Simple Patterns to Make Paper Byzantine Mosaics

Written by joy prescott
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Simple Patterns to Make Paper Byzantine Mosaics
Byzantine mosaic art flourished between the 6th and 15th centuries. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Valueline/Getty Images)

Byzantine mosaics are complex constructions of stones and cubes made from fragile materials such as glass. Use one of two techniques to make simple patterns for paper mosaics from elaborate Byzantine patterns. You can focus on individual components. For example, make a mosaic from an extreme close-up of eyes, nose and mouth. You can also consolidate small mosaic pieces into larger paper pieces.

Simple Faces

Look closely at the faces in Byzantine mosaics and you'll notice that the lines are actually very simple. Replicate this look with a line drawn portrait. Cut the elements, such as eyebrows, into several smaller sections and use them to create a paper mosaic.

Geometric Designs

Geometric borders often surround the religious figures in Byzantine mosaics. Crosses, stars and diamonds are common. Also common are line patterns with right angles, such as Greek key patterns. Circular medallions are another popular geometric design in Byzantine mosaics. Many circles contain pinwheel, swirl or concentric ring patterns.


Some Byzantine mosaics include simple animal shapes, such as fish or birds. Complex animal mosaics, such as lions, show larger elements of line and colour when looked at from afar. Use these to create simple paper mosaic patterns.

Trailing Vine

The trailing vine motif is popular in Byzantine mosaics --- sometimes as an actual vine, but other times represented by repeated "s" shapes in two colours. Instead of the many small pieces that typically make up the shape, cut solid shapes and lay over slightly larger black shapes to create the look of black borders.

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