I read in Elaine Goodwin’s Encyclopedia of Mosaics about a mosaic technique that involves freely scattering mosaic tiles over a substrate prepared with mortar – it intrigued me for two reasons, firstly that it is much more random than normal mosaic making processes and secondly that it provides for a way of using up left over little pieces of tile (as a mosaic magpie, I find it hard to throw those shiny little lovelies away).
I am keen to try this myself and thought that it would be an excellent activity to do with children – consider it free painting with tiles!
Doing this activity is of course slightly easier if you are already into mosaics as you will have plenty of left over bits of tile, but if you do not, fear not! Here are some options:
- make friends with a local mosaic artist and offer to take their leftover tile bits from them (and make a friend in the process – we are a friendly bunch us mosaic makers!)
- gather lots of small, colourful, sparkling bits – beads, tiny mosaic tiles, spray paint some beans, sweeties – even throw in some things from nature – seed pods, acorns etc… (have a look at this post for readily available things to use for mosaic making with children). Consider this a good way of sweeping up all those bits and bobs in the depths of your child’s bedroom!
- buy some mosaic tiles and chop them up with a pair of tile nippers like this. Alternatively you can use ordinary leftover ceramic tiles (colour is important here) and put them in a tea towel, well covered, and bosh with a hammer then pull out the pieces leaving the shards behind in the tea towel. All glass / tile breaking activities should of course be done with care, protecting eyes and little fingers from sharp bits.
So, to the tutorial:
You will need:
- a pile of small shiny objects, either leftover offcuts of mosaic tiles or other bits and pieces as described above
- a blank canvas. I buy them from the pound (dollar) store.
- PVA / craft glue (white gloopy glue that dries clear)
What to do:
1. Get everything ready and to hand
2. Squirt the gloopy glue on the canvas freely – making shapes and patterns. Use lots- the glue needs to be deep enough for the bits to really very stuck in. The kids absolutely loved doing this!
3. Take the mosaic / shiny / colourful bits and liberally sprinkle them all over the canvas making sure you get them all over where the glue has landed. We used a spoon and a also poured from a pot (rather than using hands). It really is like splodge painting with tiles.
4. Press the pieces down to make sure they have made contact.
5. If you want, spend some time moving pieces around so that those pieces that have landed on a bit of canvas without glue are moved into the glue. My daughter spent several minutes in deep concentration doing this.
6. Pick a glitter colour that you think will enhance the piece and sprinkle it all over
7. When the piece has dried, turn it upside down and shake loose pieces off.
8. Step back and admire your masterpiece!
For more tutorials like this one go here. Let me know if you try this – I would love to see pictures of your children’s mosaic scatter paintings!