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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, 9×12 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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  1. 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. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.