How to Make Roman Mosaics

Updated April 17, 2017

Creating a Roman mosaic is a great way to add a personal and unique decoration to a room. You can make the mosaic any size or shape suitable for where you wish to hang it. Traditional Roman mosaics are pictures of animals, people or war scenes. They can also be mazelike geometric designs. Creating a Roman mosaic is time consuming. Obviously the larger your design, the longer it will take, but even small designs will take time because you need to apply each tile individually. The cost of making one will depend on the size of the mosaic and whether you decide to buy or make the tile pieces.

Find a picture or draw out on a piece of paper what you want the finished mosaic to look like. This will act as your pattern as you work.

Cut a piece of half-inch plywood to the size you want to make your mosaic. The plywood will act as the base for the project.

Buy mosaic tiles at a craft store, or you can make the mosaic tile pieces. To do that, collect a variety of dishes in the colours you want from garage sales and resale shops. Put each dish, one at a time, in a pillow case. Hold the end of the pillow case shut with one hand, and use the other hand to break the dish with a hammer. Making your own tile pieces will give the final project more texture and variety.

Cover the plywood base with tile glue. You can apply the glue with a scraper to make sure it goes on evenly. If the glue is clumpy, it will take longer to dry.

Attach your tile pieces. Start with the main object in your picture or design. After you have created the main object, you can fill in the rest of the space with the appropriate coloured tiles. Roman mosaic tiles are often either a picture or an animal or warrior, or it is a mazelike design. You want to keep the tiles close together; don't leave any blank areas on the plywood. The entire surface should be covered with tiles.

Cover the entire mosaic picture with tile grout. Make sure to push it in to fill all the spaces between the tiles. Then use a warm, damp rag to wipe the grout off the tops of the tile pieces.

Leave the project overnight to allow the grout to dry.

Screw a heavy-duty picture hanger to the top back of the plywood once everything is dry. You will also want to use a wall hook designed to hold a lot of weight to keep the Roman mosaic from falling and possibly causing damage to the wall.


Although Roman mosaics should depict a clear picture or design, they don not have to be perfect. Having an uneven texture adds to the look of the piece.


Making a Roman mosaic can be a messy project so make sure your work area is covered and you are wearing clothes that can get stained.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Plywood
  • Saw
  • Mosaic tile pieces or old dishes, pillow case and hammer
  • Tile glue
  • Tile grout
  • Rag
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About the Author

Melanie Williamson graduated in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in sociology. She worked for four years as a college writing tutor. During that time she proofread and edited academic papers. She works as a professional freelance writer and writes for a variety of websites. In April 2011 she published her first book on resume writing.