Paper Mosaic Patterns & Projects

Written by clare edwards
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Paper Mosaic Patterns & Projects
Make colourful mosaics using paper scraps. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

When painter Henri Matisse developed arthritis and could no longer paint, he began working in richly coloured paper collages. Making paper mosaics can be engrossing for young and old alike. All sorts of materials can be used, from coloured construction paper and tissue paper to old magazines. For inspiration, books on art and history often feature mosaics; designs for ceramics and glass can also be adapted for paper. Alternatively, some sites allow mosaics to be designed online.

Simple Paper Mosaic Activity

This project is a good choice for younger children. Several shades of brightly coloured paper are cut into different shapes. A sheet of plain paper is provided, along with craft glue, paste or a glue-stick. Very young children may need to be supervised when using glue. Dabs of glue are applied to the sheet of paper and the coloured scraps are pressed onto them to make a mosaic. Self-adhesive coloured paper can also be used.

Mosaic-Decorated Paper Cup

Plain paper is coloured in different solid shades using felt pens with broad tips or bright wax crayons. The coloured paper is torn or cut into pieces, roughly similar in size and shape. These are then glued all over a plain paper cup to make a mosaic. Glue that is too wet can leak through and affect the colours of water-based pens; using a glue stick or thicker paper can help avoid this. The paper cup with its mosaic decoration can be used to hold pens and pencils or other small items.

Magazine Mosaic

The back of a paper plate can be turned into a colourful mosaic using scraps cut out of old magazines. A design or pattern is sketched lightly onto the back of the plate. Pages with suitable colours are torn or cut from magazines and snipped into small squarish pieces. The scraps of magazine paper are then glued to the back of the plate, following the pattern.

Tissue Paper Mosaics

Because tissue paper is translucent, it can be made into mosaics that hang in the window. The tissue paper pieces can be stuck onto a sheet of transparent paper; alternatively, stiff paper or card can be used, with holes cut out to show the tissue paper pieces that are glued over them. Another tissue paper mosaic technique is to crumple small pieces of tissue into little balls and glue them to paper to make a pattern.

Flower Mosaic

Coloured paper can be turned into a bouquet of mosaic flowers. Scraps of coloured paper are glued to flower shapes cut from stiff paper or card. Stems made from wire or sticks are attached to the flowers. An oblong shape representing a vase or basket is also decorated with a paper mosaic and stuck onto the front of a block of plastic foam. The stems of the paper mosaic flowers are stuck into the foam.

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