adhe­sive is repo­si­tion­able, you can pick up squares and move them at any time or even switch col­ors if you want to.
5. When your design is com­plete, cover it with a clear var­nish to hold the squares firmly in place.

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8 Responses to Mosaics

  1. Kathy June 24, 2010 at 6:13 am #

    This would be a fun les­son to try with the 6th grade group I’ll have next year! I might be able to coor­di­nate some­thing with the social stud­ies unit and Roman times.

  2. Catherine June 24, 2010 at 6:44 am #

    I LOVE this idea! I’m think­ing about how I can adapt it for preschoolers.

    I really enjoy your blog!

  3. Melissa July 13, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    I am sooo look­ing for­ward to learn­ing from you — thanks for sharing!

  4. theeclecticlife August 30, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    Incred­i­ble project! How many classes did it take for them to com­plete this project? Also, since you sprayed their projects with spray adhe­sive, how did you house the projects since it sounds like they would nor­mally stick together if you put all the papers in a stack. I’m a 2nd year art teacher so there’s SO much I need to learn!

  5. TeachKidsArt September 6, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    I did this project at an art camp this sum­mer. We com­pleted it in one morn­ing, which was about two hours of actual work­ing time, at the most. I will prob­a­bly divide this project up into three 50 minute ses­sions when I do it at school… one to explain, demo and have them draw designs, the sec­ond to begin plac­ing the tiles and the third to fin­ish the tiles and paint with Mod Podge. You could spray them after they draw their designs at the end of the first ses­sion. If you just loosely stack them, they won’t stick together. Remem­ber to use repo­si­tion­able spray adhe­sive — that’s important!

  6. laura minala November 25, 2012 at 5:41 am #

    though we might be able too make it a lit­tle bit more ancient…

  7. Annet June 2, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    Incred­i­ble! I am a kinder­garten super­vi­sor and have been look­ing for such amaz­ing art­work for my kids. How can I be helped to teach my learn­ers a vari­ety? How can I access you?
    I surely luv it.

  8. rachel smith November 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    what a pretty apple!

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