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How to make your own painted mosaic

When attempting a large floor cloth bear in mind that it will need time (at least two days) and that it will need space for doing and drying. This activity is ideal if it can be incorporated into arts/history week.

Discuss with group colour scheme: neutrals work best, browns, orange, yellow, cream.

At an early stage get the group to research images of Roman mosaics and gods. Decide whether these should be used in the large centre circles, or if the school logo or a local image may be more appropriate to make the design relevant to the students. At Marton we choose to use the school logo in the centre with its reference to old and new, the armed warrior, river and the power station cooling towers with a sun and moon design either side.

They will also need two/four images for the four corner panels, seashells, flowers, animals etc.

The border design is known as a guilloche and drawn onto card to give background texture. It is a good way to teach the technique to individual students. This is quick to achieve and uses many elements of mosaic design. See guilloche section below.

Materials list

  • Large piece of rectangular calico
  • Paint, base white emulsion, for colours, acrylic or poster paints mixed 6-1with PVA, this will stop the paint from cracking and flaking.
  • Brushes at least half an inch to one inch thick
  • Pots and palettes, for mixing paint
  • Chalk line, if no chalk line then string rubbed with red chalk will work.
  • Pencils/charcoal 18
  1. Divide up the calico sheet through the centre lines, this can be measured and drawn or found by folding the sheet in half and half again. Mark the centre point.
  2. Use chalk line to mark out your border.
  3. Using string and pencil, mark out the first big circle from the centre point. Then draw two more on either side, or use semi circles if you wish.

Image of how to make a mosaic

Image of how to make a mosaic

4) Using the chalk line mark a centre line through all four sides of the border.

Image of how to make a mosaic

Then draw in the smaller touching circles into the border, leave the corners blank for detail. The circles in the border are the base for the guilloche design. See separate section below for details of how to create.

Image of how to make a mosaic

Mix your paint up. With your darkest colour and with a one inch brush paint over the three large circles marked out on the cloth keeping on the inside. Leaving A gap, paint two more concentric circles getting lighter in colour inside each circles.

In the gaps left between the circles draw in triangles with concave sides as shown and then paint two more inside using the same colours and gradiation as the circles.

Image of how to make a mosaic


Image of how to make a mosaic

Pencil in your chosen illustrations inside the large circles and then paint them.

Image of how to make a mosaic

Put colour on the guilloche borders and paint in the corner designs.

Image of how to make a mosaic

You can re-enforce the border lines to make them more prominent, use the darkest colour in your palette without resorting to black.

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Last updated: 3 August 2011

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