How to create mosaic patterns with ceramic tiles

Updated November 21, 2016

Making your own mosaic designs from ceramic tiles can be an enjoyable activity, in which you can make the most of your creativity and customise numerous household items such as tabletops, benches, photograph frames, flowerpots, lamp bases and mirror frames. Mosaic making is an ancient art that dates back to Roman times. The mosaic is also used in many contemporary art pieces, such as Antonio Gaudi's Park Guell in Barcelona. The term "mosaic" refers to a design that is made up of small pieces to create a larger pattern or image.

Cut your ceramic tiles into small squares measuring around 3/4 of an inch along each edge by using a pair of tile nippers. Alternatively, you can wrap the tiles in a blanket and use a hammer to smash the tiles into small pieces. This will create a range of different-sized pieces in the final design. Use a variety of different coloured tiles to create a striking pattern or image in the mosaic.

Prepare the surface you want to mosaic. Sand wooden surfaces with coarse sandpaper to create a slightly rougher texture for the tiles to sit on. Cover flowerpot surfaces in a layer of PVA glue and leave it to dry completely. Cover a glass surface in a thin layer of mastic to create texture.

Plan the shapes or patterns you want to create by drawing onto the surface with a marker pen. Place the small pieces of tile onto the surface to create the pattern. Play around with the position of the tiles before gluing to ensure that you are happy with the design. Use PVA glue or a thinset bonding mortar for outdoor items to secure the pieces in place once you have found an arrangement that you like. Leave it to dry for 24 hours.

Fill in the gaps between the tiles with tile grout and allow it to dry completely.


Put on your safety goggles to prevent any splinters from getting into your eyes.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Tile nippers
  • Blanket
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper
  • PVA glue
  • Mastic
  • Marker pen
  • Bonding mortar
  • Tile grout
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