Roman Mosaic

Mosaic work was of the Roman’s main form of artistic expression. Pictures of people, animals, birds and fish were common themes in Roman houses. For this project children can work together to make designs to decorate the classroom. Planning and making mosaic pictures helps with co-ordination and encourages teamwork. The mosaic stones used here are easy to cut and have no sharp edges.

Skill Level

Beginner; Key Stage 2 (Age 7+)

Time to Make

The total time to make a mosaic will depend on how big it is and how many children are making it. For a design made from 6 coasters, allow 2 hours + drying time for the glue and grout.

Adult Supervision Needed

Yes

How to Make

  1. Glue several MDF squares onto a piece of card to create a background for your mosaic. Push the squares close together. Having a bigger background makes it easier to design a more detailed picture. The fish shown here is made from 6 MDF squares.
  2. Draw a simple outline for a picture onto the background. Keep the shapes clear and bold. Allow some space for a border around the edge.
  3. Separate the mosaic stones into bowls or containers with different colours so they are easy to select when you start filling in the design.
  4. Before you glue the stones onto the background, think about which colours would work well on the different areas. Dark and light colours placed together help to define a design.
  5. Brush glue over a small area of the background (aprox 6cm x 6cm), then start sticking the mosaic stones following the picture outline. Place the stones close together, with 1-2mm between each one. Mosaic stones can be carefully trimmed with scissors to make angled, rounded and pointed pieces or into smaller pieces to fill in the gaps.
  6. Leave the glue to dry thoroughly for at least 1 hour so the tiles are firmly stuck onto the background.
  7. Mix up some grout with water, using 4 parts of grout powder with 1 part of water. The consistency should be smooth and creamy, but not too runny. Add more grout to the mix to thicken it if necessary. Stir in a small amount of paint to make coloured grout, or you can leave it white.
  8. Use a sponge to spread the mixture over the mosaic design so the spaces between the stones are filled. Immediately after the filling material has been rubbed between the stones, rinse the sponge with water and after wringing out the excess water from the sponge, clean off any remaining material from the surface of the mosaic. Repeat this step several times using a damp sponge, until the mosaic has been completely cleaned of any remaining material. Leave to dry.

Top Tip

On pictures made from several MDF squares, it’s easier to apply the grout then wipe it down working on small areas, approximately 10cm x 10cm. If you apply grout in one go over a large area there may not be time to clean it off before the mixture dries on the surface.

What You Need